Boys & Girls Club of the Upstate makes “Summer Survival Kits” for kids

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CHEROKEE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – The Coronavirus has forced a lot of people to be innovative in the way they get things done. That includes summer camps.

7 News learned how the Boys & Girls Club of the Upstate is still working to impact kids in our area.

“I’m so used to interacting with them on a daily basis; and, since the quarantine, we haven’t had the chance to interact with them or speak with them or anything, so it’s been pretty hard,” Boys & Girls Club counselor Tyler Dillard said.

Since Coronavirus shut down schools and after-school programs like the Boys & Girls Club, counselors–even after being furloughed–wanted to come together and find an alternative way to serve the kids they love and miss. And the pandemic has proved to be no match for their mission.

“Inspire and enable all young people–especially those who need us most–to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens,” President of the Boys & Girls Club of the Upstate Greg Tolbert said.

So, until school starts back, they’ve come up with the perfect “Summer Survival Kit.”

“You want to keep kids busy, active, learning,” Tolbert said. “The summer club survival kit covers leadership, education, arts, and fitness.”

They made 1,000 of these kits for Cherokee and Spartanburg County students who are in first through fifth grade.

The kits are book bags filled with items to help keep the kids’ minds sharp and their bodies fit.

“We know all kids don’t have markers and paint and all of this stuff. So, we’re sending all of the supplies to them so they can make stuff at home and be creative,” art teacher Susan McKinney said.

“You’ve got jump ropes and frisbees. You’ve got crayons and sketchbooks and pencils,” Tolbert said.

When they give out the bags, they want to encourage parents to interact with their kids as they utilize them.

“Spend quality time developing your young person,” Tolbert said. “This is the way you can do it.”

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club summer program, and where they plan to hand out the summer survival kits, click here.

Officials with the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate told 7 News they were able to purchase about $100,000 worth of items for the summer survival kits with help from some federal grants.

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