Ray’s Blog

At Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, a big part of helping young people to reach their full potential is teaching them the keys to a healthy life. An understanding of how to make smart nutritional choices is essential. Our Club’s Healthy Habits program and other Club-wide initiatives give our members the tools and resources they need to learn the basic building blocks for a healthy future.

As part of our Healthy Habits program, we encourage our members to sit down to a “healthy plate” at every meal and to make informed choices about what they eat. We help them to increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting their intake of foods high in calories, salt and sugar. Beverages like low fat milk and plenty of water are recommended to ensure proper hydration over energy drinks and sodas that may be high in empty calories. Balance and moderation are important habits to develop at a young age that can carry through to adulthood.

In order to achieve these goals, we have taken a proactive approach to nutrition at the Club. In addition to teaching about nutrition we have also taken steps to remove all the vending machines in the building to remove the temptations of soda, candy and chips. Instead, we provide water throughout the day. We have also added a healthy snack during Homework Help that includes veggies and dip, fruit, cheese, crackers and other nutritious choices. At 5:30 pm, our kids are also offered a balanced meal supplied by Long Island Cares. The meals vary throughout the week and incorporate a protein, a carbohydrate, a fruit, a vegetable, and milk, providing the calories and nutrients needed by growing children.

Another important piece of learning about healthy eating at the Club is our cooking program.  To encourage our kids to limit the amount of fast food they eat each week, we recognize that young people need to learn the ABCs of cooking simple, healthy and economic meals for themselves and their families. Our kitchen was designed to accommodate and to ensure the safety of our young chefs. In our Healthy Habits Program, our kids are given a chance to learn the basics and to gain hands on training in the kitchen.

It is also essential that our children make smart decisions when choosing a healthy snack. One local business is helping: the Rising Tide Natural Market in Glen Cove. Each month, Rising Tide awards Nutrition Competition gift certificates to the Club members who demonstrate the greatest consistency in eating fruit or vegetables at the Club. Photos of the winners are posted on our bulletin board and Facebook page. Combining a knowledge of nutrition with a proper balance of physical fitness and positive relationships, members of our Club are well on their way to reaching their full potential and to enjoying a healthy life.

Ray’s Blog

Winter Fun at GBBGC – January 31, 2018


This January has provided a number of wintry challenges with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. It is easy to feel cooped up and housebound whatever your age, but especially when you are young and energetic. Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club is a warm and welcoming place to have fun for youngsters from Kindergartners through the Twelfth Grade. At this time of year, our Club is full of kids with an array of activities and healthy outlets for youthful energy in addition to our Basketball Program.  Each school day, more than 200 children come to the Club after school to take advantage of our Homework Help program and to participate in everything the Club has to offer.

Homework Help is a highly effective program based on the premise that children who consistently complete their homework assignments go to school each day with confidence and a strong chance of success. At the Club, our children learn to study independently and to finish projects on time, giving them a sense of accomplishment and achievement.  With a structure designed to help every kid succeed, we keep our child to staff ratio low and provide outlets for children who have completed their work so they do not distract the others. We have also provided a quiet study space for kids needing extra help or extra time to complete their assignments. When a child needs individual assistance, the one-on-one time we offer is essential. Our staff and volunteers are on hand to encourage and to help.

In addition to Homework Help, we have introduced some fun activities to encourage our little ones to learn while having fun. In our STEAM program, our first and second graders take part in lessons and experiments like studying volcanoes while building one themselves. Members also participate in scavenger hunts searching for clues to learn about geography and national landmarks. In our Kids in the Kitchen, members have a chance to learn to cook and to bake, making simple recipes and learning the fundamental skills of measuring ingredients, following instructions, and enjoying the delicious reward at the end. Young readers enjoy our Library Club that matches participants with a teen tutor at the Locust Valley Library to strengthen reading skills and to encourage a love of books.

Our kids in Grades 3 – 5 are also learning while having fun. They are taught important lessons about health and nutrition in Healthy Habits. In our “Science with Seth” Club, they are conducting experiments and going on field trips to learn more about the natural world around them. To keep everyone active and fit during the winter months, fun games like Around the World Ping Pong, Triple Table Tennis, and Bean Bag Toss have made the Social Rec room a place full of laughter and high energy. Other physical outlets include Dance-Nastics, Hip Hop and Jazz, Kickline, and Dance Expression.

Creative activities in the Tech Center include DJ & Mixing, Photography, and Minecraft. In the Art Room, our kids gain a familiarity with various mediums and techniques while developing their own distinctive style. Their works will be on display at the Locust Valley Library for the month of February as part of BGCA’s National Competition in the Fine Arts. A reception will be held on Thursday, February 15th from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Library for the young artists and their families. All are welcome.

If you have any questions for your child about our afterschool programs for all ages, please call the Club at 759-5437 x 16, go to the website at www.gbbgc.org, or stop by the Club.


Ray’s Blog

Another Banner Year for GBBGC Basketball – January 24, 2018

If you drive by the Club in the late afternoon and early evening, you may notice a stream of young athletes and their parents coming and going. If you look into the windows of the new gymnasium, you may notice that the score board is all lit up, with games in session. If you step inside, you are greeted by the sound of basketballs bouncing, the squeal of sneakers sliding, the blast of whistles blown, and the roar of happy fans.

Grenville Baker is in the midst of another banner year for our Basketball program.  Just when we thought we had reached our max, our numbers have increased once again with more than 580 local kids participating in our single most popular program, with members aged 5 through 18 learning the fundamentals of basketball while playing with their friends. During the height of the season, every afternoon and evening, basketball is being played upstairs and down in the Club’s two gymnasiums.

The goal of GBBGC’s basketball program is to provide a positive athletic experience for our members. Kids of all ages are given the opportunity to practice the basic skills of basketball while learning strategy, sportsmanship and teamwork. At the Club, our Basketball program serves every skill level. At the end of the season, our entire Club experiences our own March Madness, with playoffs, championships, and a Basketball Award Ceremony.

The Basketball Program begins with an Instructional league for grades K-2 and then children advance to Pee Wee in Grades 3-4, Biddy in Grades 5-6, and Collegiate in Grades 7-8, each with one hour of practice and one game per week. Boys in Grades 9-10 and 11-12 play in our High School Leagues with games each week on Thursday and Friday evenings.

The Club has seen a large increase this year in the number of teenage boys participating with more than 135 in our High School League. What a wonderful way for our teens to spend their Friday nights, with the bleachers packed with friends and parents coming to cheer. The teens are encouraged to take ownership of their league with greater input in picking and organizing teams. The Club provides the structure of a game schedule, a coach, and referees at every game. Through word of mouth, the number of Little Pro teams has grown. Our GBBGC Basketball Facebook page has also helped to spread the word with schedule updates, game results, and videos.

We want to express our gratitude to our loyal Basketball sponsors and to the many volunteer coaches who return year after year to help out. Clock and book volunteers are also needed and play an essential role. We especially want to thank our local merchants and residents for their patience during peak hours when parking is at a premium around the Club. This wonderful program would not exist without your support.

Ray’s Blog – Nov. 29th

From 1950 until today, athletics have been an important part of who we are as a Club. While the number of programs we offer has grown, athletics remain an important component of Grenville Baker’s youth programming for all ages. Keeping kids active and occupied with athletics teaches discipline and develops leadership skills while encouraging physical fitness and teamwork. Many of our alumni have gone on to excel at the high school and college level in sports they first learned to play here. Many more have simply learned to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise while having fun with their friends.

This month we finished up the Club’s fall season of gymnastics and prepared for another successful winter season of basketball. As our single most popular athletic program, members aged 5 through 18 enjoy learning the fundamentals of basketball while playing with their classmates. Last year, more than 560 kids participated in our Basketball Program from late November through the end of March. The Club has seen an increase in the number of our youngest basketball players in our Instructional program, a trend that bodes well for the future of the sport in Locust Valley. Last year, we also saw a large increase in the number of teens participating with more than one hundred high school kids in our Little Pro League.

With two gymnasiums available, the Club provides an excellent venue for both practice and games. This season, the program is being overseen by our Athletic Director John Kiggins and our Assistant Athletic Director Julie Romano to make sure that things run smoothly from the opening tip off in November to March Madness in the spring. In addition, we continue to be so fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteer coaches who are committed to sharing their knowledge, expertise and love of sport.  Our coaches serve as role models, teaching positive lessons to the children of our community.

This year we have also expanded our Dance and Fitness programs with Hip Hop and Jazz, Pilates, Kickline, Ballet, and Dance-nastics in addition to Dance Club and Tumbling. Our classes encourage individual style and expression while promoting health and fitness. With our “All Sports” program, Saturdays are a great time for kids to be active while trying different sports including baseball, softball, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, soccer, and Ninja Warrior Challenge.

Each year our community’s generous donations to our Annual Fund make this possible. Help us to preserve our tradition of providing a safe place for kids to get exercise and to play with friends, building confident minds and strong bodies. Please give to our Annual Fund and support our athletic programs today.

Ray’s Blog – March 8th

At Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, we provide a safe and nurturing place for young members to try their hand in the Arts. Our Art Studio offers a welcoming space where our members learn under the caring supervision of our staff. Each art program is designed to accommodate young artists at every skill level, keeping lessons fun while offering an opportunity for the serious young artist to be encouraged and supported.

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Ray’s Blog – March 1st, 2017

As we celebrate Women’s History Month at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, we are taking time to appreciate the important role women have played in the history of our Club. Looking back to our early days, we would be remiss not to pay a special tribute to our co-founder Edith Hay Wyckoff. Without her generosity of spirit and care for the youth of our community, it is doubtful whether our Club would have ever been born.

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Ray’s Blog – February 22nd, 2017

Last week, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club lost an important friend in Adele C. Smithers. In our community and beyond, the Smithers name has been synonymous with philanthropy for the past sixty years. Adele’s late husband R. Brinkley Smithers was a long time Board member and past president of the Club. When he died in 1994, Adele picked up right where Brinkley left off, becoming a member of our Board of Directors and a generous supporter of the Club and its mission.
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Ray’s Blog – February 15th, 2017

At this time of year, snow and colder temperatures can leave adults and children feeling cooped up and housebound. Although finding opportunities for fresh air and exercise for growing children can present a challenge, the Club can help. Knowing that the winter can be particularly difficult for our youngsters to expend energy and to stay healthy, we have revamped our winter break schedule to provide several fun ways for them to be active and to have fun.

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Ray’s Blog – February 8th, 2017

Throughout its history, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club has connected aspiring students to scholarship opportunities here at the Club. Over the years, the Club’s scholarship program has been generously funded by our supporters.  High School Seniors who have not only demonstrated outstanding academic achievement but have also shown excellence in areas of leadership, community service and involvement in the Club are encouraged to apply.  Every year, these recipients are exceptional young men and women who are truly deserving of the accolades they receive.

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Ray’s Blog – February 1st, 2017

Grenville Baker’s College Prep program provides a practical approach to the college admissions process with SAT classes, college campus visits, assistance with college applications and financial aid forms, and admission interview training.

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