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Replace summer boredom with plenty of summer fun!

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Summer is fast approaching, but that doesn't mean your kids should stop learning.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, kids not involved in meaningful summer activities lose learning skills.

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Harris Cooper, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, estimates that summer learning loss for all students equals about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale in all subjects, and 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math.

Alexandria Community Education's Youth Enrichment Summer Times catalog has a huge variety of opportunities for fun, fitness, friendship and learning.

"Our purpose in offering these opportunities is to help families keep their children involved in meaningful activities throughout the summer in order to prevent boredom and to bridge the gap in learning during summer," noted Lisa Bowden, youth enrichment coordinator. "Youth will be challenged to explore new areas and learn new skills."

Youth entering grades 1-12 are invited to participate in activities like music, academics, fitness, arts and crafts, theater, cooking, and more. These options are available to students in and around Alexandria.

The Summer Times catalog is viewable online at www.alexandria.k12.mn.us/ceyouth.

Summer Club is back!

This summer marks the third year of Community Education's Summer Club, a popular and flexible summer option for middle level youth.

The program has expanded age categories this year that include a 5th and 6th grade group and a 7th and 8th grade group. This year's 7th grade students were the first group to experience Summer Club, and they shared positive feedback for expanding the programming to include them one more year.

"Last year we had upwards of 90 students per week enjoying all types of summer academic and enrichment activities, from learning basic healthy cooking skills and lifetime fitness activities, to doing unique science experiments, to going on a variety of educational field trips," noted Bowden. "We anticipate continued growth as we approach year three of Summer Club!"

United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties is a supporter of the Summer Club program.

WHY SEND YOUR CHILD TO SUMMER CLUB?

When children start to reach the middle grades in school, many families may choose not to send them to any type of "daycare" as a necessary cost savings, or it may be an inappropriate setting.

Youth this age may spend up to 40 or more hours a week in an unsupervised setting during the summer while parents work.

"We want to help families bridge that gap three days a week for six weeks during the middle of summer," Bowden explained.

"Summer Club is not daycare, but an opportunity to brush up on academics, learn responsibility, develop social skills, and to be more independent, which will help them during those times they may be at home without adult supervision," she added. "Our schedule allows flexibility for students' and parents' busy schedules, and participation is encouraged whether or not parents work outside the home.

To register or get more information about Summer Club or any of our summer youth enrichment opportunities, visit the website www.alexandria.thatscommunityed.com, or call Community Education at (320) 762-3310.

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