It’s not too early to start making summer plans for your kids

Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voicesIt might seem hard to believe after the winter we just endured, but summer is actually coming, and the more I plan for it, the more I secretly think it will arrive more quickly than we’re expecting.

As the days start to get warmer and longer, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t wait. Now is the time to make summer plans for your children. But you don’t have to worry about handling this all on your own. There’s assistance out there to guide you toward making fun, memorable plans for kids.

We have many resources available to help in town, and one of my favorites is a consolidated online brochure available at Communityanswers.org known as the Summer Resource Guide for Children in Greenwich. Community Answers is a wonderful service for families. It can assist you in navigating multiple agencies in town and it also has an online community calendar that promotes some local summer hot spots and activities for families, including some of my family favorites, like the Bruce Museum, Greenwich Audubon, and the local libraries, to name just a few.

And this isn’t just a dry online site. There are people there to help, and Community Answers has volunteers available to assist Monday through Friday from 9 to 3 at 203-622-7979.

Not every plan is going to please every child and what works for your younger kids is probably not going to cut it with the older ones. So what do you do with those tweens and early teens who are too old for camp but too young to work a summer job and who may not want to be with Mom and Dad all summer?

Many of our local camps offer counselor in training (CIT) programs. As with most summer programs, they are on a first-come, first-served basis. CIT programs are great because they give young people the camaraderie of the traditional camp experience with the chance to have some added responsibility, too. These programs tend to fill up quickly. So if your child has an interest, it’s best to start investigating soon.

Moreover, with any camp program you choose, you must get your forms in early, especially those medical forms. I promise your doctor’s office will thank you for it.

In addition, I like to encourage the 12- to 15-year-old age groups to look for ways to partner with friends and volunteer. From my experience, more often than not, teens tend to get more out of it than they ever give. The Volunteer Center of Southwestern County publishes a book available at Swwesternct.org/volunteer-stamford that can help connect young people to agencies looking for volunteers.

There is also a fantastic program called Greenwich Youth Conservation Program (GYCP). It offers summer employment for young teens ages 14 to 15 to work together. It provides young people a chance to give back, have fun and make a greener Greenwich. For more information on GYCP, you may call Christina Nappi at 203-622-7792.

For those young adults who attend or did attend Greenwich High School, Student Employment Services (SES) can also help make employment connections. Opportunities range from one-time or temporary commitments to regular part-time and full-time positions and community service work.

SES utilizes an extensive database with sophisticated search tools that bring students and employers together. This is all made possible by the Greenwich High School PTA and is a free service. For more information, visit Ghs-ses.org, phone 203-625-8008, or email [email protected]

Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of play and down time at any age. Think about the last time you and your child lost track of time riding bikes, reading and just being together having fun. Summer is the best time to reconnect and recharge. It is not always so much what you do and where you are but that you are together.

Whatever your choice of summer fun is for your child or family, mix it up, get planning. Stay calm and summer on.

 

Jenny Byxbee is the Greenwich youth services coordinator. She may be reached at 203-869-2221 or [email protected]

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