Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula Programs
We foster a culture of learning by giving members academic support and enrichment in a fun, positive environment. A cornerstone of our efforts is Power Hour, an incentive-based homework help and tutoring program that encourages youth to become self-directed learners. Power Hour is held daily Monday-Friday at both of our sites. In 2011, nearly 400 kids took part in the program, resulting in increased homework completion, more time spent reading, and improved study skills.
We promote positive character development through programs like Torch Club—a small-group service club that instills tolerance, community involvement and leadership—and Junior Staff, which assists members in exploring careers in youth development or human services while boosting leadership and self-esteem. Last year, approximately 170 members took part in character-developing activities and community service projects.
We support youth in making healthy lifestyle choices through programs like SMART Girls, a mentoring program that gives young women the tools to resist the use of drugs and alcohol and to achieve safe and healthy relationships. Our popular Triple Play program enhances the overall health of Club members by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop positive social skills. More than 500 members were involved in programs promoting healthy living in 2011.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Recently, we were thrilled to be one of only 33 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide awarded a grant from our national organization to implement the Triple Play healthy lifestyles program. Triple Play takes a holistic approach to educating boys and girls about good nutrition, making physical fitness a daily practice and developing individual strengths and good character.
Working with community partners like a local health clinic and a nature education center, we’re engaging youth ages 6-18 in activities and events designed to promote wellness in body, mind, and spirit. Highlights have included “Animal Olympics” at the Audubon Center, a Daddy-Daughter dance, and “Paint the Town” community mural-building projects.
The biggest challenge we currently face is in serving greater numbers of youth with fewer resources. Due to the steep increase in students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch in our partner school districts, we have been declared an “at-risk site” by the state of Washington. The state’s designation confirms what we’ve been seeing on the ground for some time: the children we serve come from families that are struggling to make ends meet.
With economic recovery stalled in rural Clallam County, the need for affordable after-school and summer programming for youth is greater than ever. Membership is increasing even as our basic operating costs continue to climb. For just $30 a year, children have access to Club services and activities five days a week, 289 days per year. No one is turned away for inability to pay.