While summer for some kids means trips to the beach and days at the waterpark, other children have nowhere to spend the day. To help prevent this from happening, the Boys and Girls Club tries to give children a place to go during the summer. Even during the school year, 15 million kids leave school with no place to go, risking the possibility of being unsupervised and unsafe.
The Boys and Girls Club held a balloon launch event at County Line Orchard in Hobart to send out the message that they are there to help the kids have the opportunity for a great future.
The event featured children from multiple Boys and Girls Clubs all around the area. The children all arrived before the launch itself, and spread into groups based on which club they were from. Each Boys and Girls Club had different colored shirts in order to keep the children organized. In their individual groups, they had the chance to play games before they had to prepare for the launch.
“There’s three clubs here today," said Larry Moore, board chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County. "There’s one from Porter County, one from Lake County and one from Michigan City. Last count I heard was 250. What they’re doing with the shirts is that everyone’s going to mix.”
Some of the games and activities of the day featured jump rope, hoola-hooping, relay races, an outdoor parachute game, a human-sized playing ball and the ever so popular tug of war.
Each balloon had a message written on a piece of paper tied to its string. The message was written by one of the children in attendance about what they wanted their future to hold. Then the child who wrote the message was given their balloon and told to hold it tight until the launch.
Seconds before launch, everyone participated in a countdown. As the countdown reached one, the kids let go of their balloons and watched them float away with the wishes they made for their future.
After the balloons drifted far enough away that they could no longer be seen, the children broke back up into their groups to play more games. After each group had the chance to play each game or participate in each activity, they then switched to the next.
In the rotation of activities, one of the stops was a snack stop. The kids were given treats such as bananas and snacks as well as water to keep them hydrated. While most of the kids were there for the fun and games as well as the chance to watch their own balloon fly away in the sky, there was a serious message in the event.
One of the Boys and Girls Clubs' beliefs is that every child deserves a great future. However, they realize that in the summer, a lot of kids have nowhere to go. They want to get the message out that when school’s out, Clubs are in.
Sponsors of the event included Luke, Strack & Van Til, Auto Junction, County Line Orchard, Aj Canopy, RomanArt, Aldi, It’s My Party, Town & Country and Arcelor Mittal, the main sponsor and the only one to make a financial contribution.