Four High Schoolers Bring Nonprofit to Berkshire County

Luca Hirsch, Staff Writer

This summer, four Berkshire County high schoolers joined forces to start a youth activity group dubbed “The Berkshire Summer Games.” Kassidy Krejmas (Wahconah senior), Celina Savage (Mount Greylock Freshman), Jasmyn Roark-Somersall (Pittsfield senior), and Takiera Darrow (Mount Greylock Junior) organized two events over the summer in which around 200 dollars in donations were received towards Black Lives Matter and the Yemen Crisis. 

The Berkshire Summer Games is a nonprofit organization where youth can attend various events around the Berkshires, with all donations going to a charity or social cause. The events this past summer included swimming in Lake Onota, socially distant volleyball, and yard games such as Slamball. The events were held in parks around the Pittsfield area, with the materials brought by the organizers or borrowed from the AVA, the volleyball club the four founding members are a part of.  

These events had activities and sports which simultaneously provided exercise and much needed social interactions for the youth of Berkshire County. At these practices, the girls began to think about ways in which they could stay fit and active with their friends, while making a difference and solving the social problems around the world. 

When looking back at 2020’s summer games, Greylock Freshman Celina Savage recounts that everyone found a “carefree, safe, and good way of meeting kids from other schools” during a summer that was ubiquitous with isolation. 

The AVA volleyball club is a local volleyball team that helps volleyball players improve their play and ideally prepare them for the high school or collegiate level. The AVA provided nets and volleyballs for the games, which was made possible by coach and director of the Berkshire Summer Games: Greg Geyer. 

The premise was simple: players could attend these events and play with other students for an entry fee or donation. This donation would go right to the charity chosen by the organizers, without them taking a profit. 

Junior Takiera Darrow said they received “way more donations than they expected” and they hope to continue this style of fundraising in upcoming events. Due to COVID-19, the Berkshire Summer Games was created, organized, and planned over Zoom meetings and socially distant in person meetings. 

These meetings resulted in a website and an instagram account that amassed over 250 followers in the first few days. Their initial online presence helped contribute to the strong foundation that was built for future Berkshire Summer Games. 

The main hurdle for the organization was the COVID regulations around the state. In compliance with Massachusetts guidelines, each event had a maximum of 20 people, all who remained six feet apart. The volleyballs and other materials were frequently disinfected by the organizers while hand sanitizer and social distancing was also enforced. 

While the COVID regulations hindered the ability of the Berkshire Summer games to grow, the organizers hope that the games become a staple of Berkshire County summers. 

Freshman Celina Savage hopes that “next summer we can do it with more kids and raise more funds for charity.” With two of the four organizers being seniors, Celina Savage also hopes new people will help run the charity, or the seniors will assist the organization of games from college. 

 

Check out the links below to keep up to date on any upcoming events:

https://theberkshiresummergames.godaddysites.com/

https://www.instagram.com/Berkshire_summergames/