A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.
"I'm bored!" is probably the most common phrase uttered by children out of school for the summer. Even inundated with an abundance of toys, games, and technology, kids still want more. Instead of getting them yet another magical centaur, parents can keep their offspring occupied with one of Arizona Summer Camps's diversions. The camp teams up with a variety of local businesses to present a diverse array of summer camps to engage the minds and bodies of youths. The quality of instruction is top-notch, and the student-to-teacher ratios are kept low.
Kids can expand their horizons with science-driven experimentation in fields such as robotics or computer gaming, or break a sweat and a few boards in one of several martial-arts camps. Gymnastics camps bolster coordination and strength in wee ones.
Part of Southern California-based Boat Rentals of America, Tempe Town Lake Boat Rentals' fleet spans motor-, pedal-, and paddle-powered watercrafts. At its headquarters near Tempe Beach Park, boating enthusiasts outfit guests with vessels such as pontoons, kayaks, pedal boats, hydrobikes, and standup paddleboards. Tempe Town also sell fishing gear. For frequent water recreationalists, Tempe Town's team members organize the gold club, which gives clients access to boats without the hassle of feeding and grooming them each day.
Established in 2001, Arizona World of Baseball has been helping baseball players, softball aficionados, and lumberjacks develop fluid techniques that pack more pop than a case of Coke, depending on location. AWB’s baseball lessons are designed for budding baseballers between the ages of five and 18 and offer an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of hitting fastballs, throwing changeups, or corralling swarms of wasps in one's mitt. Each lesson takes place inside a 20,000-square-foot facility and focuses on developing the proper balance, mental approach, hand path, vision, and sunflower-seed snacking while also providing drills that can be practiced at home.
Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. A dozen trivia-based clues lead contestants to checkpoints all over Phoenix, where they must use a camera to document their presence and, in some cases, complete challenges, such as scaling a wall or solving a puzzle. In addition to running and walking, contestants may use public transportation to move from checkpoint to checkpoint, though taxis, cars, and bikes are off-limits. Races generally last less than four hours, and the winning team receives free entry to the Super Dare, a cruise-based take on the Urban Dare concept that features a $5,000 grand prize. Proceeds from the race will be used to help battle breast cancer.