For this week’s episode of Community Conversations, host ST Billingsley chatted with Nadia Pederson, Branch Manager for the Manassas Boys & Girls Club.
Q: So, you have a very large club in Manassas. What kind of programs do you have?
A: Well we have many programs. Our age is from 5 to 14 year olds, so we have homework, which is our power hour. That’s one of our biggest programs right now. We see about 30 to 40 kids daily, which you know, all kids need a lot of help. So that programs–Schools are cutting their recess times down, so this allows a lot of kids to get their wiggles out after school, so when they are actually in the program areas, they can be little more focused.
Q: So you also have a lot of sports programs. What kind of sports programs do you offer at the club?
A: Well currently we’re doing basketball, volleyball, flag football–trying not to leave anything out. Our registration has started for this season, although we are taking registration for our summer season. We do have four times during the year so you can always go to our website, to get more information about registration.
Q: So you have outdoor sports activities at your club?
A: More so the flag football is outdoor. Currently we’re not doing soccer outdoor. You know, with this weather right now, that’s probably a good thing but the rest of the programs we are running inside.
Q: Now, for the programs for after school, what kind of after school programs do you have for the Prince William kids?
A: Okay, so, besides the homework help, we generally try to rotate our programs. We ask for community support in terms of–it could be from anywhere to gardening which ties into our healthy lifestyles. It could be–we have a role play drama so depending on what kind of season we’re going into. It could be anywhere from drama, it could be healthy lifestyles, healthy cooking. We also have a lot of teen programs, to get our teens ready for their future.
It could be job readiness, graduation. Graduation prep, and also what they’re going to do after they graduate, in terms of, you know how to apply for financial loan, or to go through that process. They also take college tours, which are very helpful for teenagers whose parents have never been through college. So just to start that process with them, I think is something great that we’re doing at our club.
Q: Do you have a lot of STEAM programs? What kind of STEAM programs do you have?
A: Twice during the year we partner up with Lockheed Martin and VAE. They come in and run about an 8 week course for Lego robotics. Where the kids learn to–first they make their robots, which, you know, is the fun part, and then they learn to program them, and race them so that last portion of the Robot Wars is what they call it is really interesting the whole club gathers, and whose robot wins, it’s a big thing. We do that twice a year. We also have, once a year, our Tech Girls Rock program. You know we’re trying to get the females into the STEAM, and the STEM related programming, since it’s currently very male heavy, so to get our young girls interested in that.
For our 12 week program, we have 30 girls that we run, just STEAM related activities once a week, and that’s what they do, and they’re–at the culminating event it’s about a hundred girls. You know we open it up to many other clubs, or any other–anybody can come to that event. We have food, there’s STEAM activities, and last year we did binary bracelets. It was really fun. Just a celebratory time for young females to get interested and excited about being, or getting into the STEAM field. And also at the club you have a computer lab. So who gets to use that and when? Every kid gets to use that.
Unfortunately we don’t have enough for all the kids that come to the door, but we do have plenty. We try to each kid through that computer lab at least three times a week, depending on where you lie in their group. A lot of kids unfortunately still don’t have computers at home, so that’s a big deal for them to be able to learn how to navigate through the Internet, and get the information that they need.
Q: So you have some events coming up. What couple of events do you have coming up here in the near future?
A: So, the most exciting event that we have coming up right now is the Duck Race. It had to be explained to me what exactly a Duck Race was, but it’s going to be held August 20th at the Splash Down Waterpark. We are helping to sell at least three thousand ducks this year. It’s $5 per duck. All proceeds with go back to the Virginia Regional Boys and Girls Club. And what we do is dump all those ducks into the lazy river, have them go around about three times, and pluck out the first fifteen to twenty, which will be associated with the prizes that we have, that we are lining up right now. It’s a great cause, it’s a fun event it’s quick, and then at the end of the day you get to hang out at the water park. And who doesn’t want to do that at the end of August?
Q: And what’s one of the other events that you have coming up?
A: So our Color Vibe is actually two weeks right after that on October–no, not two weeks I’m sorry, a few weeks after that, it’s going to be on October 10th. And it’s going to be held at the Manassas Boys and Girls Club and our address is 9501 Dean Park Lane. So you can register off of our website, or the Color Vibe website. Last year we had about 8,000 people show up for event. This year we’re hoping for 10,000 to show to this event. Yes, it was a very big event.
Fun event, its family friendly. We had anywhere from kids in strollers, to people in wheelchairs running this event. It’s a great deal. You just get a cup of a little bit of, cornstarch on you, you know. We have this party. It’s a lot of fun. So, you know, looking forward to having a bigger crowd this year.
Check back for the next episode of Community Conversations for What’s Up Prince William.