BGCA’s Lesa Sexton has been busy in the secret high-tech lab developing the newest Summer Brain Gain modules that will make your summer soar, featuring superheroes! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s . . . new Summer Brain Gain modules! (And it’s also National Superhero Day-what a fantastic coincidence!)
This summer we’re piloting three new Summer Brain Gain Read modules all on the theme of Superheroes. And let me tell you, while doing our research we learned a lot about the DC and Marvel Universes. For example, did you know the character Access is owned by both comic book companies and can cross between the Marvel and DC universes? And many Marvel superheroes and villains are of Irish descent? And that the hyphen in Spider-Man was inserted to avoid confusion with Superman? (That one’s for you, grammar nerds.)
But beyond all the cool characters and their fun gadgets, the theme seemed particularly fitting for all that we’ve gone through over the last year. Living through a pandemic has been a reminder that we have real life superheroes living in our midst – doctors and nurses who put themselves at risk to care for COVID patients; teachers who navigated a new, virtual environment and worked tirelessly to give their students some sense of normalcy and connection; grocery store employees who kept the shelves stocked with food and basic necessities while restaurants were closed; firefighters, EMS, and other public safety employees who continued to keep us safe and protected; Club staff who led virtual programs, served meals to families, and figured out how to facilitate socially distanced activities- and of course, US Postal Service workers who delivered all of those packages we ordered! We may not have noticed it before, but superheroes truly are all around us.
And what’s more, we’ve discovered there’s a superhero inside each of us as well. We’re superheroes who have demonstrated that we have the power to use our voice to stand up for what’s right and advocate for change. We’re superheroes who have kept others safe by washing our hands and social distancing. We’re superheroes who have shown incredible perseverance in figuring out this virtual schooling thing. Why, we even wear masks just like the comic book superheroes!
With that said, we’d like to highlight a few activities from this years SBG modules and encourage you to celebrate superheroes of all kinds this summer. Boys & Girls Club staff can request the entire module document with staff instructions, etc. here, while everyone can be inspired by these featured components plus the ideas for extending every Summer Brain Gain module into other areas of the Club in this huge list!
Early Elementary (Ages 6-8)
In this module, youth read a variety of picture books about superheroes. They’ll also watch some of Marvel’s “Make Me a Hero” digital series which celebrates essential workers by turning them into comic book superheroes. The series features math teachers, postal workers, volunteer EMS workers, and nurses. Share one (or two!) short videos with your youth and then invite them to honor the superheroes in their community by creating thank you cards. If COVID restrictions allow, you could even hand-deliver the cards or invite individuals from the community to a special recognition event at your Club. Here’s one video example:
Upper Elementary (Ages 9–11)
In this module, youth read the book “Almost Super” by Marion Jensen about a bunch of ordinary kids that become extraordinary-but with a twist. (No spoilers here! You’ll just have to read it to find out!) One of the activities invites youth to think about what makes them a superhero. What superpowers do they have at school, at home, and with friends? Maybe they have the power to think creatively when solving a problem, the power to always suggest good movies for family movie night (I can tell you from experience that is a FEAT!), the power to cheer a friend up when they’re feeling down, or the power to sink a basket from anywhere on the court. Support them in recognizing the superhero within and then watch this video because 1) it’s Kid President and 2) it’s all true.
Middle and High School (Ages 12-18)
In this module, youth read the first volume about a new Marvel hero, Ms. Marvel (coming to theaters in late 2021). One of the quotes from the story is “Good is not a thing you are; it’s a thing you do.” Using this quote as inspiration, youth will work in groups to design a service project that does good in their community. Perhaps they decide to start an anti-bullying campaign, make welcome kits for new kids who join the Club, or start a social media account all about accepting yourself. Whatever it is, support your youth in becoming superheroes for positive change. Facilitators can refer to the Keystone Planner for additional guidance about the Passion + Problem = Project framework.
Boys & Girls Club staff can request your copy of the newest Summer Brain Gain Read Superhero modules here and everyone can grab those ideas for extension activities here. Additional resources such as webinars, supply lists, youth evaluations, tips for engaging teens, and virtual adaptations for Summer Brain Gain are all available on BGCA.net.