Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center is bringing six members of their after school Scrabble Club to the 2017 North American School Scrabble Championship (NASSC) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on April 21–23. The Center is asking for donations to help cover the $5,000 needed to make it happen.
“The students and I are very excited about competing against other teams from across the country and acting as ambassadors of Bridgehampton at the National Championship,” BHCCRC Executive Director Bonnie Michelle Cannon explains in a note sent out to supporters last Friday. She points out that each player from their club will incur expenses for hotel, travel and meals for the weekend, and BHCCRC is funding the trip themselves.
Comprising eight fourth and fifth graders from Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton schools, the Center’s after school club, which meets every Monday, is part of a nationwide Scrabble program with over a million kids in more than 20,000 schools. Hasbro, which makes Scrabble, and the National Scrabble Association (NSA) launched the National School Scrabble Program in 1991, and since then educators have praised the game for helping to improve students’ vocabulary, spelling and dictionary skills, along with traditional and non-traditional math, cooperative learning, conflict resolution and creative problem solving.
The BHCCRC club is working with coach Kathy Hummel, who’s been teaching Scrabble to Hampton Bays students since 2000, and she’s taken those students to the NASSC every year since the very first one 13 years ago. This weekend, March 24–26, Hummel is taking her BHCCRC and Hampton Bays teams to the New England Scrabble tournament where they will face students from Connecticut and Massachusetts in five rounds of the word game. Three of the four two-person BHCCRC teams going to New England will also compete against about 100 other teams at the NASSC in April.
“It’s very exciting,” Hummel says, noting that she’s been working with BHCCRC since the program started last fall. The coach describes Scrabble as an excellent educational tool and a game that teaches the kids all sorts of important life skills. “It’s a team thing,” she says, noting that she pairs student with different strengths into the two-person teams and has them work together, even when they might prefer to be with someone else. It prepares them for similar situations they’ll experience later in life, Hummel explains, adding, “It’s not just learning words.”
In a digital age where video games and apps rule the day—though she also encourages them to play Words With Friends and any other Scrabble-like games they can—Hummel says Scrabble offers the kids something different that grounds them to the physical world. “It’s also a tactile exercise…and we have a lot of fun.”
You can help Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center’s Scrabble Club attend the 2017 North American School Scrabble Championship by donating here before April 15. To learn more, visit bhccrc.org.