Contributed by Beth Chambers, Director of Encore Afterschool
Encore, the afterschool and summer program with nine sites across the North Country Supervisory Union, has an “All Hands On Deck!” mantra right now that is fully inclusive of afterschool and summer program staff. We have had afterschool staff who worked in the NCSU Childcare for Essential Persons over the past few months, and we also had site coordinators helping with meal delivery in their schools.
One exciting Encore has been working on is Enrichment Packs for all K-4 students in NCSU (over 900 students). Each of the sites developed 2-5 age-appropriate virtual “clubs” in May. Once instructors were chosen, Encore teams purchased all the supplies necessary for children to partake in the clubs, bagged them in reusable totes, and delivered them to homes. In some cases that meant 180 bags at once, often in collaboration with meal delivery programs and incredibly supportive schools. The instructors then made lessons to go with the materials that could be accessed through the NCSU Encore YouTube channel, or with paper directions for those without internet.
Clubs included: Nature Art, Weather Club, Mindfulness, Crazy 8’s Math, STEM Challenge, Origami, Insect Club, Sink or Float, Drawing, Birdwatching, Pirate/Treasure Hunting, Scavenger Hunts, Things That Fly, Crafts, Watercolor, and Messy Play. Supplies included wide ranges of items like markers, glue, craft supplies, bug barns, binoculars, dice, watercolor paints, and much more to excite the imagination and challenge creativity. Each child received supplies to support two clubs, but can access the videos from all schools with supplies they have at home.
It was no easy feat, but Encore staff are incredibly dedicated to their afterschool families, and wanted them to know they are missed.