Sunday, July 20, 2014

End-of-School-Year Que Kidz Dayz Covers Safety, Hygiene and Golf!

By Brother David White

Showing Children a Pathway to Success 
The school year is over and it’s now time for some summertime fun with the children of Kentland Community Center.  The men of Gamma Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. entertained, encouraged and mentored 12 children on Saturday, June 28, 2014.  Our program focused on the following core concepts (Cultural Awareness, Healthy Living, Academic Achievement, Service to the Community and Etiquette Training).  As always, we began our program with a healthy breakfast and a discussion strategically chosen to educate the children.   

Brother Donald Belle lead our program with an interactive discussion regarding safety and how one plan versus another would be more appropriate for a given emergency situation such as, a fire or a burglary in the home.  Additionally, we discussed how the children should react to a stranger knocking at the door of their home if mom and/ or dad were not present in the home at the time.  We then segued into a water safety crossword puzzle where the children were challenged to see who could find the most words about water safety.  There was one child that found 13 words and was considered the top word finder of the program. 

To further the discussion of safety and summertime, and since most of our activities after breakfast were going to be performed in the sunlight, we discussed the potential dangers of too much exposure to the sun, and applied sunscreen to each child before they performed the outdoor activities planned.                   

Introduction to Golf:
What a fabulous opportunity the children of Kentland Community had in learning the basics of the challenging game of golf.  Bro. Kevin Greenwood and Bro. Chris Fleming did an outstanding job facilitating how to putt, and the children soaked up the information like a sponge.  More importantly, the actual putting performed by the children and the desire displayed by the children to actually sink the ball in the hole was nothing short of exciting.  They learned about 3 different golf clubs, the putter, driver and the pitching wedge. 

In addition to learning about the clubs, the children were exposed to the proper way of putting, the stance, and how to study the hole in preparation for a putt shot.  The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. enjoy healthy competition, and so we challenged the children to making a long putt and to sink the ball with the fewest number of strokes.  Most children began approximately 15 feet away from the hole as one child putted and made it in only 2 strokes, which was incredible for first time exposure. 

The exposure to the game of golf is not very prevalent in our communities however, the exposure on Saturday and if consistently promoted by the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., coupled with the desire of the children to continue to want to learn how to play, the opportunity could create many positive and productive pathways in many of the lives of the children that attend our programs in the Kentland Community.

Obstacle Course:     
Also, in the spirit of competition we developed a challenging obstacle course for the children that tested physical balance, stamina and perseverance.  The obstacle course consisted of balancing a book on their head while walking to a station within the course, hula hooping to another and continuing the course by revisiting, and re-teaching how to tie a tie, and ended by making a lay-up on the basketball court.  While some of the activities in the course were difficult tasks, the fortitude that was carried out by the children to finish the course was amazing to witness.

Competition is healthy and is needed to push children to the next level.  Although we wanted to see how the children responded to the spirit of competition, it was much more important for us to see the willingness of the children to persevere, and they did. 

Clean-up, Lunch and a Lesson in Hygiene:
After 60 minutes of active play, the children gathered the golf clubs from the course, cleared the make-shift obstacle course and made their way to a hearty and healthy lunch prepared for them.  We served a nutritious lunch and recapped the day with an interactive discussion about what they learned and experienced. 

We ended the program by presenting the children with a gift bag of hygiene products that consisted of a toothbrush, dental floss and toothpaste.  The purpose of this activity was to continue our push for clean living in our communities which is consistent with our acronym, C.H.A.S.E. 

Thanks to Bro. Kevin Greenwood for the photos

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