Fun with a Purpose = Great Futures

4/11/2022

The Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County has provided a safe and positive environment for thousands of kids since it opened its doors 15 years ago. This story is sponsored by Alpine Bank.

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Hi, I'm Beth Drum with Alpine Bank. At Alpine bank, we value the services that our nonprofit community offers. We hope you enjoy meeting some of these change makers. As part of the Alpine Bank series, Community Matters.

Tossing a ball in the air with a parachute may look like a fun game but it's all also teaching kids, teamwork, persistence, and trust. Embedding lessons that build respect, self advocacy, and self-esteem in fun activities has been the goal of the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County since its doors opened 15 years ago in the old National Guard Armory on Main Avenue.

So we're there for kids every day after school. And in this summer, when they're not in school. It's affordable. And it's a place where kids can go where they're safe physically, they're safe emotionally, supportive relationships with adults, and most importantly, now, it's fun.

The Boys and Girls Club serve more than 1,200 youth ages ages 8 to 18 each year. Cost to join is $25 a year. Although no child is denied membership. Kids can choose from a wide variety of activities, like a game of broom hockey, sewing lessons or science based projects. No matter what they choose, kids are getting gentle lessons on how to build positive relationships and a strong set of core values to guide their future choices. The fun just keeps kids coming back for more.

This program is an activity based program, so it's a lot of silly activities, but then it relates back to a value just where kids can feel welcome and open to chat about how authenticity relates to their life or how courage relates to their life in every day. So, yeah, we just try to keep it fun and light and then have conversations that are meaningful.

In its 2019 impact survey of members, the club reports that 98% of respondents said they were on grade level. 97% said they expect to graduate from high school. And 90% said they want to help someone who's having a problem. 86% report that they have fun at the club. And 89% say they feel like they belong.

It's really giving them an opportunity to explore, like who do you want to be? What are you interested in? We do have three priority outcomes. So academic success. So helping kids stay on grade level, graduate with a plan, character in citizenship. So moral compass, make good decisions when you're faced with tough choices and then get active, healthy lifestyle. So moderation, eating your fruits and vegetables, those kinds of things. So the benefit for them, is one of those things that we try to do kind of under the radar, right? So you come here, your friends are here, you're really having a great time. But then at the same time, there's a little more depth to what we're doing. You know, these are programs that have been developed over many, many years with Boys and Girls Clubs, national brand, right, been around for 140 years. So there's a lot of methodology behind it. So it's intentional, youth development strategy, kids feel they can do something well, they can do something for others, they have a voice. So really giving them that empowerment. And nothing's been more important now, I think, than getting back in person. Back to how do we interact with folks? How do we get back to being human, so to speak? And we've been able to provide that opportunity and we'll continue to provide it.

The Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County will celebrate its 15th anniversary during its annual Building Great Futures event scheduled for Thursday, May 12th at the club's headquarters. Attendance at either our breakfast or lunch event is free. To register or to learn more, visit bgclapata.org. Thanks for watching this edition of Community Matters, brought to you by Alpine Bank and the local news network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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