Camp Fire North Shore invited students and families enrolled in their after school programs reflect on why these programs are important to them, what their favorite part of Camp Fire is, and what makes a happy after school camper.
This activity was part of the 17th annual Lights On Afterschool nationwide, where over 8,000 afterschool programs participated in rallies, events, and open houses. Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs. As they were coloring in light bulbs to represent this, a fourth grader from Sisson Elementary School said “I like this activity because I love working with my friends,” and second grader shared, “I colored mine a rainbow because they are bright like me!”
Camp Fire North Shore serves over 240 Lynn and Salem students with before and after school programs. From the first day of school in September until the last day of school in June, Camp Fire staff are there helping with homework, running fun enrichment activities from gardening to STEM to arts and crafts, and getting kids active and moving during the out-of-school time hours.
Students join Camp Fire’s programs, which are run right at the schools that enrolled children attend, for a variety of reasons – they need additional academic support, they are exposed to new and engaging activities, they gain social-emotional skills by being with their peers, and they have a safe place to be while parents and guardians are at work.
“Quality afterschool programs help students discover their passions while keeping them safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “These programs prepare children and youth to succeed in school and in life. Lights On Afterschool is the one time each year when programs all across the country open their doors so community members can see the hands-on, fun, educational activities they offer to students. But there aren’t nearly enough afterschool programs to meet the need in this country, and students, families, schools, businesses and communities suffer as a result.”
The America After 3PM household survey of more than 30,000 families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, found that participation in afterschool programs has increased to 10.2 million students nationwide, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has increased as well. Today, for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more whose parents say they would participate, if a program were available.
Camp Fire North Shore is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build caring, confident youth and future leaders. The organization offers before and after school programs, summer camp, and teen programming to North Shore youth. It operates extended day school programs at Aborn, Brickett, Callahan, Harrington, Shoemaker, Sisson, and Tracy in Lynn and Bentley Academy in Salem.