This summer, kids who participate in Before and After School Child Care On Location (BASCOL) in Liverpool will have the opportunity to take part in the ultimate summer experience, regardless of their needs or ability.
Thanks to the National Inclusion Project, which awarded BASCOL a $10,000 grant, the child care program will present “Let’s All Play: Inclusion in Recreational Programs” at Long Branch Elementary as well as St. Ann’s School in Syracuse.
“BASCOL is very excited for our students and staff to be the recipient of this grant,” said Candace B. Edwards BASCOL’s executive director. “This will allow children of all abilities in grades K-6 to attend the BASCOL program this summer for a fun and enriching experience.”
BASCOL serves the Central Square, Liverpool, Onondaga, Solvay, West Genesee and Westhill school districts. Kids are bused in by their districts.
Each of the 10 weeks has a theme. Kids will go on a “Reading Adventure” and “camp” with their favorite books. “Animal Safari and Survivor” weeks feature a polar plunge, deep sea adventures, rainforest romp and eat-your-own creepy crawlies as kids search for buried treasure. They’ll also attend field trips to Beaver Lake, the MOST, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Green Lakes State Park and more.
But Edwards expects the biggest draw to be “Lego Mania” week.
“‘All About Learning’ staff trained in ‘Lego Mania’ are flying in to instruct BASCOL kids how to make actual working structures with Legos,” she said. “They can come have fun building and modifying machines as they race their collision car down the track or lift debris with a working crane. Elementary and junior engineering concepts will be explored for fun.”
The best part is that the grant will allow BASCOL to ensure that kids of all abilities can participate in the activities.
“As part of this initiative, the National Inclusion Project provides a program model, training, expertise, and an award of $10,000,” Edwards said.
BASCOL learned about the grant through an e-mail that went out to all before- and after-school programs.
“The BASCOL administrative team got together, wrote the grant and submitted it,” Edwards said. “With expert training on a yearly basis, BASCOL will continue to implement the ‘Let’s All Play’ program annually.”
The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. They partner with communities and programs to teach others how to be inclusive so that kids with and without disabilities can experience life-long benefits. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and in the classroom, children of all abilities learn, play and serve together. To date, the project has partnered with over 200 programs nationally and has impacted over 50,000 children.
Edwards is excited to have BASCOL’s children feel that impact, as well, particularly because inclusion is such a huge part of what the center does.
“Inclusion is such an important part of the BASCOL mission because the focus of inclusion is not just on students with disabilities; inclusion is a focus on all students,” she said. “Every child, whether they have a disability or not, may require accommodations and/or modifications to be successful in a program. BASCOL strives towards developing inclusive programs for all children participating.”
For more information about the BASCOL program or to register for the Ultimate Summer Escape Program, contact the BASCOL administrative office at 622-4815 or visit bascol.org.
For more information regarding the National Inclusion Project, go to inclusionproject.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.