BOB’s visits make the kids happy.
BOB is Books on the Bus, a new summer program that brings free books to the pre-kindergarten through elementary school crowd, plus field games, music and refreshments.
The idea is to help keep the kids busy, entertained – and reading – during the summer months when they’re out of school. BOB follows a schedule that takes it to Warrenton, Bealeton, The Plains and Marshall through July 27 with a week off from July 1-7.
There’s no cost to join in the fun.
Shannon Nash of Warrenton brought her 6- and 8-year-old girls to Eva Walker Park in Warrenton on June 13 and said as the girls were off having fun and that the program is “fabulous.”
“It’s really well organized. It’s nice to have something free to go to,” she said.
Alison Brennan of Warrenton brought her 7-year-old daughter to Walker Park.
“She’s done everything so far” at the park, Brennan said. “I think it’s great. It’s nice to see all the kids outside.”
The Nashes and Brennans were among 162 people who came to Walker Park during the two hours BOB was there.
The kids could pick out a free book to take home, sign up for a library card, draw at tables in the pavilion, play a piano, join in dodge ball and other field games, or run through an obstacle course of cones, hoops and jumps.
There was water to keep them hydrated and snack bars to keep their energy levels up. There were individual packed lunches to take home for those in need.
In many ways, BOB is a community effort.
BOB got going thanks to a sponsorship between the Fauquier County Public Schools, Fauquier County Public Library, the PATH Foundation and Town of Warrenton Parks and Recreation.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office is a program partner, and representatives set up and staffed the obstacle course at Walker Park.
The sheriff’s office also supplied the bus. It once served as a command center but became BOB after it was discovered a used school bus wouldn’t fit into the bay to store it.
An auto mechanics class removed the logo and fixtures that were on the bus. Student Andrea Riedel designed a BOB logo. Eagle Scout candidate Ryan Jones and fellow Boy Scouts installed the bench seating and storage in the bus.
BOB is making stops at different regions of the county.
“We tried to pick areas that are walkable,” explained Kristen McAuliffe, preschool coordinator for Fauquier County Public Schools, who’s in charge of the BOB program.
The schedule is:
Tuesdays through July 24 – from 9 to 9:45 a.m. at the John Page Turner Community House, 6473 Main St. in The Plains; and 10:15 to 11 a.m. at the Marshall Community Center, 4133-A Rectortown Road, Marshall.
Wednesdays through July 25 – from 9 to 11 a.m., Eva Walker Park, 144 Haiti St., Warrenton.
Thursdays through July 27 — from 9 to 9:45 a.m., Marsh Run Community, 11734 Coffman Circle, Bealeton; and 10:15 to 11 a.m., Cedar Lee Middle School, 11138 Marsh Road in Bealeton.
McAuliffe worked with Dawn Sowers, public services manager for Fauquier County Public Library, to get the program started.
“We started putting our heads together. We reached out to different organizations. We both had contacts within the community. That’s how BOB was born,” explained Sowers.
Paid staff and volunteers keep it going, no small feat given it’s a program on the move that requires setting up and taking down at each stop.
The following community organizations are doing their part as partners to make BOB a success: Allegro Community School of the Arts, Fauquier County Community Child Care, Fauquier County Parks and Recreation, Fauquier FISH, First Baptist Church of Warrenton, FRESH (Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health), L.A.M.P. (Literacy, Art Music, Physical Education) Mobile, Learning Starts Early, First Baptist Church of Warrenton and the Windy Hill Foundation.
“It’s been a really good partnership,” said Sowers.
The goal is to keep BOB fueled with enough funding to keep traveling summer after summer.
Reach James Ivancic at firstname.lastname@example.org.