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A 'Rockin' spring break

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PLAY: Boys & Girls Club junior staffer Gabby Minick smiles as she interactswith students Monday, during the first day of the spring break programming at the club.
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SPRING FUN: (Front row) Bree Napier and Evonee Schroan pose for a picture with their friends who are dressed up in spring-themed items. Every day will bring new costumes, as the club has theme days planned throughout the week.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Even though students are don’t have school this week, the Boys & Girls Club is extending their hours to give parents a safe space for their children to play while they’re at work.

The club will be open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. as usual, but this week, parents can drop their kids off beginning at 5:30 a.m.

“That has an additional charge with it, but it’s a very reasonably priced,” Boys & Girls Club program director Desiree Frederick said.

There is no shortage of programming for students to get involved in while their other friends are out of town. The Boys & Girls Club will be “Rocking Spring Break,” with theme days scheduled all week. Monday’s theme was the 1920s, but today’s theme is the 1950s, Wednesday is the 1960s, Thursday is the 1970s and Friday ends the week with the 1980s.

“We like to dance at the club, so we’ll be having a dance party each day where we’ll incorporate the music from each decade that we are celebrating into it,” Frederick said.

There will also be daily tournaments featuring different board games that came out during those decades, such as Candy Land, Twister, Sorry!, Operation and many more.

As a special treat, Frederick said she’s been planning unique off-site trips to give the students new experiences to hopefully make spring break more memorable.

“We also want to make it fun for them since they’re here and not getting to to on vacation somewhere,” she said. “It is going to be like a vacation even though they’re staying here in Huntington.”

On Thursday, the high school students will be taking a field trip to Coney Island in Fort Wayne, since Frederick said their last spring break trip to Johnny’s here in town was such a success.

“I like finding niche things that they might not have had the opportunity to do before,” Frederick said. “If the weather permits, we’re going to try and go fishing sometime this week because they really like to fish. We are really trying to keep them active and busy, to make sure they’re having fun.”

Yesterday, they went on a scavenger hunt through downtown Huntington, taking advantage of the spring weather. Later this week, the club plans to go to Lake Clare’s fitness park to blow off some steam, and of course with March Madness underway, there will be plenty of basketball.

“They have so much energy – so early,” Frederick said. “With normal club hours being at 8 a.m., they are ready to get in the gym at 8 a.m. on the dot. We’re trying to find unique and different games to play in the different spaces so that they’re not doing the same things each day.”

Frederick expects there to be less students at the club this week, somewhere around 150 children each day, since they normal average is anywhere from 320-330 students each day when school is in session.

She said they’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents who said their spring break programming has helped them immensely.

“A lot of times they tell us how much they appreciate what we do since they need a safe space for their kids to go,” Frederick said. “Any parent wants to know while they’re at work that their kids are somewhere safe, getting lunch. It takes a lot of stress off from the parents since we can be open on spring break.”

Even though Boys & Girls programming is only for club members, Frederick said they have plenty of room if parents want to stop in and sign their students up.

Children will be fed breakfast, lunch and an evening snack.

Although Parkview Huntington YMCA’s Spring Break Day Camp is full, the Huntington City-Township Library has a few programs this week that students on spring break can attend.

On Wednesday, the library is hosting a workshop from 6-7 p.m. on using ebooks and audiobooks to discuss the library’s wide selection of electronic offerings.

The Fabulous Foodies Cookbook Club will meet on Thursday from 6-7 p.m. to chat about cookbooks, cooking, recipes and more depending on the theme.

On Friday, young students will get a chance to test their reading skills as they read books to registered therapy dogs, during Paws to Read from 10 a.m. to noon.