Community Outing Association After School at COA Youth and Family Centers

By Tom Schneider, Executive Director, COA Every day after school, the Community Outing Association (COA) provides neighborhood youth a safe, positive place to learn and have fun, and record numbers of kids are coming. COA offers a structured program that begins with homework. Study after study proves that kids attending after-school programs get better grades, are more likely to graduate, and are less likely to get into trouble. But COA programs are also fun – that’s one reason record numbers of kids are coming. While our computer learning center offers computer training and youth job skills, it also has fun computer games. And in March, National PowerUp is providing 10 brand new state-of-the-art computers. At the same time, Time-Warner is providing Roadrunner high-speed Internet service. Our arts programming has rapidly expanded to include “Art-After-School,” Latin and African Drumming, a choir, and soon, new photography and pottery classes for kids. Of course, the gym is always popular for basketball and a wide variety of other recreational activities. Other educational programs include sessions on health, drugs, alcohol, gangs, and regular programming together with the officers from the 5th District. And you just never know who’s going to drop in. This summer, Arista recording star Toya spent a couple of hours with kids at COA. This fall, members of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team dropped in. It’s also not unusual for sports stars to stop by, or for COA to arrange trips to Brewers, Bucks, or Wave games. Last, and always popular, are the field trips: swimming, canoeing, Six Flags, Noah’s Ark, Urban Ecology Center, sports events, rock climbing, etc. Our Winter Camp December 27-29 was a huge success, and it’s not too early to start thinking about summer camp. For 95 years, neighborhood kids have had a great time at COA’s Camp Helen Brachman, spending 12 days in central Wisconsin (also known as “up north”) swimming, boating, playing basketball and soccer, doing arts and crafts, and making life-long friends. If you want to enroll in our after-school program (membership cost is $5 per year), come on over to 909 E. Garfield Avenue and talk with Patience Wade, Youth Development Director, or call her at 263-8383 extension 138. If you’ve never been to COA and want to see it firsthand, give me a call at 263-8383 extension 103 and I’ll give you a personal tour. One final note: special thanks to the 250 youth and parents who came to our after-school Family Night on December 21. You are great.
by Tom Schneider, Executive Director, COA