As summer kicks off amidst a pandemic, the St. Louis Arc staff and participants are finding new ways to stay connected and involved in the Arc’s summer programs. From teen programs to cooking classes, the Leisure staff have found ways to continue to provide educational and socialization opportunities, while still having fun.

Cook In Your Home Kitchen

Cooking for Comfort is offering virtual classes utilizing Zoom so participants can learn to cook in the comfort of their own kitchens. A recipe and grocery list is sent to participants at the beginning of the week so they can get the items necessary to cook along from home. With easy, simple recipes, Arc staff ensures that the ingredients are available in local grocery stores. The first class, which began late May, was a success! The team is excited to offer the next session of virtual Cooking for Comfort beginning June 17.

Supporting Teens

Teens in Motion (TIM) and Neighborhood Experiences (NE) are two programs that many families look forward to over the summer. The programs work with teens to identify volunteer and employment opportunities in their community, while gaining skills, making friends, and having fun. With many volunteer sites throughout St. Louis still closed, TIM and NE moved to a virtual format to ensure these teens didn’t miss out on valuable skills this summer.

Classes and presentations for TIM and NE are held each morning discussing topics such as employment skills, transition skills, healthy relationships, and social skills. The afternoon is spent in virtual breakout sessions for participants to work with staff in small groups. Each day concludes with virtual recreation opportunities including scavenger hunts, workout sessions, and escape rooms. Weekend activities are sent home to participants to do on their own or with their family, keeping them engaged outside of program.

Recreation Programs

While Walking Club will begin this month with social distancing measures in place, not all summer programs were able to make the necessary precautions for safety. Ukulele club, summer bowling, and the monthly dances have been cancelled for summer 2020. The Arc United Arcade and Slider teams have been cancelled, while Arc United Crush will begin in July.

As we continue to navigate the risks of offering programs during the pandemic, the Arc is being cautious. The safety of participants, families, and staff are of the upmost importance to us. As more decisions are made about programming, staff will communicate with participants via email, the Arc’s Facebook page, and the website.