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Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee: Summer programs continue with COVID-19 precautions

Galen Hawes ghawe@news-star.com
Boys and Girls Clubs programs are continuing this summer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many citizens have been in need of childcare services and food for their children.

The Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee has provided meal services to any child under the age of 18 since March 25 when the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma approved the continuation of their meal service program. Childcare services for essential workers began on April 22 for children ages 5 through 18 at no cost.

The meal service program is still going strong from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the front door of the Boys and Girls Club. Pickup can be done by walk up or drive by for a meal, but each child must be present to receive a meal.

The Boys and Girls Club of Shawnee has put in place precautions to keep the community safe, officials said, such as sanitizing the facility with a solution released on a list by the EPA, employees wearing masks and washing their hands every hour and having hand sanitizer and masks available for the children if parents prefer that they wear them.

“When the children arrive around 7:30 a.m. each morning, required health screenings are performed,” said Julio Sanchez, Director of the Boys and Girls Club. “Temperatures are checked, and we go through the six questions authorized by the CDC before each child enters to join their group.”

The Summer program continues through July 31 and is $10 per day or a $20 membership fee.

“Each year we have a theme for the summer program and this year the theme is Outer Space, so the children’s group names are Astronauts, Comets and Rockets,” said Kira Howard, Program Director. “We have a points system where each group can earn points for helping out or doing something nice. We do this to encourage good character and leadership.”

Students are instructed to bring a lunch that does not need to be heated, their own water bottle and a backpack with a couple of toys. These recommendations have been put into place because toy, equipment, and supply sharing has been limited, and the water fountains and cubbies are off-limits, according to the club.

“Children attending the Boys and Girls Club are able to participate in activities such as swimming, basketball, and social distancing games but we are unable to take the children on field trips right now because many places are closed due to COVID-19,” said Sanchez.

Every week beginning June 23, the Boys and Girls Club will walk down to the Shawnee Splash for the children to have some fun in the sun. On Tuesdays, the Astronauts will go from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the Rockets from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Wednesdays the Comets will go from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Children must wear appropriate swimwear and there will be no exceptions. Children will swim with their group on the scheduled day which means no switching.

The sno cone truck will begin stopping by the Boys and Girls Club every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. starting June 18. Sno Cones are $3 for a small and $4 for a large.

If interested, parents must sign up their child for the days that they plan to be attending each week by Friday at noon, due to limited space being available. The Boys and Girls Club is only accepting 60-70 kids at this time so there is a waiting list. Hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

For more information about the Shawnee Boys and Girls Club visit www.facebook.com/bgcshawnee/ or call (405) 273-1470. The Shawnee Boys and Girls Club is located at 200 E 9th St.