Berlin, WYFCS Look To Add After-School Program

BERLIN — Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS) delivered a summary of the results of this year’s first-ever town summer camp to the Berlin Mayor and Council Monday, while also outlining plans for extending the program through the school year.

“We are looking forward to starting some after school activities,” WYFCS Executive Director Teresa Fields told the council.

The WYFCS Berlin summer camp, which went through a test run this year, wrapped up last month with a barbeque and free school supply giveaway to any of the 38 campers who were interested. Though it was only a pilot program this summer, Fields remarked that it was an overwhelming success.

“It definitely exceeded expectations,” agreed Mayor Gee Williams.

The camp included things like field trips, arts and crafts, personal reflection, nutrition and exercise.

“By far, the most popular things we did with the kids this summer were the field trips,” reported Stefanie Gordy, WYFCS Director of Development and Donor Relations.

Since its inception in June, Gordy has been acting as the official head of the camp, and took the opportunity Monday to showcase everything the campers did this summer for the council with a slideshow presentation.

“We took a trip around the town of Berlin,” said Gordy, who then displayed pictures of campers at familiar town landmarks, including sitting in the same seats the council members regularly occupy.

Gordy was quick to praise the town and local business community, whom she says were incredibly cooperative and charitable when working with the summer camp. Campers received everything from free lunch to free rounds of miniature golf, according to Gordy. Fields remarked that partnerships between WYFCS and private and public agencies are something that will carry over into the after-school portion of the camp.

“We will continue to work with the partnerships we’ve already established,” she said, adding that WYFCS will also be on the lookout for new partners.

After watching the presentation on the summer camp results, Williams was optimistic about the future of the collaboration between the town and WYFCS.

“I think you’ve laid a very sound foundation for after school programs,” he told Fields and Gordy.

While the after-school activities will be similar to what the agency has already done with the summer camp, Fields explained that the schedules aren’t in place just yet, as further tweaking is needed to determine exactly what to offer participants.

“We’re also looking to structure the program properly,” said Fields.

Still, she expects WYFCS after-school activities to be available soon. They will likely run Monday through Thursday, with special outings and trips some weekends. If the activities are as successful as the camp, said Williams, then Berlin will be getting plenty of bang for its buck in working with WYFCS.

“I think you’re doing a lot on a very modest budget,” he said.