the Somerset Valley YMCA, kids in afterschool and camp do a whole lot
more than monkey around. They also learn about the importance
of caring, respect, honesty and responsibility, and they do it while
having fun and making great friends. Jessica Brock understands exactly
that. After being out at sea as the children's activities director for
the Royal Caribbean cruise line, she's planting
her feet back on land as the new Camp and Afterschool Director for the
Somerset Valley YMCA, Somerville Branch.
The past five years brought Jessica on voyages all over the world while doing the thing she loves most: Working with children. Jessica spent every day aboard ship doing arts and crafts, games and skits with kids. She especially loved designing activity themes based on the ship's destination. From pirate themes to "under the sea," the children learned many things in Jessica's imaginative programs.
Jessica had the adventure of a lifetime working for Royal Caribbean, but being out at sea made her miss home. Now that Jessica's back on land, she's picking up where she left off: At camp! Prior to her time on the Royal Caribbean, Jessica spent four years as a camp counselor at Twin Pines in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania where she loved getting to know the kids through story time at the end of each day. Jessica explains,"Many of the children went from being really shy to really outgoing over the course of camp. Story time was where you saw how much camp changed the kids and how much they grew."
Jessica is a pro when it comes to keeping kids engaged and inventing games on the fly. Her suggestion to parents looking to help their kids burn off some extra energy this winter is to do an instant scavenger hunt. This game can be played individually or in groups. Simply look around the room, and create a quick list of things for the kids to find or activities for them to perform. It can be anything from "Find a pair of black socks" to "Make a human pyramid" or "Find something with your name on it." This go-to game allows for lots of creativity, is sure to get a ton of laughs and needs little prep.
Wondering about all of the exciting new things Jessica has planned for our afterschool and camp programs? Then stop by our Somerville branch between 5-7 pm on February 13th to meet her. Don't forget to sign up for summer camp as we have a feeling that this year is going to be the best one yet!