New Cacapon Kids after-school program begins in Great Cacapon

by Kate Evans

A new Cacapon Kids after-school program for students in grades 3-5 started today at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Great Cacapon. The one-day a-week program is sponsored by the church and is part of its youth ministry. Cacapon Kids meets every Wednesday afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. from September 18 through April 22 and offers snacks, activities and homework help if needed.


Activities include team-building, music, art, drama, creative crafts, woodworking, gardening, games, outdoor recreation, Legos, fuse beads, sewing and textile crafts, said Cacapon Kids program coordinator Dottie O’Toole, who is also the Calvary United Methodist Church youth coordinator. Snacks begin around 3:45 p.m. O’Toole will be on hand to supervise the after-school program.

Delectable Mountain Quilt Guild members will teach sewing and quilting and a master gardener will work with the kids on gardening, O’Toole said. Master harpist Tula Ruggiero is going to teach kids how to play the harp. Calvary United Methodist Church Pastor Dick Craig will do a short devotional with the children.

Cacapon Kids is modeled after the Go Friends program that was offered at First United Methodist Church, she said.   O’Toole applied for and received a $1,000 grant with the Tom and Virginia Seely Foundation to start the Cacapon Kids afterschool program. The grant funding is going toward program supplies and materials and not for personnel, O’Toole noted.

School bus transportation

School buses will bring students from school to the church but parents have to pick up their children by 5:50 to 6:00 p.m. They were gearing toward a maximum of 25-30 students in the program, O’Toole said. If all the spaces are filled for the fall, children may be accepted in January if there are openings.

They opened up the after-school program to the community when they only had a handful of children from the church sign up, O’Toole said. It’s open to kids that are riding buses through the community. Berkeley Springs kids can also attend if they have transportation.

Many volunteers

Training for program leaders was held on September 11 at the church. O’Toole said they have a fantastic volunteer base of about 15 to 20 adult volunteers and several high school students to help with the program. Volunteers work with the children, provide snacks, put craft packs together, greet kids and parents, set up and cleanup, help with e-mails and newsletters, make phone calls and more.

O’Toole said their youth group leader retired and that she took over doing the group. She volunteered with the Go Friends program for four or five months and was inspired to recreate their program in Great Cacapon.   O’Toole said that a lot of kids go home alone after school and that with the Cacapon Kids program they would have at least one day a week to be involved in an after-school program.

For more information

For more information about the Cacapon Kids afterschool program or to register your child for it, call Calvary United Methodist Church at 304-258-3455, email the church at or email O’Toole at