by Lisa Tome
Jeff Hill is having a busy summer.
Hill, the new unit director at the North East Boys and Girls Club, is spending time with as many as 45 children per day at the club. When the club reopened for summer, more than 60 children registered for the summer fun camps.
The club is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Daily meals, both breakfast and lunch, are being served at the club. The meals are provided by Cecil County Public Schools in cooperation with the Maryland State Department of Education.
"It's really good. It saves parents a lot of money. Having to pack lunch can be a pain," said Hill. The staff picks up the meals at North East Elementary.
In addition to the meals, the days are spent with a variety of activities. There are learning games, a photography club, art programs, and Science Technology, Engineering and Math lessons. "We try to make it fun, so they don't lose everything (that was learned during the school year)," said Hill.
There is also a high yield learning program. There is also arts and crafts, weekly visits from the Cecil County Public Library Bookmobile, scout programs, and sports.
"They love dodge ball. I try to monitor that. The girls like art projects. These girls aren't too active. They like to paint their nails or do art projects," laughed Hill.
The club members also venture out to the community. They use local parks and have tentatively planned a trip to North East Fire Company.
"I like to hang out in the teen room, do special activities, and do trivia so I can keep up with school," said club member Annika Fockler, 12.
"I like to relax here. I like the playground games, dodge ball and hanging out with my friends," said Manzier Galarza, 11.
Teen LITs (Leaders in Training) have a key role. They get things moving early in the morning and are responsible for planning learning games. "That gives them responsibility," said Hill.
"I like to help the kids and have fun," said LIT Adam May, 14.
Steven Brannen, 15, is a second-year LIT. "I just like helping, I guess," said Brannen, of his role.