Ray’s Blog

Summer Programs for our Teens – April 18, 2018


With the long winter behind us, spring is here and summer is fast approaching.  We all look forward to this time of year when the days are longer and the weather is warmer. Summer vacation will provide a wonderful chance for our kids to take a break from their school work and to enjoy a change of pace. But summer can also be a challenge for families with teens left without a positive outlet and without adult supervision.  A bored teen with too much free time can lead to potential trouble, risky behavior and questionable decisions.


At Grenville Baker, we want our teen members to have a fun, safe and enjoyable summer.  We want them to make positive choices.   With our newly renovated Teen Center, our teens can enjoy having fun with friends in a comfortable place they can call their own, a place that encourages them to engage in productive activities. It is these positive choices that help our teens on their way to becoming independent young adults.


For families, managing the teen years can be difficult. Camps and other summer programs can be expensive and require a big commitment of time and money. Our Summer Teen Drop-In Program at the Club provides an easy and reasonable option.  Free of charge with a Club Membership, this program takes place 12 noon to 6 pm every Monday through Friday from July 9through August 24.  With an annual membership of $40, teens can come to the Club to hang out and to participate in activities such as Water Days, Bike Trips, and Cooking Classes.  During the school year, they can participate in College Prep, City Club, Drama Matters, Keystone Club and more.


In addition to the Teen Walk-In Program, we have our Teen Summer Field Trips which take place every Wednesday.  Teens are invited to enjoy a fun trip each week for a small fee, including Dave and Busters (July 11), Six Flags Great Adventure (July 18), Beach Day (July 25), Paintball (August 1), a Mets Game at Citi Field (August 8), Adventure Park at Long Island (August 15) and Splish Splash Water Park (August 22). Registration is required and space is limited so please sign up soon. A College Tour is also planned for later in the summer.


Our Summer Basketball Night League is for kids in Grades 6 to 12 and College. The League runs from July 9 to August 10, with two games a week at a fee of $75. Teens can also participate in our other sports and specialty programs including Camps for Basketball (July 9 – 13 and July 16 – 20), Technology (July 23 – 27 and August 6 – 10), Baseball (July 30 – August 4), Art (July 30 – August 4), and Golf & Tennis Off Site (July 23 – 27) as well as Travel Camp with three trips a week (July 9 – August 24).


Please call the Club at (516) 676-1460 x 16 for more information on our summer programs for teens. Registration is available online at www.gbbgc.org.



Ray Reyes

Ray’s Blog

Blue and White Gala at the Creek

GBBGC June Dance – April 11, 2018

On Saturday, June 2, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club will celebrate our 68th Annual June Dance with a Blue and White Gala at the Creek Club in Locust Valley. That night, we will recognize five inductees into the GBBGC Hall of Fame: Eileen Duffy, Elizabeth and Frank Ingrassia, and Jean and Scott Simensky. These individuals will be honored for their many contributions to the Club and for their dedication to helping the children of our community.

Since 1950, the Club has been serving children and their families in the greater Locust Valley area. The Club provides a safe place where children can learn and grow while building lasting friendships and developing a solid foundation for their future. All Club programs strive to provide our youth with a sense of belonging, usefulness, influence and competence. The Club cannot carry out this mission alone. We rely on the talents and generosity of our donors and volunteers.

The Blue and White Gala is our single largest special event and monies raised help sustain the Club throughout the year. The success of the event depends upon the energy and tireless support of so many. We greatly appreciate the members of our Dance Committee and our phenomenal Chairwomen Andrea Cilmi, Libby Imperio, Dawn Kallman, and Melissa Meister; these ladies devote countless hours to make this event possible. We also appreciate our wonderful staff at the Club whose diligence and care help to make the Gala one of the top events of the year.

All funds raised from the Blue and White Gala directly support more than 80 programs and activities at the Club, benefitting more than 1,300 children from ages 5 to 18. Through the Gala, generous supporters of the Club can take the opportunity to sponsor Club programming including Technology, Keystone Leadership Club, Education, Teen Programs, Summer Day Camp, Arts, and Club Athletics. Most of all, the Gala affords us a unique opportunity to come together in a beautiful setting and to celebrate the significant impact the Club has on our children. If you are interested in being a Dance sponsor and/or guest, please contact Kathy Santucci at (516) 759-5437 ext. 25.

Basketball Fridays! Open Gym from 6 pm- 10pm.

Basketball Fridays! Open Gym from 6 pm- 10pm.

Ray’s Blog

Boys & Girls Club Week at Grenville Baker – April 4, 2018

Next week, April 9 to April 13, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club will celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week, along with thousands of Boys & Girls Clubs across the country and at U.S. military installations around the world. Grenville Baker has joined in this celebration every year since its founding in 1950. During this week, the Club will open its doors to show the important work we do and the impact we have on the children of this community.

This week-long celebration will shine a spotlight on how clubs are unlocking the doors to a great future for our nation’s youth. From Homework Help, to Athletics, to Technology and the Arts, Boys & Girls Clubs across America play a vital role in many young people’s lives by offering a positive place for kids after school and during weekends and vacations. All week long, our Club will provide a variety of activities and special events to celebrate our Club and to illustrate the positive impact of our mission.

The Club will start off the week of celebration on Monday, April 9 with Crazy Hat Day. Members have the option to wear a hat from home or to make one in the Art Room. That day the Club will “Open the Door to Teens” with a friendly competition between our teens and our children in Grades K – 5. The teens from the Keystone Club will lead such activities as Hula Hoop Toss, Giant Jenga, Tic tac toe and other fun games. Tuesday, April 10 is Pajama Day with everyone encouraged to wear their PJs to the Club. Members will “Open the Door to Academic Success” with several hands-on STEM activities organized and led by the staff.

On Wednesday, April 11, members are encouraged to wear the jersey of their favorite team. Our Club will “Open the Door to Good Character and Citizenship” with teambuilding activities for members of our Club and our community. Community members are invited to join our kids on the athletic fields behind the Club at 5 pm to build a Unity Art Project symbolizing the diversity and teamwork that unites us as a community. Thursday, April 12 will be Super Hero Day with every member dressing up as their favorite super hero. The kids will also “Open the Door to Healthy Lifestyles” and engage in outdoor fitness activities with races, games and challenges. Lastly, on Friday, April 13, we will celebrate Club Spirit Day asking all members to wear Boys & Girls Club blue. Members can “Open the Door to Friendship” that day inviting a friend to accompany them to the Club. A Dance Party will cap off the week of celebration.

Please join us for this fun week of activities. To find out about the events or to schedule a tour of the Club, please call Kelly Ferry, Program Director at (516) 759-5437 ext. 25. Come and see for yourself how the Club is making a difference in the lives of our community’s children each and every day.

Ray’s Blog

Ray Reyes Column, March 28, 2018: Larissa Izaguirre, Youth of the Year

Since 1947, the Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of our teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership, service, character and academic excellence. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Each year, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club selects a member to be our Youth of the Year to represent the Club in competitions at the state, regional, and national level to receive scholarships and further recognition. Each candidate for this honor must submit an in-depth application and participate in a lengthy interview process conducted and evaluated by a committee of board, staff and community members.

This year, our Club’s Youth of the Year is Larissa Izaguirre, a natural leader with a talent for public speaking. Larissa lives in Bayville and is currently a senior at Locust Valley High School. She is an IB Diploma Candidate with an A+ average. A member of the National Honors Society and the National Spanish Honors Society, Larissa’s teachers have praised her for her intelligence and dedication, her maturity and clear sense of purpose, her kindness and consideration for others. Larissa is the captain of the LVHS Kickline Team and a performer in the Spring Musical. At school, Larissa leads by example in her willingness to help others and in her belief that she “was put on this planet to make a difference.”

Larissa joined the Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club when she was in the second grade.   As an active member for more than eleven years, she has participated in many of the Club’s programs including College Prep, City Club and Money Matters. Larissa wants to encourage other teens to stay involved in the Club and to actively participate in the opportunities offered there. “The Club has gifted me with the resources I need to succeed in every aspect of my life and I am forever grateful.”

As vice president of the Keystone Club, Grenville Baker’s community service and leadership organization, Larissa has performed more than 100 service every year in high school. Larissa has served food at local soup kitchens, rebuilt homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and coordinated food drives. As vice president, she has planned Club events, organized volunteers and coordinated service projects. She was selected to attend Keystone’s national conference in Orlando, Dallas, and Chicago.

This fall Larissa will become the second member of her family to go to college, following in the footsteps of her older sister. I know I speak for our entire Club, staff and members alike, in saying that Larissa is an exceptional young woman and we are so proud to have her represent us this year in Albany and beyond as our Club’s National Youth of the Year.


Club Schedule For Spring Break


Friday March 30th & Saturday March 31st



April 2nd- 6th are 12:00 pm-7:30 pm



Saturday April 7th.

Ray’s Blog

Gymnastics and Tumbling at GBBGC – March 21


Last week, our winter Gymnastics and Tumbling program concluded with a final performance by our young athletes and the stands were packed with family and friends. The enthusiastic response of both parents and children was gratifying to see. Over the past few years, the Gymnastics and Tumbling program at GBBGC has grown. The number of participants has increased from a handful in 2014 to more than 200 in 2018. The level of the children’s skills and ability has also increased. We are fortunate to have our lead instructor Karina, an experienced coach and mentor from the Gold Medal Gymnastic Center in Garden City. The Club and its staff are working hard to meet the growing demand for this program and to provide new equipment for this talented and excited group of athletes.

With this in mind, we purchased several pieces of new tumbling equipment last fall. We now have a Pac Man Handspring Trainer that allows our instructor to help our beginners to master the basics of handsprings. A new Boulder Handspring Trainer was added to provide a safe and effective tool for learning back handsprings. Our Octagon and Mailbox Tumblers provide the support for beginners learning forward rolls and walkovers. We also added trapezoid blocks and round doughnut halves. We have all new floor mats that are made to be safe and skid proof.

We are now reaching out to the community and our parents to help to raise the funds to replace our gymnastics floor equipment. We are going to purchase a new balance beam, foam steps, crash mats, floor bars, uneven bar, and new spring board. The equipment is expensive but worth the investment. It will enhance the level of instruction at the Club even further.

Parents in the know understand that a good gymnastics and tumbling program is a rare find and wonderful service. To have one near at hand is even rarer. In years past, parents and their children from our community had to travel to Hicksville or further to participate in gymnastics programs.

Like most sports, it is essential that each child receive instruction in proper technique and form in order to keep the children safe and to avoid injury. Children gain confidence and strength learning routines and gaining new skills and training. Gymnastics and tumbling combine athletic and aesthetic talents in a way that is unique, preparing participants for other activities including martial arts, cheerleading, and dance. How wonderful to pursue this passion at the Club with friends and a short drive from your home.

If you have any questions or would like to donate to support our Gymnastics and Tumbling program, please contact Christine Thomaides at Christine.thomaides@gbbgc.org or call 516-759-5437 x 11.

Ray’s Blog

Rosie the Riveter and GBBGC – March 12

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. Since Edith Hay Wyckoff first encouraged local boys to form a club in 1946, women have been essential to the Club’s growth and traditions. Among its longtime advocates, the Club has been fortunate to count on the loyal support of Rosalind P. Walter.

The daughter of Winthrop and Carleton Humphreys Palmer, Rosalind grew up in the Locust Valley area and attended the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut.  As a young man, her father served in the 351st Field Artillery in WWI. He became the president of E.R. Squibb & Sons, the pharmaceutical company, presiding over the development of penicillin and other new antibiotic drugs.  Her mother was the Chairwoman of Long Island University and a Professor of Literature and Fine Arts there.

Rosalind followed in her family’s tradition of service. During WWII, she joined the war effort right out of high school, working on the night shift as the first lead riveter on the Corsair fighter airplane. She broke records for speed on the production line, advocating for equal pay for her female co-workers. After being featured in a newspaper story about the many women working in factories at the time, Rosalind inspired the song “Rosie the Riveter” by John Jacob Loeb and Redd Evans in 1942. The song was a hit and for the remainder of the war, “Rosie” was the epitome of our country’s sacrifice and patriotism. The lasting images created the following year by the illustrators J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse “We Can Do It” poster and Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post have continued to symbolize women’s empowerment to this day.

As the wife of the late Henry G. Walter, former chairman and CEO of International Flavors & Fragrances, Rosalind became a noted philanthropist in her own right known for her support of many PBS programs. Like her parents, she has generously supported Long Island University and its C.W. Post campus receiving an honorary doctorate there. She is also a member of the boards of Channel 13, the American Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Tennis Association, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary and the Museum of Television and Radio.

Dedicated to the causes of disadvantaged youth, she has served as a member of the National Committee for Inner City Drug Prevention and the Board of Overseers at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club.  She has been a longtime sponsor of the Club’s June Dance, a Lifetime Supporter of our Annual Fund, and a faithful friend and advisor to the Club. In 2016, Rosalind was inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame.

Our Club continues to strive to serve our girls and our future Rosies. In that effort, our Club is fortunate to be led by such important women as our Board President Susan F. Altamore Carusi, our Clothing Sale Chairs Eileen Duffy and Connie Glowatz, and our June Dance Chairs Andrea Cilmi, Dawn Kallman, Libby Imperio, and Melissa Meister. These strong and capable women serve as role models for all the young girls at our Club.