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"Discover, Explore, Learn, and Give Back: Spring Break 2024 Edition” at BGCSDC

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In contrast to the typical images of leisurely days and gatherings with friends, Spring Break 2024 at BGCSDC offered an action-packed week filled with educational activities, interactive learning games, and community service initiatives.

Safety took center stage at several Clubs with special appearances by local police departments. Members engaged in the "High Five for Safety" initiative, tracing their hands and documenting vital essential safety lessons. They also learned about law enforcement careers, participated in Q&A, and witnessed a K-9 Unit demonstration.

A collaboration with the Department of Health put the spotlight on nutrition and the importance of healthy choices. Club members learned to make informed dietary choices through various MyPlate activities which included a scavenger hunt to explore the world of food groups to enhance understanding of how they contribute to overall health and well-being.

There was no shortage of activities offered throughout the week, from Pickleball Lessons and Community Service to “Mad-Science Monday,”"Team-Tastic Tuesdays," and “Wellness Wednesday.” One “Mad-Science Monday" project educated members on chemical reactions by experimenting with Elephant Toothpaste. Members had a blast mixing up the ingredients while practicing science safety with goggles, and watched in wonder as the mixture foamed out of the water bottle like a giant tube of toothpaste.

Club members also had a chance to showcase their creative sides with a Spring Break Art Show which featured new artistic mediums and celebrated artistic expression. From clay structures to cardboard boats, imaginations soared without limits.

Wrapping up the week, "Throwback Thursday" took members on a journey to craft their own galaxy, evoking 90s nostalgia. Then came "Quiet on Set Friday," where they dressed in their favorite pajamas for a cozy group movie session, enjoying some much-needed relaxation before school resumed on Monday.

As the younger group enjoyed themselves, the teen group embarked on a week of exploration and community service during the 10th annual Alternative Spring Break (ASB). Each year, The Club invites local high school students to sign up for this free opportunity to connect with meaningful causes while building their resumes, networking with diverse groups of professionals, and earning up to 30 community service hours.

This year, over 50 teens signed up to volunteer at nine local non-profit organizations and three community sites.  The week kicked off with a training session coupled with a special project and a junior Olympics activity.

From there, teens fanned out across the community to engage in various volunteer projects which included packing food supplies for distribution to families at All Faiths Food Bank, beautification projects at local parks with Sarasota County Parks & Recreation, joining seniors in preparing for St. Patrick’s Day by decorating the activity center at Senior Friendship Center, reading to children at Children First, collaborating with Harvest House on hunger relief, connecting with seniors at Pines of Sarasota, and immersing themselves in the world of rescue adoption and education at Cat Depot.

Those who dedicated their day to completing a land beautification project around the Bay Preserve with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast were rewarded for their efforts, ending their day with a well-deserved kayak adventure around the Bay.

The week culminated in an official ASB closing ceremony followed by opportunities to participate in DreamLarge weekends, a free weekend-long event where students work together, alongside the guidance of mentors, to ideate unique and creative solutions to real challenges local nonprofits are facing.

Overall, the 2024 BGCSDC Spring Break provided a week filled with opportunities for personal growth and exploration through engaging projects, educational outings, exciting games, and rewarding volunteer opportunities.

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