Jefferson Elementary School Youth Club Boys & Girls Clubs of Sheboygan County

Club Announces New Site and Expanded Teen Services

By Christina Singh  |  August 20, 2020

Although back-to-school may look a little different this year, Boys & Girls Clubs do whatever it takes to ensure kids have access to resources and a safe, inclusive environment. For the 2020-21 school year, this will include a new location and expanded teen programming in Sheboygan.

The Clubs have been serving a limited number of youth at four locations this summer, with increased safety protocols. CEO Christina Singh says summer programming had its challenges, but was successful in meeting the needs of youth and families in Sheboygan County.

“We really focused on mental/emotional well-being, preventing learning loss, and making sure kids were well nourished,” said Singh. “We saw a lot of youth benefit from structure and the opportunity to interact with their peers and mentors in a safe way.”

This fall, they plan to keep up with COVID-19 best practices, including hygiene and sanitation procedures as well as face mask requirements and small “pods” that limit group interaction.

The Clubs will open seven sites in September, including before and after school programming at a new location: Jefferson Elementary School.

  • Jefferson Principal Zach Pethan saw an opportunity for families to benefit from the Boys & Girls Club’s experience. According to Pethan, “It’s a great way to build a partnership with a proven provider of quality out of school programming. The Clubs have a track record of success, great local leadership, and an extensive network of resources across the country to help shape our program.”

In addition to a new site, services for teens in Sheboygan are expanding to meet the needs of middle and high school students who will have to manage a new schedule of onsite and remote learning. The Club at the Y will now be open 12p-5p during the week. The goal is to provide resources and support for teens to be successful in a new learning environment.

  • “We want to remove barriers for teens who lack reliable internet or who need a little extra structure and guidance. Our traditional after-school hours just didn’t make sense anymore,” said Singh. One thing that isn’t changing for teens is the price for Club membership. It’s still just $20 a year.

Fees at Boys & Girls Clubs aren’t meant to cover the cost of programming. Instead they aim to keep services affordable and rely on community support to continue their work. Singh says COVID-19 has increased expenses and negatively impacted fundraising. “We weren’t able to hold our two biggest fundraisers, the Leadership Award Banquet and Gus Macker Basketball Tournament. The result is a gap of more than $200k.”

The Clubs have been a vital part of the Sheboygan County’s ability to respond and rebuild during the pandemic. The organization has always relied on the support of individuals and corporations to continue their services. That’s more important now than ever.