We’re compiling a year-long series here on the ClubX Blog highlighting fun holidays and historical events to use as programming idea sparks. To learn more about how I used them when I was a frontline Club staff, check out the first post in the series here, along with ideas for January and February, and find ideas for March, April, and May here. Today, we are diving into the summer months of June, July, and August!
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month: If Healthy Habits isn’t already in your program calendar, this would be a great reason to start! Also consider planning some fun one-off activities that get youth in the kitchen and preparing fresh salads, both fruit and veggie based, or go wild and combine them!
American Rivers Month: Summer is a great time for field trips. If your Club is able, consider a trip to a local park that has a river, and see if any park guides can give your youth a tour. A great MyFuture activity that would work here as well is Plan a Park, and you can give youth the guidance that the park they plan should include a river.
Pick Up Some Litter Day (first day of summer): Need a service project for your Keystone or Torch Clubs? Plan a clean-up project, being sure to have supplies like wagons for carrying full bags and sturdy gloves. Have youth research first what can be recycled in your community.
June 1 First Superman Comic Book Released (1938): Happy birthday Superman! Have a superhero day, with youth and staff dressing in costumes. Have youth create superheroes and create their own comic strip on MyFuture, and be sure to run the brand new Summer Brain Gain Superheroes module with all ages!
June 6 National Yo-Yo Day: The yo-yo has been around for centuries- since the days of Ancient Greece and Ancient China! Attempting to learn yo-yo tricks would make for a fun gamesroom activity. You can find lots of video tutorials on Youtube.
June 14 Flag Day: This holiday commemorates when the US adopted our official flag in 1777 in a resolution from the Second Continental Congress. It’s a great day to learn the history of the Stars and Stripes, but also to think about what flags represent. In this MyFuture activity from BGCA’s Native Services, youth can learn about the symbols on tribal flags and their meanings, then create their own.
June 19 Juneteenth: Your BGCA National Office now celebrates Juneteenth, the anniversary of June 19, 1865 when the last group of enslaved Texans learned that they were free – two months after the end of the Civil War and a whole TWO AND A HALF YEARS after the Emancipation Proclamation, as an official holiday. We’ll be publishing a blog with more ideas in a couple of weeks, but to get you started here’s last year’s post.
June 22 Invention of the Donut (1847): According to legend, Captain Hanson Gregory invented what we now know as the classic donut, aka round with a hole in the middle, because the middles of of their fried cakes never seemed to be cooked. While his story may be dubious, its a great excuse to have a donut party at the Club.
Fireworks Month: The obvious tie for this is July 4, but a fun literacy/arts activity is a painted poem, where the words and lines are placed on the paper in a way that creates a visual image of the poem’s topic. As a whole group or in small groups, youth can brainstorm a list of words and phrases that describe the colors, sounds, feelings, smells, and thoughts connected to watching a fireworks display, then individually create painted poems. Here are a couple of samples:
Space Week (third week of July): This week commemorates Apollo 11 landing on the moon in 1969. We LOVE space, so here are 3 posts with great themed activity ideas. You can turn it into Space Month with all this fun!
National Ice-Cream Day (3rd Sunday): While this is a SUNDAE celebration (yes that is a PUN), you should celebrate this day by making ice cream in a bag! I had a blast doing this activity while on a Club Teen Center visit a few years ago. Find directions in this post along with other cool ideas.
July 11 Cheer Up the Lonely Day: Here’s another great service project idea for all ages. Consider writing letters, video calling, or visiting (depending on COVID restrictions in your area) nursing homes, children’s hospitals, or anywhere else in your community where people could use some cheering up. After a year of quarantine, we all know how devastating loneliness can be, so have youth brainstorm ideas for how they can help.
July 12 Paper Bag Day: Paper bags make for a fun craft supply. Have youth create puppets in Art, then in Education get in groups of 2 or 3 and write a skit with their puppets! This list shows how to make a bunch of different puppets, or you can let youth freestyle.
July 20 Chess Day: You probably have a bunch of chess sets in the gamesroom, so this is the perfect day to teach youth how to actually play! If you don’t have enough for everyone, there are several online sites you can use, like Chess.com.
July 28 First Fingerprints Taken (1858): While fingerprints were used for identification in some places long before this, the first modern, official use of fingerprinting was used by a British colonial magistrate in India. The better news is that we have fingerprinting activities from Summer Brain Gain for both older and younger youth! They are part of units on Forensics, and while the entire units are perfect for your summer programming, you can check out the two activities, one for Early Elementary and the other for Middle and High School youth here. For the whole Forensics units as well as all of our Summer Brain Gain program materials, visit BGCA.net.
National Parks Month: This month is a perfect chance to visit National Parks if there is one in your area or to kick off Ultimate Journey, the BGCA STEM program written in partnership with the National Park Service! You can download the traditional program on BGCA.net, but did you know that Ultimate Journey is now on MyFuture? There are SIX Ultimate Journey badges for youth to explore!
American Dance Week (third week of August): Switch up that Gym programming by adding in some DANCE! See if a local dance teacher is willing to volunteer to come lead a few sessions, or if your Gym Director doesn’t know how to dance crank up the ol’ YouTube tutorial. Some dances that have either originated or made popular here in the US include hip hop, swing, tap, and square dance.
August 6 Root Beer Float Day: Throw a root beer float party! No big activity idea, just enjoy these frosty treats as some unexpected fun. 🙂
August 14 Congress Created the Oregon Territory (1858): What better way to celebrate the Oregon Territory’s birthday than to play the best video game of all time, Oregon Trail! Youth can play the throwback 1990s version online, learning both the pain of 90s gaming graphics as well as dying of dysentery.
August 20 Summer Cool-off Day: Either choose some of the activities you didn’t get to in the Cool Activities blog post from earlier or have a water balloon day! This would make for a fun end of summer bash as well. At my old Club, the local fire station would bring the fire truck and let youth play in the water!
August 31 Thomas Edison Patented the Kinetoscope (1891): A kinetoscope is a machine for producing animated pictures with film carrying several views of a scene. It was the first example of moving pictures. You can learn more about the invention and see examples of the first films in the film clip below. Youth can simply mimic the way the kinetoscope worked by creating flip books.
In this basic template, the small boxed bit on the side is where the staple goes.