Boys and Girls Club of the High Rockies, Platte Canyon branch, has been serving the Bailey community year-round since 2014. The program has helped many families struggling to find care for their children while they work. Boys and Girls Club has also given many children the opportunity to learn life skills while also having fun with friends.
Boys and Girls Club is a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on donations of money and supplies from both businesses and individuals, as well as grants. The Conifer Rotary Club and the South Park Food Bank are two of the major donors, providing snacks and food for the children.
The funds from parents who enroll their children make up only six percent of the overall budget. To enroll a child, a parent has to submit a membership application, which can be found on the Boys and Girls Club website. Boys and Girls Club provides scholarships for any family in Park County that makes less than $75,000 per year.
The summer program at Boys and Girls Club is open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. and is divided into different activities. The programs offered provide kids with time to learn valuable life skills, and include classes such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), computer science, dance/drama, and other subject-based learning designed by staff members based on their areas of expertise.
Other than programs, kids have time set aside for recess, social recreation such as board games and group games, and snacks. The kids really enjoy the schedule, as it keeps the day interesting, although recess is usually their favorite part. “Recess is fun, the snacks are great, and the staff is amazing,” says Natalie, one of the children who attends Boys and Girls Club daily.
The staff is very attentive to the kids. Each group of children has at least one staff member with them at all times during the summer program, and at least two staff members with them during the before and after school programs. “The staff here are very kind and they take care of us well, we have a lot of fun,” says Bryce, a Boys and Girls Club member.
Recently, because of COVID-19, Boys and Girls Club has introduced new procedures that have been very effective. There have been no lab confirmed COVID cases since the club reopened in May.
Boys and Girls Club was closed March 17 -May 4 while the schools were shut down due to COVID-19. At that time, the only people who were allowed in the school buildings were there for the purpose of deep cleaning the building. In order to reopen, Boys and Girls Club worked with the local health department to plan a safe opening.
At present, Boys and Girls Club is working to transition its licensing from a neighborhood youth organization to a school-aged childcare program. The change in licensing will provide new opportunities for the club, and for the families it serves.
“We are so thankful to be able to operate and serve the families in our community,” said Jessica Bartak, director of the Bailey club. Not only do we provide care for families who need us, but we also provide a safe place and quality activities for kids before and after school while their parents are away for work.”
Bartak also stated that the club could not operate without the partnerships it has with the schools, especially with superintendents Mike Schmidt and Cindy Bear, and with Susan Walton from the Park County Department of Human Services.