LIMA — As the last month in summer begins, the children at Bradfield Community Center’s summer program are getting in their “last hoorah.”
“The kids are going to be tired when they get home,” Bradfield’s Program coordinator Tesha Banks said at the end of a day featuring bouncy houses, water games and a large spread of hotdogs, burgers and ice cream for the children.
But while the kids get to go home, Bradfield workers will still have plenty to do fulfilling its goal of providing new educational programming geared toward local youth.
“A lot of these children don’t see what it’s like outside of their neighborhoods. We try to get them out of their element,” Bliss Hairston, the summer program’s lead teacher, said.
“It’s always a good time in the summer and we don’t want the kids to be sitting inside all day playing video games. We want to expose them to something new. That’s what Bradfield is all about,” Banks said.
Just in the last six weeks, Bradfield organized visits to COSI, the Wexner Arts Center and the Toledo Zoo for the children in the summer program. Representatives from Rhodes State College and the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District also filled out their schedule when the group wasn’t traveling around the state.
For seventh grader Londayesha Edwards, those field trips provided a few memorable experiences.
“I never knew rats could play basketball,” Edwards said, recalling her time at COSI.
Another highlight was seeing a number of animals at the Toledo Zoo that she had only previously seen on television.
“I thought it was really cool to see their habitats,” Edwards said. “It was the first time that I got to see a tiger in real life and the first time I got to see penguins in real life.”
The animals also made an impression on Kaiden Fails, a second grader. While the tiger was worth a mention, he was more impressed with being able to pet some of the sea creatures, like the horseshoe crab and starfish. When asked why he liked the animals, Fails explained that he liked the diversity of animals.
“There are a lot of different species,” Fails said. “Sometimes, my dad watches nature shows, and I watch them with him.”
Educational opportunities didn’t have the same attraction for Kevin Keys III, a sixth grader, but he did have fun at the camp, playing kickball and going swimming outside with some of the other children, he said.
After celebrating outside, the final activity for Friday for the camp-goers was school-related. In a back room, each child received a bookbag donated by Dana Incorporated.
While the summer program is now over, the next step for Bradfield workers is planning the center’s after-school program.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.