Our ethos at SBYC is to provide the facilities for our children to play in a safe, familiar environment, to learn new skills, find new interests, see demonstrations and participate in activities they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see and do.
They get to meet their friends and relax or do whatever activities they decide to do that evening and we usually have these activities planned so that the kids can come in and out of them as they please.
We have a tuck shop for the kids to buy snacks and drinks. We are hoping for the new school year to purchase a slushy machine too.
Our activities are based on Nature, History, Crafts, Engineering, Sport, Art and Music. From birds of prey and reptiles to Gathering drum sessions, making kites to art attack animation, our outside activity providers bring a whole new world into the school.
In the canteen we have arts and crafts, painting, baking, lego, nail varnish and bead making, and we have recently purchased a badge maker which is always a big hit with the kids, especially those on the Autistic Spectrum, they seem to love making 20 badges at a time.
In the gym we have dodge ball, gymnastics, and sometimes we build the kids an obstacle course.
If the weather is good there’s always a football match going on in the playground.
At Christmas we have a disco, Halloween a Fancy Dress Party, and last Friday of the year we have a Candy Floss and Popcorn Party with Face Painting. Next year we’re going to get some of our volunteers trained up to do the face painting ourselves.
We gain satisfaction from seeing the kids have fun, smiling and laughing and running around between all the different activities. We get to know the children and see them grow and develop over the years and they get to know us too.
Unfortunately, the number of kids we can have at the Youth Club is limited by the space we can use within the school, and it is as disappointing for us on registration night to have to turn disappointed parents and their children away. We are trying to come up with some ideas to resolve this.
Thankfully we are never short of adult volunteers each Friday night, and we have a great set of young volunteers of secondary school age to help out too.
At the end of each Friday night we have a short debriefing meeting for any issues arising and each month we celebrate the adult and young volunteer of the month. Then we all head home exhausted but always smiling, and looking forward to next week at St. Bernard’s Youth Community Group.