07/05/11 — Boys & Girls Club attendance is up

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Boys & Girls Club attendance is up

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 5, 2011 1:46 PM

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Brother and sister Jeron, 11, and Jahlaia Hope, 9, get in some early morning pool and foosball practice at the Boys & Girls Club this morning. The duo had their pick of tables before the rush started at 10 a.m.

The summer is already heating up at the Boys & Girls Club, with the Paley Unit on Royall Avenue averaging up to 157 children a day.

"In only a couple weeks of summer -- and it's growing," said Marvin Ford, unit director of the Goldsboro club. "We fill out 10 to 15 applications a day."

The Royall Avenue site serves youths from age 6 to 18.

During the school year, its after-school program runs weekdays from 2-7:30 p.m.

Once school dismissed, regular hours changed to 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"If you would like earlier services that that, we have our early-bird program -- 6:45 a.m. until 6 p.m.," Ford said, noting there is an additional fee for the service, $25 per family and $35 per week per child.

Youth in the early-bird program receive breakfast and lunch, Ford said, while regular members are given lunch.

This year's program centers around a nationwide epidemic -- obesity.

"We have a lot of exercise programs going," the director said. "We are really focusing on being active."

Activities are done on a rotational basis, with groups moving to a different area at the center every hour.

Among the programs being offered are Quickball, featuring instruction in baseball and softball.

"We'll throw a pitch to get the kids active, have them run the bases," Ford said. "We actually have equipment to play the actual sport on our fields.

"It also has a classroom component, that promotes sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork."

The club is also incorporating Kinect, a video game that promotes health and fitness. In mid-July, the popular drum line will also be resurrected, Ford said .

"No experience is required," he pointed out. "(The leader) starts them at beginner. Sometimes kids go on to be on the performance team." Offering two sessions a day, there are openings for between 12 and 24 students in each.

Another event in the planning stages is forming a Boy Scout troop at the Paley Unit. "That's in the making with some local churches," he explained. "I'm trying to recruit about 15 guys to start a Cub Scout troop here at the club."

All four clubs in the area -- Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Fremont and Selma -- are pleased with the turnout of youth this summer, Ford said. But there are a couple of contributions the community could make to ensure success.

"We're seeking volunteers, all the volunteers we can get," he said. "And we are running through a lot of equipment, like pool sticks, arts and crafts, supplies, anything that can be used by a child, (ping pong) paddles."

For more information on the program or to volunteer, call 735-1736.