Boys & Girls Clubs across the country offer a supervised place for kids after school or in the summer. The group is trying to send a message to parents with a new campaign.
On any given day this summer, you can find about 250 kids at the Aberdeen Boys & Girls Club. That's 25 percent more than last year. Executive director Michael Herman is thankful.
"It's making sure the kids have a safe and enriching environment to operate in instead of going home after school and being alone for several hours or spending most of the summer alone when the parents are working," Herman said.
With a new campaign, the non-profit is trying to attract more kids who'd otherwise be unsupervised. Other Boys & Girls Clubs in the state are participating in this campaign and others around the country, too.
According to the non-profit, 15 million kids leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk. Its new campaign is called Great Futures and the Boys & Girls Club says those can be encouraged when kids are in a supervised, constructive environment.
The kids participate in numerous activities at the Aberdeen location.
"Playing with other children," 7th grader Rabecca Severson said.
"I like to play dodge ball in the gym," 7th grader Logan Nagel said.
"I like to go outside and I would probably be sitting at home watching T.V.," Jayda Hammer said about how she would spend her summer if she wasn’t at the Boys & Girls Club.
Herman says he wants to make sure there always is a supervised option for parents to choose. Meals are extra, but a membership at the Aberdeen club is $20 a year. It's also open long hours.
"We provide a means for everybody in the community so that nobody has an excuse for their kids to be at home alone," Herman said.
With already growing enrollment at the club, Herman wouldn't mind seeing that number increase further.
Aberdeen's club is pretty full but it's building new. That will increase capacity, allowing 350 kids to attend at a time. It has $2 million raised in a $5 million capital campaign and hopes to start construction next year.
The national Great Futures Campaign launches Thursday.