Mattie Rhodes Center Summer Youth Programming Underway

Mattie Rhodes Center’s (MRC) youth programming has officially started for this summer.

New health guidelines released by the local government have allowed for a safe return to services and programs offered annually during summer.

Although programming is now running, regulations such as social distancing and wearing masks are still being followed. In addition, capacity limits are also in place.

The current programs being offered by MRC are Soccer for Success, Club KC, Camp Wham and a new program called Marathon Club. All programs will run through August, with varying end dates. 

MRC’s signature summer program Camp Wham already reached its 15-child capacity during its second week in session with three more weeks to go.

Youth Development Coordinator Alea Surrender said that after reaching their maximum capacity, they may reassess whether to open it up to those children who have not yet had the opportunity to attend. 

Since Camp Wham’s start on Monday, July 6, there have been no reports of any children testing positive for COVID-19 or being exposed to the virus. 

When asked if it has been difficult to enforce mask wearing among children, Surrender said they’ve been following directions really well.

“Social distancing is sometimes hard, like when they’re playing with each other, they’re apart but not quite six feet,” Surrender said.

Marathon Club, MRC’s newest summer program, is open to all ages and will run every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. until August 20. The goal is to reach the length of a marathon, 26.2 miles, by walking, jogging or running, during the eight-week program.

Participants who register and reach the length of a half-marathon will receive a t-shirt and a water bottle. Any registered participant who reaches the distance of a marathon by the end of the program has the chance to win a Fitbit, wearable technology that tracks the number of steps walked and heart rate, among other data.

Club KC was popular during its first night at the Garrison Community Center, 1124 E 5th St. Youth ages 11 to 18 were welcomed to enjoy a live DJ, games and different sports activities. 

Coach-Mentor Laura Pezold said that participants have been adapting to the rules implemented by MRC. 

“They wear their masks all day without complaints and they do their best to stay six feet apart,” Pezold said. “I think they just enjoy being in a different environment and seeing new people so they’re more willing to follow the new rules.”

For more information on summer programming, go to www.mattierhodes.org/.

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