Home News Local News Mom, I'm soooo bored. . .
Mom, I'm soooo bored. . .
By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
Don't tell Marilyn Jones there's nothing for kids to do in Baker City in the summertime.
She'll present information to prove you wrong before the words are even out of your mouth.
Jones has worked hard to coordinate efforts to get the community's young people signed up for programs offered by the Baker Family YMCA, Crossroads Center for the Creative and Performing Arts and others. Her efforts also have included securing funding through grants from private foundations and businesses to help fund the programs.
Jones is the Department of Human Service's community development coordinator for Union, Baker and Wallowa counties.
"We try to capitalize on what's already offered," Jones said of the program titled Summer Fun.
School teachers, art teachers and dance teachers have been recruited to fill in where no existing programs were in place, she said.
Summer Fun is an extension of the DHS School-Site One Stop offered during the school year as a prevention and intervention program for children. The main goal is to help families before they are in crisis, Jones said.
In its third year, the program is sponsoring 1,023 paid activities for 176 young people from kindergartners through eighth-graders this summer. That's up from 45 children in kindergarten through Grade 5 the first year and 142 in Grades K-6 last summer.
"We're learning what kinds of programs to create for older kids," Jones said.
Next year, she hopes to extend the Summer Fun programs to high school-age students as well.
Most classes offered to program participants also are open to all children in the community. Jones works with the YMCA to provide memberships for the Summer Fun participants. That allows them to swim free all summer long and for the program to gain discount fees for other day camp programs. The Y provides half of the $80 fee as its contribution to the program, she said.
Because there are waiting lists for students who would like to participate, there is a zero tolerance for non-attendance and misbehavior by those already signed up. And if children aren't using their swim pass, the pass will be given to someone else, Jones said.
In addition to YMCA day camps that range from acting lessons to tennis and basketball training, program participants also attended the Nazarene Church's Trinity Pines Camp and will take part in a youth horse clinic at Benny Ruda's Oregon Trail Events Center.
Art classes have been provided in two daily sessions at South Baker Elementary School by Ruth Hasel. Sessions are offered in conjunction with the free summer lunch program. Children in Grades 1-4 meet before lunch from 10:30 a.m. to noon and those in Grades 5-8 meet after lunch from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Topics range from The Art of Jewelry Making to Drums and Other Musical Instruments and Southwestern Indian Pottery Making.
Two Brooklyn Elementary teachers will offer programs later this summer. Susan Frantum's class "Butterflies, Insects and Art" will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. July 28-31. Linda Collins will conduct a four-day session Aug. 4-7 about art, science and food. Her class will meet from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Other classes offered at Crossroads this summer range from instruction in ballet to pottery, swing dancing and loom weaving.
Jones is proud of how the program is helping the community's children direct their summertime energy to positive activities. And she points to the benefits of infusing the funding back into local organizations.
"One hundred percent of the money goes to kids activities and to support the YMCA, Crossroads and other programs," she said. "We're actually putting money back into the community while helping our kids."