Kickoff party opens summer season | News

“Came for the snow cones, stayed for the books” should have been the motto for the Wilkinson Public Library’s second annual Summer Kickoff Party Thursday afternoon. In addition to free snow cones, a summer reading station from the library was set up, and local organizations and businesses presented about their summer programs.

Erin Hollingsworth, the youth services manager, said the goal of the kickoff party was to get kids involved and strategically planned the event on the last day of the school year.

“They’re not in school, and we are providing them with something else to do. We are lucky to live in a community that provides and has so many awesome opportunities and organizations that provide so much for people. It’s nice to have an event to spread the word,” said Hollingsworth.

For the younger kids, the library’s summer reading program was setting sail. Kids were given a badge book to track their summer reading and could pick out a free book to get them started. As the kids progress throughout the summer, they can keep count of how much they’ve read through the stickers in the books. At the end of the summer, kids can bring their stickers to family movie night on Aug. 3, where they can collect prizes based on their stickers. Hollingworth aims to prevent the “summer slide.”

“Summer slide is a classic term used to describe reading loss over the summer when kids aren’t in school. They’re not learning every day. Especially over the past few years, reading levels have dropped as we’ve had a tumultuous two years. We try to make reading over the summer fun,” Hollingsworth said.

Six-year-old Jack Woody attended the event and picked out the book “Grumpycorn,” about a unicorn trying to write their own book but doesn’t know what to write. Jack picked it out because he found the illustrations on the funny cover.

“I love reading and looking at the pictures,” said Jack.

Jack’s 5-year-old brother, Dean, said he would come back to the library a lot this summer.

Organizations and businesses like the US Forest Service, Pinhead Institute, Ah Haa School, Telluride Academy, and the Drop Boardshop had stations Thursday afternoon. Activities were set up to engage the kids and get them interested in the programs. The Pinhead Institute had a dry ice experiment at their table, and the Ah Haa School gave out small, white resin figures kids could paint.

Craig Wasserman, the owner of the Drop, came to the kickoff to share information about his summer skate camp, Mon-Friday from 9 am to noon. He is excited about the new additions to the skate park in Town Park, which opened Friday.

“We’re really excited because the new adddition is perfectly set up for introduction and progression for new skateboarders,” added Wasserman.

Thursday morning, the teens had their official kickoff event. According to Rachael Lefebvre, service specialist at the library, around 35 teens attended. They played Jenga and trivia, and the top three finishers received gift cards to Clark’s Market.

Lefebvre is excited for the summer, especially the new LGTBQI book club. The club just started and will meet once a month. Members from the community who identify similarly to the book’s characters will come in and share their own stories each month. This also provides children with an opportunity to meet more people and adults outside of school.

Compared to kids programming, Lefebvre explained teens are a bit more “hands-off.”

“You can’t push them into things, is what I find. You need to read the room and see what they’re into,” Lefebvre said.

If you’re not a kid or a teen, there is still plenty of summer programming for the adults. The Reading Flash Mob, on Wed. Jun 1 in Elk’s Park from noon to 1 pm is the perfect spot to learn about upcoming summer events during your lunch break. Free books and cookies will be provided.

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