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Experience Summer at Boys Town

​​​​In many ways, summer at Boys Town is similar to summer anywhere else. Kids and families go on outings and picnics, play sports and attend camps, and do just about any other warm-weather activity you can imagine. At Boys Town, though, the families include up to eight kids from all over the country. So, if you think summer is crazy at your house, just imagine planning activities and outings for a group of up to eight teens.

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    Nick: The summer at Boys Town is probably one of the busiest times of the year. There's a lot of different activities going on. Some of our girls have conditioning in the morning to get ready for sports in the fall, and so some of them are up at 5:30 in the morning for that, and then they usually have summer school starting at 8:45 which goes until noon, and then they're home for about 45 minutes and then it's off to summer work.

    Rachel: Summer is fun because they work during summertime and then they have shopping money at the end of summer, and so we do a big shopping trip at the end of summer. A lot of the sporting events, we do during the summertime. There's softball going on. There's swimming going on.

    Nick: Just to give Boys Town kids an opportunity to go down for a summer vacation, Boys Town has its own little private beach there that's only for Boys Town use. We have boats that are only for Boys Town use that people have either donated or Boys Town has purchased for the kids to give them an opportunity to have a vacation, because for a lot of them it's the only chance they're going to have to do something like that.

    One of the things they do for summer work, they have, I think it's basically four main jobs. There's the Horticulture Department, which is mainly pulling weeds, planting flowers. Then there's the farm where they kind of help out with the animals around campus. Then there's Power Crew, which, they do kind of the mowing and weed whacking around campus. And then there's the Fire Crew, which, they just help up at the fire station.

    Rachel: Summer work is really important because it teaches work ethic. A lot of our kids have never had or held jobs before, and so we get the opportunity to teach them, you know, how to be a good employee and how to accept feedback at work.

    Nick: It kinda teaches them how to manage their own money, too. They are usually only allowed to spend 20% of what they make in summer work so that they still have some money when they leave, because a lot of them, if they are graduating from here are going to be going off to college or joining the workforce, so it's nice to have a little bit of money to fall back onto.

    They all go to summer school. They have some classes that are kind of specially set up for what their academic needs are. So some of the kids that come in are behind on their credits, so summer school gives them an opportunity to catch up.

    Rachel: So they do a great job of meeting them where they're at and then pushing them forward academically, so it's a really big blessing.

    I think summer is really important to some of these kids because, a lot of times, in the neighborhoods that they're from, it's pretty rough during the summertime and there's a lot of gang activity during the summertime. And so, just to be in a safe environment, being able to have fun, being able to be teenagers, that's something they'll, you know, always remember.

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