Member Spotlight: Tamia
Tamia is 13 years old and currently in the 7th grade.
Yay! The school year is finally almost over. However, that doesn't mean that your child has to stop reading because they're on summer break. Reading is fun. Summer reading programs are a great way to encourage your child to read over the summer. So why not give them a little incentive to really get into summer reading? Check out some of the free incentives below that are available to you and your child.
Also, be sure to visit your local library to see what programs they have available for youth this summer!
Member Spotlight: Miya
Miya became a member three years ago. She is currently in the 8th grade and 13 years old.
Why she became a member:
"I joined because I wanted to attend a summer camp and my dad enrolled me into the Club."
"I started dancing at the age of 3 and it allows me to let out my emotions. I'm currently both the praise dance and step team at my Club."
"It's a subject that's always come easy to me."
7 sisters and 2 brothers. She is the youngest out of all of her siblings.
Teen Room, because that is where the pool table is and she really enjoys playing pool.
Favorite thing about BGC:
"My favorite thing is about being a member is that I'm able to hang out with people my age in a fun and safe environment."
Plans to go to college to become a lawyer.
" I want to help people get out of trouble, especially those who are innocent."
Wait....this is all too familiar! Do you ever find yourself reading a book and realizing that a character in the book reminds you of yourself? Has a detail in a book remind you of a memory that happened in your own life? This month, all of our reviewers mentioned that either they were able to relate to a character in the book, or that the book itself was very realistic and similar to their own life.
Young Readers Recommendation
Meet your reviewer, Kamirra
Kamirra is in the 2nd grade. She is a member of the Tyler Avenue Club. She enjoys writing short stories and poems. Kamirra read this book in class along with her classmates.
Book: The Cat in the Hat
Author: Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)
Genre: Children's Literature; Picture Book
Summary: Sally and her older brother are home alone after their mother leaves them for awhile. The children are bored because it's raining out, and they end up doing nothing but sit and stare out the window. The Cat in the Hat arrives, performing tricks to entertain the kids and persuade them to have fun.
Likes: They had fun inside on a rainy day and didn't let the rain stop them. The story is funny, but some of the tricks were a little scary. I also liked that it rhymed!
Dislikes: Nothing. I really liked the whole book.
Rate:10/10. It's a really really really really good book!
Would you recommend it? Yes!
Independent Readers Recommendation
Meet your reviewer, Ayana!
Ayana is in the 7th grade. She is a member of the Aqueduct Club. She enjoys dancing and playing computer games. She chose this book from the list of books that her teacher suggested to her class to read.
Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School
Author: Jeff Kinney
Summary: In the 10th book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, Greg Heffley is forced to adjust to some old-fashioned challenges when his town decides to cut off from all electronics. Through this journey, he finds out that he isn't meant to live in an old-fashioned world.
Rate: 10/10. I usually do not like books from this particular series, but this book was really good!
Likes: Being able to relate to Greg in this particular book. Greg's grandfather moved into their home. My grandparents lived with me before, so I know what it's like living in a house with your grandparents.
Dislikes: When Greg's classmates let him go into the woods by himself to find more firewood, because something bad could've happened to him.
Would you recommend it? Yes, especially to anyone who likes books with a camping theme. However, I definitely would not recommend it to an adult.
Young Adult and Teen Readers Recommendation
Meet your reviewer, Mesi!
Mesi attends the Peninsula Unit and is in the 11th grade. In his spare time, he enjoys meeting new people, writing poetry, singing and recording music. Mesi was
assigned to read this book for his English class.
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Genre: Mystery; Crime; Realistic Fiction
Summary: Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in a juvenile detention center and on trial after he is accused as acting as a lookout for the young men who actually commit a robbery at a Harlem drugstore and kill the store owner.The story is written mostly from his own viewpoint in the form of a screenplay and journal entries he writes, as he faces the trial and possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.
Likes: The setting of the book and the details that the author provided to the reader throughout the story. This book is filled with tons of plot twists and it kept me on my toes! It's also very relatable. The author uses a variety of themes throughout the book, including peer pressure and identity as a male.
Dislikes: The amount of pages. I'm not very patient when it comes to reading. In order for me to read an entire book, it has to be really good. In spite of me not being fond of the amount of pages, it was definitely worth the read and the patience required to read the entire book!
Rate: 8/10. It starts off slow in the beginning of the book, then it picks up. It's like the book starts off with the author telling the middle of the story, and the author takes his time telling the story.
Would you recommend it? Yes, because it's very engaging and realistic, especially with teens in today's society. The author focuses on how one decision can change your whole life, and how being in the wrong place at the wrong time can impact your life suddenly.
Member Spotlight: Tyler
Staff Spotlight: Harold "Hal" Smith
Smith has been connected to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula for more than a decade, first serving as a Corporate Board member. Additionally, he served for nearly two years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, Smith implemented the “EatSMART” program, a grant with the USDA that provides over 1,000 meals and snacks to Club members every day at no cost to the members. He has also developed partnerships around TowneBank Athletic Park; instituted staff performance evaluations; managed an operations team of three service directors, ten unit directors, and nearly 100 part-time staff; served as a Task Force member on the Newport News Mayor’s Initiative to End Bullying; and served as a Board Member for the Denbigh Youth Alliance. Smith resumed the role of President & CEO beginning April 15 after being unanimously voted into the position by the Corporate Board of Directors on March 17.
What is one of your favorite memories growing up?
“I grew up in York County, VA with my brother and parents. I always liked going to the beach, whether it was here or on the Eastern Shore. My grandparents lived on the Eastern Shore, so I have lots of good memories. I guess that’s why I live where I live now on the water in Hampton!”
Where did you go to college?
“I went to George Mason University, and my degree is a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. Going to school up there I considered going into government or public service. I was enrolled in ODU’s MBA program for about a year and half, but then life just got too busy.”
What do you mean by too busy?
“Well, my career was really taking off. I worked with my dad and brother in our construction business for about 15 years. In fact, we did some projects for some of our Board of Directors, and even Steve.”
How did you meet them?
“I actually joined the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula in 2002. My brother, Les, was a member of the Denbigh Kiwanis Club, and Steve gave a talk at one of their morning breakfasts. Les was so impressed that he said to me, ‘Hey, we need to start supporting these guys.’ So, we met with Steve to see how we could help, and then we established a scholarship fund. Eventually we were invited to join the board.”
When did you start working with Boys & Girls Clubs?
“In March 2010 after we closed our business from the state of the economy, I was hired as Director of Finance for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia located on the southside. Steve actually helped by providing the connection.”
So, how did you end up with the Virginia Peninsula organization?
“Funny - I actually called as a reference for one of my co-workers from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia who was applying to a position with the Virginia Peninsula organization. Steve asked to have lunch and catch up, and when we did, he ended up showing me the new organization chart and the job description for COO. I applied shortly after.”
What’s your favorite program run by the Clubs?
“Well, all of our programs are instrumental to our mission, but I really like Badges for Baseball. That’s something we didn’t do at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia. It not only teaches baseball, but also the aspect of developing relationships with law enforcement officials. It’s an important lesson to kids, especially with the issues going on today like in Ferguson. There’s a lot of merit and value there, plus, it ties in great with the youth development park!”
What are your goals as President & CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula?
"The main goal is to continue the great work that was established by our Board and Steve Kast, and to create an environment where we develop the future leaders of our community. We will continue this impact so that tomorrow’s leaders will be today’s Boys & Girls Club kids, and not only will they be leaders, but they’ll give back in their communities to pay it forward.”
On a more personal note, what do you do for fun?
“I’m still going to the beach regularly, playing golf (pretty poorly, actually), and paddle boarding. And in general, whatever my kids and wife want to do. I have two daughters, Sydney, 12, and Cameron, 8. They’re big into gymnastics; you know, it’s their ‘thing.’ Sydney surfs and also paddle boards. She’s actually better than me, but that might just be because she’s shorter.”
Do you have a quote that inspires you?
"Some people dream of success, while others work hard to achieve it,"
What's the best advice you ever received?
"Be yourself, and don't ever ask someone to do something that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself."
Last question - any interesting facts?
“I was born on a leap year. So I’ve technically only celebrated 11 birthdays."
Member Spotlight: Navaeh
"My Club gives me a place to have fun with my friends and play in fun activities!"
Reason for becoming a member: "I saw everyone having fun through my house window and I wanted to join the fun! So I asked my dad to sign me up."
Favorite hobbies: Anything involving the outdoors. "My favorite outside games are tag and four square."
Favorite subject: Science. "I like that you're able to learn new things and discover why they work."
Favorite room: Computer lab. "I get to play Roblox with my friends and it's a cool game that we can all play together."
Member Spotlight: Edward
"My Club is fun and exciting!"
Unit: Lassiter Courts
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite sport: Basketball “It’s fun and my favorite team is Miami Heat.”
Favorite thing: Playing four square. “I like I because I’m good and I know how to get people out.”
Favorite television show: Empire
Favorite video game: Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Pets? "Lady, she's a mixed breed dog that I've had for about four years now."
Hobbies: Listening to music and playing both football and basketball
Fun fact: He likes to dance with his friends during his free time
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A pilot. I want to travel and explore the world. Plus they make a lot of money.”
Favorite color: Blue
If you could go back in time, who would you meet? "George Washington, to discuss the tactics that he used when he fought in the war."
Boys & Girls Clubs