Free summer fun for local kids

By Terry Harris

There’s a new program for local kids looking for some free summer fun, and according to Surry County 4-H Youth Development Cooperative Extension Agent LaSonya White, it only takes a phone call to enroll in a brand new series of interactive online activities developed for kids of all ages. It’s safe, supplies are free, and there is even learning mixed in with the entertainment, as White explained.

“It’s a new program,” White said. “Surry County 4-H is inviting local kids of all ages to join in some pretty cool summer activities, and you don’t have to be a member to participate!”

“Since we cannot meet in person due to the pandemic,” she continued, “every Thursday we’re sponsoring a series of adventures run by our new summer intern Jessica Corl, a Junior at VCU, through the ZOOM app. Jessica has some great, fresh ideas for fun, interactive activities she’ll be sharing throughout the summer for kids from age five through high school. For instance, last week, they decorated flowerpots and this week they planted zinnias in their pots!”

White explained that the sessions will be divided into age groups, and each young person (or their parent) who participates will be sent a ZOOM link to log on and enjoy the fun with planned activities like using their fingerprints to make butterflies and ladybugs, making a homemade bird feeder, and more. While the emphasis is on fun, she said, there is a strong underlying layer of education included in each activity.

“The weekly projects are based on learning opportunities for kids, and focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as entrepreneurial skill development, personal finance, and healthy eating and active living programming,” White said. “And they also incorporate reading and math development components which will help the kids develop cognitive skills and enhance performance on core courses classwork in school.”

“Jessica is excited about working with the young bright minds of Surry County,” she added. “She is full of energy, she’s fun, and she’s really good with kids.”

White said that although the sessions have already begun, the weekly sessions will continue every Thursday through August and it is not too late to participate. To make it a total no-cost activity, White said that they have a supply pick-up day on Wednesday when parents can come for whatever their child will need for the next day’s activities.

“For families who can’t make the Wednesday pick up, I’ll even drop off the supplies,” she added. “We just want all Surry County kids to have an opportunity to enjoy some fun that includes creativity as well as learning this summer. It’s a good thing!”

Sessions are every Thursday with 5 – 8-year olds (Cloverbuds) meeting at 11 a.m., 9-12-year olds (Junior Jumpers) meeting at 1 p.m., and teens meeting at 3 p.m. The number to call to join or for more information is 757-294-5215.

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