Evan Hume (left), Jonas Binkley and Zack Phillips play a game of keep away with Summerside Boys and Girls Club employee Andrew Brawn.
SUMMERSIDE - It was hard to hear yourself thinking at Summerside Boys and Girls Club on Thursday.
Between the unveiling of new toys, an awards ceremony, and free juice, the 100 plus kids in attendance had lots to cheer about.
The club held its annual RBC after school year-end party, as a means of rewarding dedicated members and employees.
Top honours went to Daniel Banks and Chloe Woods who won Boy and Girl of the Year awards; they were both absent from the ceremony.
The award is handed out annually to a boy and girl who demonstrate positive attitude towards fellow club members and staff.
“He [Banks] is a kindhearted young man who always finds some way to show kindness to others,” said Matt Pauptit, program director of the Boys and Girls Club.
“Over the years she [Woods] has consistently demonstrated her ever growing leadership skills and positive attitude,” Pauptit said.
The club services over 3,000 youth with 20 programs offered throughout the year.
“We provide a safe, fun place to be,” said Pauptit. “Kids can come here after school and meet friends and don’t have to worry about bullying.”
Jonas Binkley has been going to the club since he can remember.
“I’ve been here since I was born,” said the seven-year-old. “I like being here to play with everyone and talk to the staff.”
Binkley is a second grade student at Greenfield Elementary and is happy to spend time at the club.
“If I didn’t come here I would probably be sitting at home playing video games. That’s not as fun.”
Andrew Brawn has got to know Binkley and others while working at the club the past three summers.
“It’s great here,” said Brawn. “It’s such a good organization that gives back to the community.”
At the banquet, three employees were awarded milestone awards for their longtime service.
Morgan Carlile (five-year award), Trena Rogers (10-year award), and Kenny Culleton (15-year award) were this year’s winners.
With over 40 years experience, Culleton knows a thing or two about the program.
“I started coming here in 1973 as a kid,” said Culleton. “I think being here at a young age made me want come back.”
Culleton works part-time at the club while teaching at Holland College during the school year.
“I do this job for the love of working with children,” he said. “I never expected to win an award and I certainly wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for the great people here.”
Established over 50 years ago in Summerside, the club prides itself on giving youth a reason to smile. Pauptit claims the club does exactly that.
“We want them to learn positive things as they grow. They get a sense of belonging here.”