Summer program makes a splash among local youths
NEW BEDFORD — A group of local youths enjoyed a lesson in snorkeling in Clarks Cove Wednesday, part of an educational summer program.
The summertime fun was organized by Trips for Kids New Bedford, an affiliate of an international group that offers biking trips and other activities for at-risk youths aged 10-16.
"The kids have a safe, enriching experience," said JoAnn Tschaen, executive director of the local chapter.
The 8-year-old New Bedford chapter runs seven week-long sessions in the summer, attended by 12 children, some of whom participate in more than one session. The children, most of whom are from the city, get to enjoy bike rides in the area and other outdoor activities.
On Wednesday, they started their day at their base, Victory Park Warming House, and they rode along the bike path. They traveled to Hazelwood Park, where half played tennis and the other half played basketball. From there, they went to their snorkeling lesson.
Six instructors ran the day's activities — the program aims to maintain a 1-to-2 ratio between instructors and children. The instructors try to provide the children with a sense of adventure and exploration. Besides organizing safe fun, the program also encourages physical activity, teaches nutrition, and promotes environmental awareness, Tschaen said.
"We want the kids to be in our presence so we have a myriad of opportunities to influence them in a positive way," she said.
In addition to the summertime sessions, Trips for Kids New Bedford also offers after-school programs during the school year, she said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can visit the local organization's website at www.tfknewbedford.org.