To all parents, grandparents and even older brothers and sisters whom sometime “get stuck” as caregivers for their younger, and often bored, siblings, there is relief from the nagging complaints by children that they are bored with nothing to do during this summer! We have fun purpose filled day camps at the Boys & Girls Clubs and our partners at middle schools with the McAllen ISD 21st Century Learning Centers.

Boys & Girls Club of McAllen Summer Camp Sites locations for ages 6 through 12 are:

Othal E. Brand Center, 2620 W. Galveston; 682-5791; La Retama Unit, 1200 N. 25th; 630-3212; Quest Academy, 1400 N. Rooth Road 773-8000; South Unit at Roosevelt Elem. School 4801 S. 26th Street; 630-4354; Alton Community Center, 221 W. Dawes in Alton, 519-2123

Other McAllen ISD - 21st Century Learning Centers with BGC McAllen as Partners, grades 6th to 8th graders; ages 11 - 14) are: Brown Middle School, De Leon Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Morris Middle School and Travis Middle School

The cost is $80, but scholarships are available for those who qualify. There is no charge for middle school 21st CCLC.

Our summer day camps provide youth the opportunity to combat the crisis issues in their lives with positive and fun, yes fun, solutions!

The Youth and Teen Crisis

in America Today

Problem No. 1: Dropout Rate

Across America minority teens are dropping out at epidemic rates. In our own Rio Grande Valley, despite hard working educators’ best efforts, Latino teens dropout rate is approximately 50 percent.

Solution No. 1: Boys & Girls Club — Sylvan Reading Camps

Reading camps help children stay on grade level throughout the summer months with our partners Sylvan Learning Center and McAllen ISD’s reading camps at the 21st Century Learning Center sites at all participating Middle Schools. Sylvan Learning will provide reading camps at the Boys & Girls Club sites and reading fun will be provided at the middle school sites.

Problem No. 2: Childhood Obesity and escalating diabetes rates in children

The U.S. Government initiated tracking of childhood obesity rates with its Healthy People 2010 emphasis. They estimate approximately 17 percent of U.S. children are morbidly obese and at earlier ages. Our children are suffering health consequences from sedentary lifestyles. Unfortunately, many kids don’t play outside like they used to; they are offered video games and computers instead.

Solution No. 2: Every Boys & Girls Club member will engage in fun, healthy physical activity and learn about healthy habits. Boys & Girls Club programming combats the childhood obesity trend, but getting youth involved in fun team-building exercise while learning healthy habits and lifestyles with cooking classes. The Brand Center site even has a swimming pool. Another community partner, The City of McAllen Parks and Recreation Department provides lifeguards so that are members are active and swimming safely!

Problem No. 3: Today’s children need character education.

Sixty to 90 percent of our youth members come from single parent homes. Often times they are starved for adult attention and simple conversation. This lack of adult attention can lead to more serious consequences such as dropout teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Solution No. 3: Our summer camps provide national Boys & Girls Club of America programs that focus on healthy and respectful lifestyles. One of our premiere “at risk” behavior prevention programs is called Smart Moves. Youth members will have an opportunity to be involved with group mentors that are sharing prevention messages. In addition, children are exposed to social settings that help them learn to respect themselves and their peers. They also plan and implement community service projects to learn civic responsibility.

In these ways, we fulfill our mission to grow caring, productive and responsible citizens. Please call the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen to enroll today.

Laura Reagan-Porras is a sociologist and Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen. She can be reached for question or comments at lreagan_porras@bgcmcallen.org or 956-682-5791.