Spring Break at the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club draws a crowd

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 13:41
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann Members of the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club play football March 13, 2017. The clubhouse, one of four in the Municipality of Anchorage, is an after-school home base for approximately 80-100 kids from Eagle River, Chugiak and Peters Creek.
  • Star photo by Kirsten Swann Greenly Cavazos, 8, enjoys Spring Break at the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club on Monday, March 13, 2017. The clubhouse has approximately 80-100 young members from the Chugiak-Eagle River area.
  • Members of the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club play football March 13, 2017. The clubhouse, one of four in the Municipality of Anchorage, is an after-school home base for approximately 80-100 kids from Eagle River, Chugiak and Peters Creek. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Members of the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club play football March 13, 2017. The clubhouse, one of four in the Municipality of Anchorage, is an after-school home base for approximately 80-100 kids from Eagle River, Chugiak and Peters Creek. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Danielle Williams, 8, and Kaylee Longmore, 7, play at the Eagle River Boys & Girls Club, March 13, 2017. During Spring Break, club members took part in a variety of activities, from outdoor games to skating rink field trips. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)

On the sunny first Monday of Spring Break, a group of Chugiak-Eagle River elementary schoolers played touch football in the yard of the Eagle River Boys &Girls Club, shouting and shoving and lunging across the snow.

A few hours before, about 30 of them had taken a field trip to the nearby Garcia’s Cantina. Tuesday, they’d head to an Anchorage waterpark.

“We’ve got to keep them busy,” said Eagle River clubhouse manager Tracey Hupe. “If they have something to look forward to, that’s good.”

One of four Boys &Girls Clubs in the Municipality of Anchorage, the Old Glenn Highway clubhouse is a regular home base for 80-100 kids of all ages from Eagle River, Chugiak and Peters Creek. Some have grown up in the area; others come from military families on the move, Hupe said. While the young members attend various different local schools, they all play together at the Eagle River Boys &Girls Club.

Then there are the teen volunteers who collectively donate hundreds of hours to the local Boys &Girls Club.

“I enjoy it,” said Heaven Kerschner, a 15-year-old Chugiak High School student who’s volunteered nearly 300 hours.

Hupe said the teens help keep things running smoothly. The Boys &Girls Club program draws steady demand from local families. The clubhouse opens at 7 a.m., and when the clubhouse manager arrives 10 or 15 minutes beforehand, she said, parents are already waiting outside.

During spring break, the club’s young members rarely stop moving. This year, there are planned excursions to H2Oasis, a local bowling alley, the skating rink at the Harry J. MacDonald Memorial Center and the Imaginarium at the Anchorage Museum. In between, there are arts and crafts and games, from heated rounds of Uno to energetic team sports.

“That’s why I’ve worked here for 11 years,” Hupe said. “Every day has been an adventure.”

Contact Star reporter Kirsten Swann at [email protected]

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