Kids staying busy after school
BY Anna Erickson
Century Adventures, an after school program in Park Rapids, continues to grow.
“It’s probably doubled itself each year,” said Tanya Peterson, who organizes the program.
This year, an average of 60 kids in grades K-5 gather after school for a snack, play time and homework time. A total of 88 students are signed up for either half-time or full-time enrollment. There is a waiting list.
“It’s a way for kids to be among others their same age rather than going to a daycare with younger kids,” Peterson said.
While most students say their favorite part of Century Adventures is the play time, they also say they like working on homework.
High school peer mentors are on hand to help kids with their homework and supervise on the playground.
“It’s really nice to get them involved in this,” Peterson said.
Peer mentors first must volunteer for six hours. Then, if there is an opening and they are a good fit, they can get paid to help out.
“The younger students really like having them around,” Peterson said. “It’s different than having an adult. They can look up to them and have a role model.”
Emily Eystad is a peer mentor. She started working with the program last year and has enjoyed it. She wants to become a pediatrician someday and has always enjoyed working with kids, she said.
Century Adventures is available Monday through Friday after school. It is also available during the summer and some holidays such as Minnesota educator conference in October.
Fifth graders are encouraged to join 8th Hour for middle school students if they feel comfortable moving on. 8th Hour is another after school program at Century for 5th and 6th grade students Tuesday through Thursday. 8th Hour is capped at 45 students.
Targeted Services is also available after school for students who want or need extra help with school work.
Century principal Joleen DeLaHunt reported that 39 students are already enrolled in Targeted Services and that number will likely increase as the school year progresses.