WILMINGTON — Harvest of Gold Inc. currently is between its summer camp that went really well under a new coordinator, and its signature after-school tutoring program which starts back up in mid-October.
Harvest of Gold Executive Director Eleanor Harris described the three-week summer camp as “magnificent.” This summer, in addition to Harris and Penny Kincaid who serves every year, former teacher Tammy Puckett helped for the first time and was “kind of like coordinator of summer camp,” Harris said.
There were 22 students in grades K through 6 registered for the camp, and they experienced a variety of instructional techniques. Those included themed learning, educational games such as Summer Reading Bingo, use of a computer lab, partner and silent reading, and hands-on learning about magnets and foot-stomping learning about time.
On that last item, students had to stomp their feet for a minute and sometimes were surprised how long a minute really can be. That then led to memorizing a poem about a clock — a couple sentences a day — and working on telling time with clocks that have hands and not simply digital clocks with numerals only.
The Summer Reading Bingo card had blocks — to be initialed by the parents — when a child, for example, read on a Tuesday, read in a fort, read under a table, read in their swimsuit, read to a pet, read with a flashlight, read to stuffed animals, read on a rainy day, and read at the library. The child was to read at least 20 minutes for each reading block.
Five of the kids completed the full board on the Bingo card, and received a gift certificate to get a new book.
Puckett told the students about Toucans, which are brightly marked birds that have large, often colorful bills. After she told about the Toucan, the students would write what they wanted to say about the bird with the unusual appearance, and then were asked whether certain adjectives go along with the Toucan.
So they were learning about Toucans, practicing their writing, and increasing their vocabulary.
Students on the first Thursday painted animals they had studied, thanks to Ms. Jennifer from the All Fired Up About Ceramics shop in town. On the second Thursday, they learned how to make paper cranes from local resident Diane Murphy. And on the third Thursday, Fall Creek Friends Church pastor H. Scott Latimer presented puppets about a sister who didn’t want to read.
Cathy Fay taught four girls about playing tennis as part of the camp.
At the end of the summer camp, each student got a book bag with supplies, a certificate of accomplishment, and Puckett wrote a personal letter to each one. One boy had perfect attendance, so he received a bicycle and a helmet.
Puckett said, “It was a great opportunity to encourage and get to know the students, helping them have fun learning and working cooperatively.”
The after-school reading program is for Wilmington City Schools students in grades K through 5. All told, there are 62 to 67 at-risk children served each week. Hours are 4 to 5:30 p.m., with school bus drop-off and parental pick-up.
“The kids we’re working with are kids who the teachers send to us. They are falling behind a little bit,” said Harris.
The program doesn’t begin until the first term is finished and teachers know who they want to send to the program. This year, it will start on Monday, Oct. 15 and wrap up May 2, 2019.
Math recently was added for grades 3 through 5, though the program remains reading-focused. Tutor Penny Kincaid is great on math, Harris said.
The tutors come from the Wilmington College student body as well as the community.
“We can always use more tutors,” Harris said.
Ideally, there is one reading tutor per child, she added. Tutors get to know the child, what they like, and what kind of book they like.
Students learn key words, read books and do a little writing, too.
“It might sound simple, but it helps so much for these kids,” she said.
When a child is in a one-on-one reading situation, or a two-on-one situation for that matter, that fact alone can serve to help the learning process, said Harris.
Hot Hoops program
Harvest of Gold administers Hot Hoops, which has been around longer than has the after-school tutoring program. Harris said Hot Hoops does not meet as often as it used to because of not having a place to go since the YMCA closed.
But she is excited about a new offering with Hot Hoops, and is hopeful about the possibility of a new place to play basketball.
In October, they will start classes on African-American history for the Hot Hoopers.
“We feel like the kids really need to know where they come from, who they are, all that. So we want to get that started,” said Harris, who is 75 but has youthful enthusiasm to spare.
As for the possibility of a new place for Hot Hoopers to run up and down a basketball court, Harris has her fingers crossed that a proposed Recreation and Wellness Center will get built in Wilmington.
“Hopefully it will come to fruition, then they will have a place to go,” she said.
Hot Hoops is for grades 3 through 12, and gets many of its participants through word of mouth, “friend to friend,” she said.
It started after the KKK staged a rally in Wilmington in the 1990s.
Bikes are given at home basketball games to grades K through 5 students in Wilmington schools.
The bicycle is awarded for outstanding improvement of these elementary students chosen by the principal or a teacher.
Harvest of Gold is a 501 c (3) not-for-profit. Your financial donations and donations of time are encouraged and welcome.
The mailing address is Harvest of Gold Inc., P.O. Box 1061, Wilmington, OH 45177. The office phone number is 937-382-8669.