In the first year of a revised Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. calendar that involved a spring break longer than in past years, a number of local parents had understandable concerns about what their children would be able to do during the downtime.
Fortunately, several entities within the community were farsighted enough to plan special programs during the two-week break (actually shortened to eight weekdays because of makeup time needed for earlier school cancellations) that provided entertaining and, in a number of cases, educational programs.
The response to the special programs is an affirmation of a play on the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” — “stage it and they will come.”
Bartholomew County Public Library, for instance, scheduled 15 separate programs for the spring break period, ranging from a singalong evening (a half hour of songs and crafts) to a movie night (“Alice in Wonderland,” starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway). Within two weeks of the announcement of the programs, 12 of them were fully registered. Two of those 12 required creation of waiting lists.
Other organizations in the community also stepped to the plate with special programs.
The Purdue/Bartholomew County Extension Office scheduled a 4-H Fun Day camp for youths in grades 3 through 12, offering activities such as robotics, aerospace classes and lessons on subjects ranging from healthy lifestyles to building leadership skills.
Kidscommons devoted parts of its spring break programming to an exploration of art and science, from creating art with recycled materials to experimenting with robotics.
Those are only a sampling of the opportunities that were offered during this first long spring break. Foundation for Youth and the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department continued to be among the leaders for providing activities and programs for young people in off-school hours.
If anything, the response to some of these programs served as an object lesson to providers — the need for them to offer more.