24 When Coach D.J. Keisling takes his Boca Bunch kids on an adventure, he isn’t messing around. This is the guy who really knows how to party, and makes each trip a great time for our local youth. From zipline water skiing to Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens, when a notification for a new journey pops up, the kids are ready to go. Boca Bunch started as an extension of teen summer camp, started by Dee Wheeler and Bob Huber in 1993. The Boca Bunch is a program of the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center and all funding for the adventures comes from that group. Keisling, who is also the Physical Education Instructor at L.A. Ainger Middle School in Englewood, got involved when Huber left the program in 1995. Keisling also works for the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center, and has for many years. The Boca Bunch program was started to provide young adults with structured, supervised educational, leisure and recreational activities. They meet at the Boca Grande Community Center once a week for everything from tutoring to sports and game room time. It has turned into a much-sought-after experience for kids whose parents may not have the opportunity to take them to new and exciting places very often, and to hang out with each other with good, responsible adults around who don’t happen to be their parents (sometimes they’re the best kind, after all). The “Bunch,” as they are known, are also known for their community involvement. They’ve been responsible for several large island clean-ups, and serve as volunteers for things like the annual Halloween carnival, the Easter egg hunt and the bike parade. They had monthly field trips all over the state, and in the summer sometimes had two or three adventures a week. Radical times to be had! The Boca Bunch took some really interesting trips this year, including zipline waterboarding, ice skating, several amusement parks and more. The Boca Bunch is also a community-oriented group, and often times you will find them working to improve our little island in any way they can. Hey, a trash collection adventure still counts as an adventure!
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