Norwell Recreation Department and Norwell Schools deserve a great big “Thank You!” The generosity of local community organizations, and the hard work of the staff at Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore made it all possible. Eight children living in temporary shelter or motel rooms went back to school this fall with plenty of stories to tell when their teachers asked, “What did you do this summer?”
The boys and girls, ages 5 through 12, were selected for the Norwell Recreation Department’s pilot initiative. This initiative offered 6-week scholarships to the town’s summer recreation programs for kids from kindergarten to 8th grade.
“Our day-long programs give kids the opportunity to get outside and get active, socialize with friends, and do a variety of things they wouldn’t do if they stayed at home,” explains Recreation Department Superintendent George Grey. (According to their brochure: No electronic games allowed.) “And from what we heard from the parents and the kids, they had a blast!” he says.
Who Gets These Ideas?
Grey and Michelle Henderson, social workers for the Norwell schools, came up with the idea in early June. The idea was to give under-served children in the town’s schools a chance to participate in the Rec Department’s summer activities. Tuition was covered by the Recreation Department’s Scholarship Fund. However, additional registration and transportation costs were needed to be taken care of before the program could get underway.
That is where ace coordinator Sharyn Burden from Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore stepped in. “Fortunately, we were able to secure generous donations from local residents and organizations such as: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Norwell Police, Masonic Angel Foundation, and Friends of Norwell Kids in Need to pay for program registration and driving the children to and from their activities each day,” says Burden. “We can’t thank them enough for giving the kids such a wonderful opportunity.”
Shout Out to Norwell Recreation and Norwell Schools
Norwell Recreation and Norwell Schools worked together to arrange for staff and a vehicle to transport the participants. Burden quickly coordinated the schedules to and from program sites.
Two of the children attended the KinderScene sessions at the Town Hall for ages 4 to 1st grade where daily activities included games, crafts, songs, stories and outdoor fun.
Five of the children were in the KidScene camp at Vinal School where 2nd-5th grade children enjoyed field sports, soccer, Dr. Spy dodgeball, music, games, and crafts. This year’s KidScene 4th and 5th graders also went on field trips to Launch Trampoline in Norwood and Boston Bowl in Dorchester.
The middle school camper who attended the SummerScene program (for grades 6 to 8 – another Norwell Recreation program) had the opportunity to participate in the camp’s daily on-site activities and take day trips to Canobie Lake Park, Water Wizz, Boston Paintball, Lazer Gate, and Metro Rock.
Popular theme days for all campers this year were “Olympics Day,” “Messy Day,” the “Wacky Wednesday” inflatable obstacle course, and “Foam Day” where Norwell firemen joined the fun by using firetruck foam to create what Grey calls “the wildest slip-and-slide this side of Boston.”
Would they do it all again next summer? “YES!” said participants. “Absolutely,” says Grey. “The success of this pilot means we’ll be looking at sponsoring kids again in the summer of 2016.”
Tell Us Your Thoughts?
We are grateful to Norwell Recreation and Norwell Schools, among other organizations for their partnership with us. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about future school vacation events. shelter life is not just a seasonal event, it can be year round for some families. You may leave a reply or go to our Facebook or Google+ pages.