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A different kind of learning experience

Instructors at the Linwood Community Centre include Kaylin Epp, Lisa Giesbrecht, Drew Ballak and Daire Newbrough. [Veronica Reiner]

Having just wrapped up the school year, most kids might not have learning something new at the top of their to-do list just now. But given the emphasis on fun, the Kid’s Summer Club just might be an option for those looking for something to do in Wellesley Township.

The club, which runs through mid-August, is a new venture sponsored by the  Wellesley Township Community Health Centre, and made possible by a two-year grant from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation.

“We’ve run other clubs before but this is the first year we’ve done it in this kind of scope,” said Drew Ballak, child and youth worker at the health centre. “In past years, it’s been more of a focus on the low German community. Now, it’s pretty much open for anyone who lives in Wellesley Township.”

That’s the case whether or not the kids are at the “I’m bored” stage of their summer vacation.

The meeting places are hosted at four different locations across the Township, depending on the day of the week: Tuesdays are at the Linwood Community centre, Wednesdays take place at the St. Clements Community Centre, Thursdays at the Crosshill Mennonite Church, and Fridays at the Hawkesville Mennonite Church.

It is geared towards children ages 4-13 to teach them hands-on skills each week, throughout the seven-week program.

“So we have an array of topics for the summer,” said Ballak. “This past week was physical exercise or education. But we’re also going to do topics on leadership and bullying, relationships, technology, animals, and nutrition.”

He added that the club sees a good turnout for the most part, with a low of eight and a high of 21. The maximum is 25. St. Clements and Linwood locations are fairly full, while the Crosshill location is the most open.

The club also features a variety of interactive activities. For example, this past Tuesday at the Linwood Community Centre, local firefighters came in to teach kids about fire safety, as well as explaining what the job entails and touching on leadership skills.

“For the week of bullying, we’re going to have David Cassidy, who is the police officer for the rural schools,” explained Ballak. “He’s going to talk about bullying in general, then hopefully he’ll talk about technology and bullying. For the animals week, we have the humane society coming in, and they’re going to bring some animals out as well.”

There are also outdoor activities, crafts such as painting, origami, and paper mâché for the day-long club.

“We’re hoping if we can get funding for students again, we’d love to host it again next year, for sure,” said Ballak.

The Kids Summer Club runs until August 16 from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. A $25 donation is suggested. For more information or to register, contact Ballak through email at aballak@wchc.on.ca.

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