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Places To Play

Many Summer Youth Activities Still Being Offered

Meals are being prepared as part of the Jamestown Area YMCA's free summer meal program. As of June 29, the YMCA began providing "Grab-N-Go" meals for children under 18 years old from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James Prendergast Library, C.C. Ring Elementary, Persell Middle School, Jefferson Middle School, and the Boys and Girls Club. Submitted photo

The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed how many things are normally done, but there are still plenty of youth activities being offered this summer.

Jamestown officials announced this week that a meeting of local youth services organizations was held recently to discuss youth programs and activities that are still taking place in the greater Jamestown area this summer during the pandemic. Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist thanked Beth Starks, Chautauqua Child Care Council board member, for organizing the meeting.

“Many programs had to be cut or canceled due to pandemic-related concerns and we wanted to get a consensus on what resources are still available to families and then spread the word,” Sundquist said. “What we’ve found is that organizations have been able to pivot within safety guidelines to still offer fun activities for kids online and in person.”

Jeff Kroon, Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club executive director, said last year they assisted in operating three summer day camps for children in the city, but consolidated into one this year. He said last year the Boys and Girls Club had a indoor day camp at its 62 Allen St. headquarters, an off-site day camp on Curtis Street Extension and a reading program at Lincoln Elementary school, in which they partner with Jamestown Public Schools, Jamestown Area YMCA and YWCA Jamestown.

“We thought the best course of action was an indoor day camp that is under permit with the county Health Department,” he said. “We thought this was the best way to keep the program going while serving a number of kids in a safe and supervised atmosphere.”

Alex Lantigua from the YMCA and Joanna Sorensen, James Prendergast library staff member, are handing out free books during the summer lunch program on Friday at the James Prendergast Library, located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown. Submitted photo

Kroon said they are serving about 65 children a day, which is about half of the number usually involved in Boys and Girls Club summer activities.

“It may not be a perfect solution, but it’s better than being closed all summer,” he said. “This is more structured with smaller groups. This way we minimize risk.”

For more information, call 664-2902 or visit bgcjamestown.org.

The Jamestown Area YMCA is still providing free summer meals for children during the pandemic. As of June 29, the YMCA began providing “Grab-N-Go” meals for children under 18 years old from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James Prendergast Library, C.C. Ring Elementary, Persell Middle School, Jefferson Middle School and the Boys and Girls Club.

“We have served summer meals for several years, but this year is unique,” said John Barber, YMCA operations director. “We are operating differently to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that families have increased access to healthy meals for their children. That means we have special prevention measures in place, but also expanded access and flexibility for families looking for summertime meals.”

Each weekday’s meal service includes lunch for the day of service and breakfast for the following morning. Fridays include enough meals to get through the weekend. Children or their parents/guardians can pick up meals for all children in their household. Children do not need to be present for meals to be picked up. Families with multiple children are encouraged to bring a bag from home so that they can more easily carry their meals home. Meal service will continue at these locations through August 28th.

“Part of the YMCA’s mission is to help make sure no child goes hungry and we could not pursue this mission without the help of the USDA’s summer meal program and a bunch of local partners that have joined us in this effort,” Barber said. “The Boys and Girls Club and the library have staff who have been helping to serve meals each day and Jamestown Public Schools is allowing us to serve outside the schools. Also, Brigiotta’s is assisting with our need for expanded milk refrigeration and Jamestown Ice and Storage Inc. providing a daily supply of ice for our coolers. It is great to live in a community where so many great partners are ready to come together!”

For more information, call 664-2802 or visit jamestownymca.org.

Annie Greene, Prendergast Library executive director, said the library is presenting the “Imagine Your Story” Summer Reading Challenge program to children to have them focus on imagining their community’s story.

“Because we cannot hold in-library programming, the staff designed the summer reading program with many take-home and virtual programming components,” she said.

Greene also said children, teens and adults can sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge at prendergastlibny03.readsquared.com, and the link is also on the library’s website at prendergastlibrary.org. She said participants log their reading by book or amount of time read while setting individual learning goals where they can earn badges and reading certificates and participate in games and missions. She added that participants earn badges for reading and participating in missions and enter for the grand prize drawing at the end of the summer. The children’s grand prizes include a scooter and magic kit, and the teen and adult grand prize is a $50 Visa gift certificate.

“This year, thanks to Give Big CHQ, we purchased farm market bucks from the Jamestown Public Market to give to all of our Summer Reading Challenge participants,” she said. “Also, thanks to Give Big CHQ donors, we purchased gift certificates from local businesses such as Full Moon Rising, The Sprinkle Cone and Jamestown Cycle Shop. Every Friday on Facebook Live at 2 p.m. we draw a winner from the adults, children and teens who signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge.”

Greene said a big part of the summer reading program is the online programs, which includes Facebook Live storytimes Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., STEAM videos Tuesdays at 2 p.m., music with Alyssa (a music therapy course) Wednesdays at 2 p.m., and History of your Library videos Thursdays at 2 p.m.

In addition to the online programs, Greene said the library offers a “take-and-make” craft every Thursday that children can pick-up at the library at any time between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The kit consists of a free book with easy at-home crafts children can do alone or with a parent.

“Last week’s kit was design a puzzle. This week’s kit is create a suncatcher.,” Greene said.

Greene said the library is also handing out free books to children as part of the YMCA’s meal program on Fridays.

“This Friday, we will begin to hand out free books at all of the YMCA meal sites, including the Boys and Girls Club, C.C. Ring School, Persell School and Jefferson School,” Greene said. “The “free books for kids” program was made possible by a grant from Cummins.”

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