For some, the thrill of feeling as if the pandemic might actually be winding down came with their first trip back to a restaurant or concert; for others, it was the first face-to-face long conversation they had with a fellow-vaccinated friend, unmasked.
For us, here at The Beachcomber, that tingle of hope came when we knew the presses were rolling with our 2021 edition of our annual special section, “Island Child” — generously sponsored by John L. Scott and now included as the B section in this issue.
The guide — not published last year due to COVID — is a compendium of summer fun for island youth as well as listings for child care resources and after-school programs that are offered on Vashon.
It is great that after a long pandemic year, so many delightful programs are now being planned for young people — who now deserve more than any of us to have their days in the sun, exploring nature and creativity and community with other kids.
And we are grateful for the opportunity to once again provide the resource of this guide, as parents and kids make what we know will be cautious yet exciting choices this summer.
These choices include a free Summer Learning Academy presented at all three Vashon public schools this summer — a new program, spearheaded by Superintendent Slade McSheehy, that we applaud.
What is being planned for the academy isn’t your typical “summer school” fare, but rather, engaging and creative sessions to help get students re-engaged and excited about learning after the long disruption to education caused by COVID. And yes, if your kid needs help with math, we’re sure the miracle-working teachers of our island can make that fun, too.
The story of our island youth is the most important story we tell at The Beachcomber — that’s why our recent editions have been so chock full of news about the schools, including this week’s front-page story about vaccination clinics at Vashon High School (VHS).
We have also run commentaries from school boosters like the one by Amy Broomhall in this week’s paper, which details the decade-long impact of the Vashon Schools Foundation.
And in a year of partnerships at The Beachcomber, one of our most fruitful has been with the Vashon Riptide, the stellar student newspaper of VHS. The journalists of the Riptide have contributed some of the most important articles published in our newspaper this year.
This week’s paper has another thrilling youth story, too — a chronicle by Eric Frith about the amazing comeback of Vashon High School’s baseball team. The team lost their first games, sometimes badly, but now they are on a winning streak — a lesson for us all in these times when every battle seems so hard.
If the kids are alright, we’ll all be alright. It really is that simple.