York County Libraries helps kids dream big this summer

Shawn Bissett of Springettsbury Township shows off his painted face after a session with Skeeta the Clown last summer at Martin Library. (Submitted photo)

By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves

Eight-year-old Shawn Bissett of Springettsbury Township says it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt.

His advice for success? “Follow the directions, find the clues and you will get there.”

Last summer, one of his favorite parts of the York County Libraries Summer Reading Club/Get Outdoors (GO) York physical activity program was finding the “rubbings” he needed to record in his program guide. The other was having his face painted to look like a pig as he became a character in one of Skeeta the Clown’s “Faces of the World” stories at Martin Library.

Children up to age 18 learned all about the world in 2011.

This year’s theme — “Dream Big, Read! GO and Search the Galaxy!” — will introduce them to everything night, from stars to nocturnal animals to nighttime stories. Kids’ summers can be packed with free activities that promote mental and physical health, as well as family connectivity.

The GO York Task Force hides a total of 30 wooden posts in area parks and along trails in York County, said Kevin Alvarnaz, director of community health improvement for Wellspan Health. Participants follow clues to the posts and, upon discovery, use crayon or pencil to “rub” the picture on the observation post onto the corresponding page in the “Star Guides” they receive when they register.

“Get Outdoors has been a fantastic opportunity to meet up with friends for a play date,” said Trish Bissett, Shawn’s mother. “We have gone to parks we otherwise would have never discovered, and had fun taking cousins and grandparents along. It has been an event for all the people in his life, and he has loved it. As we hike, Shawn collects rocks, leaves and other things, too.”

The GO York program and the Summer Reading Club complement each other by introducing kids to information through books, programs and discovery.

“Our summer program is unique, because kids can participate at their own speed,” explained Paula Gilbert, director of children and youth services for York County Libraries. “Our reading program offers a restaurant menu type of things to do.”

Kids and parents can choose which age-appropriate programs — such as story times, crafts, magicians, puppet shows and visits from storybook characters — that they want to attend at their library. These fun, educational programs introduce kids to new concepts and experiences.

Trish has been bringing Shawn to Martin Library since he was a baby.

“We have never been disappointed,” she said. “We always have fun. They sneak in the learning.”

Deborah Sullivan is community relations director for the York County Library System.


About the program

The York County Libraries Summer Reading Club & Get Outdoors (GO) York physical activity program “Dream Big, Read! – GO and Search the Galaxy!” runs June 1 through Aug. 19. The program is free for kids and teens up to 18 years old.

Registration begins June 1 at all 13 York County library locations and online at www.yorklibraries.org.

Upon registration, participants receive a “Star Guide,” which reviews the entire program. Participants then have all summer to read for prizes, attend free programs and hike to find observation posts. The last day to record reading minutes and post rubbings is Aug. 19.

These programs and more are made possible thanks to the support of sponsors The York Water Company and Highmark. For details, visit www.yorklibraries.org and www.goyork.org.

If you go
What:
Summer Reading Club & GO York kickoff
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 2
Where: Sovereign Bank Stadium in York
Featuring: Magician Dave Rojahn, face painting by Skeeta the Clown and local band The Black Jacks

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