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After-School Hours Packed With Fun At BGCO

Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst prepared for school year

Oakhurst, CA -Thousands of area children have headed back to school and the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst is ready with proven programs and fun activities that will help the area’s youth grow and will give them a positive place to be after school.

In addition to free play and weekly drop-in activities, the following programs will be offered:

Power Hour (Homework Assistance) 2:30-3:30pm Tuesday – Thursday

Among the available research on the importance of after-school homework assistance is a recent study conducted by the U.S. Justice and Education Departments. In Working for Children: Safe and Smart After-School Programs (2000), experts reported, “children who are left alone when school ends have more difficulties with their class work than those who participate in after-school programs. Not only is the latter group of students more likely to succeed academically, they are also much more self-confident.” Other studies have linked after-school homework assistance programs to improved behavior at school and an overall increased interest in learning.Boys and Girls Club Homework

At Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, members are encouraged to complete their homework before they begin to play. In addition to “Homework Helpers,” Power Hour offers tips for establishing essential communication with teachers and parents. Research has shown that parental involvement is a must if children are to develop good homework habits. Power Hour also provides incentives for Club members, rewarding them with “Power Points” and charting their academic progress on a colorful poster that is displayed prominently in the Club.

This highly successful homework assistance program helps young people come to view homework as an opportunity to learn to work independently, complete projects on time and feel positive about their accomplishments.

Power Hour’s long-term goals are to ensure that youth graduate from high school, pursue postsecondary educations and become life-long learners.

Stinky Sock Reading Club Mondays 3:30-4:00pm

Children enrolled in reading programs are more likely to be academically prepared when they go to school. According to the National Institute for Literacy, “…the strongest and most consistent predictors of later literacy development are alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness and memory, rapid automatized naming of letters and objects, and writing letters.”

Children who continue to read develop fundamental comprehension skills. The earlier these children learn these skills, the more time they will have to practice and apply what they have learned.

Children introduced to a wide range of vocabulary words are able to use vocabulary as a base for the more complex skills involved in grammar and reading comprehension.

Reading is one of the most basic acts of learning. All children should have access to quality, educational early reading programs where they learn the skills that can act as a cornerstone for later academic achievement.

Garden Project Mondays 4:00-5:00pm

Boys and Girls Club gardeningAn organic garden has been planted at the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst to teach club members about healthy nutrition through organic gardening, along with lessons on water and soil conservation. In addition to lessons learned, the club members are looking forward to the end result of sharing the tasty rewards at harvest time.

Triple Play 3:30-4:30pm Tuesdays, Preteen & up; Thursdays, elementary grades.

Oakhurst’s Triple Play program is funded by the Community Grant Program of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and The County of Madera.

Triple Play aims to improve young people’s knowledge of healthy habits, good nutrition and physical fitness; increase the numbers of hours per day they participate in physical activities; and strengthen their ability to interact positively with others and engage in healthy relationships. The program is built on the premise that a healthy child is one that is strong in three areas: Mind, Body and Soul.

SMART Girls (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Tuesdays 4:00-5:00pm

In response to the growing need to provide young women with the necessary skills to “say no” to drugs, alcohol and premature sexual activity at an early age, the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst has offered SMART Girls since 2009.

The goal of the SMART Girls program is to help girls develop healthy attitudes and lifestyles. To accomplish this, Boys and Girls Club SmartGirlsthe program addresses health and social issues that are specific to female Club members. It is intended to help girls make positive decisions at this critical stage in their development.

In “It’s Your Body,” female Club members examine the physical and emotional developments that occur during adolescence, media influence on attitudes and behaviors toward females, development of personal values in dating relationships, and eating disorders.

The second component, “Take Care of Your Body,” focuses on girls’ specific nutritional needs. It provides Club members with basic cooking skills, ways to ensure physical fitness and exposure to community agencies that deal with female health issues.

“We are pleased to have a program that improves relationships between young women and the older significant females in their lives. We think it’s important for a young woman to establish a positive relationship with an adult female, a relationship that can foster self-esteem and a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said J. Doss, Unit Director.

CareerLaunch Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm

CareerLaunch is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s career exploration and job readiness program for teens. Clubs are uniquely positioned to make a difference in the future workforce by providing members with opportunities to explore a variety of career options, to make sound educational decisions and to practice job readiness skills.

Club Tech Wednesdays 4:30-5:30pm

Club Tech was created by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft in 2000 to technologically enable Clubs worldwide, transforming Clubs from “swim and gym” to “point and click” destinations. Partnering with longtime supporter Microsoft, BGCA provides technology program access to some 4.1 million youth served through Club membership and community outreach at nearly 4,000 Clubs. By leveling the virtual playing field, kids of all ages and circumstances now have access to the same resources and skills to help them discover their world, expand creativity, perform better in school, and eventually take their technology know-how into the workplace.

“Technology has changed the way our children learn and play, and we are pleased to provide them with the proper training through the Club Tech program,” said Doss. “With technology being so prominent in the everyday life of today’s youth, we know that these skills are key to our children’s success in school and their future workplaces.”

Passport to Manhood Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm

Passport to Manhood is designed for young men, ages 11-14 and addresses such issues as ethics, decision making, wellness, fatherhood, employment and careers, cooperation and conflict, diversity, relationships and self-esteem. The 14-session small-group program will use role playing, peer discussions, games and art projects to explore values, attitudes and behaviors necessary for a healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood.

At the beginning of the program, participants are given “passports” to detail lessons learned on each leg of their journey. After each program session, the group facilitator signs and “stamps” each member’s passport with the date. During each session, the young men will establish standards related to the values promoted in the session. These standards become a code of conduct by which all members agree to live. During a graduation ceremony planned by the youth, the graduates present and recite their code of conduct and are recognized for taking critically important steps toward manhood.

Art Fridays 2:30-3:30pm

Torch Club (Student Leadership) – Fridays 3:30-4:30pm

This small-group leadership development program, sponsored by Staples, is targeted to youth ages 11 to 13. Within some 1300 Torch Clubs across the country, members elect officers and plan and implement their own activities and community service projects. Each Torch Club receives an official charter from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Boys & Girls Club Oakhurst is committed to enabling all children to participate in our youth guidance and development programs. This is done by keeping membership fees affordable for everyone… just $40 per month with waivers for qualifying families. This is only possible thanks to contributions from generous individuals and businesses.

“For over 12 years, our mission has been and will continue to be to serve our communities’ children, especially those who need us most,” said Rima Runtzel, Board President.

After much deliberation and analysis, the Club’s Board of Directors has determined that it can best fulfill its mission by participating in a one day furlough for staff each month.

“It is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to direct our resources so that we can serve as many children as possible with the very best programs and facilities,” said Runtzel.

Beginning August 20, 2012, hours of Operation when school is in session will be Monday through Friday, after school until 6:00 pm, with the furlough taking place the fourth Monday of each month. Hours of operation are subject to change. Updated calendars will be available at

For more information about what Boys & Girls Clubs do, or to volunteer, go to


  1. Tricia Louise Tracy

    My heart just leaps with joy to see the Beautiful Organic Garden that was created by Tend The Earths founder Marianna Burrett.

    It’s just a great way to give back to the community, to those who can be part a positive change, Our Future, The Kids!

    I believe that the valuable skills the children will learn from having access & lessons within this garden are just Priceless. Hats off to a much needed & appreciated project!

  2. Thank you for saying that Tracy. This project would never have taken shape without Marianna & Mike’s, initiative, time, investment, & passion.

    Don’t forget to check out

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