Efficacy & Efficiency: Ensuring the Safety and Impact of our Programs

At Grenville Baker, we are ready to help kids kick off the school year in a safe and productive way!  This Monday the 14th, we opened our doors to 107 kids across our three off-site locations (while our renovations continue). To keep kids healthy, we modified and added safety protocols according to CDC guidelines to all our program spaces.

Just as important, knowing that hybrid and remote learning creates new challenges, all of our staff are focused on ensuring that kids stay on track to do well in school and realize their full potential. Each day after school, the kids enjoy a snack (prepared at home for safety), and then spend an hour (Power Hour) focused on homework. This routine teaches kids to prioritize their responsibilities and gives them a sense of consistency — which is dearly needed when every other aspect of life seems uncertain.

When the hard work is finished, we turn our attention to fun and games…so that kids can feel like kids! Even at a “social distance,” we know the kids appreciate the time they can spend with friends and staff at the Club.

Engagement and Exploration: Developing Young Minds in our New Normal

Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club is committed to providing children of all ages with activities that keep them engaged and learning.  With programs like “Art with Amanda” and “Science with Seth,” children have a place where they can share a sense of wonder and excitement, as they embark on life’s journey.

Making Slime in our “outdoor lab.”

This summer, our camp experience took kids on adventures big and small…from painting flower pots, to playing games, to making slime, our youngest kids explored their creativity and curiosity.

For teens, we turned our attention to all there is to discover on and around Long Island! After a series of nature excursions with volunteer Hon. Dave Gurgerty, the teens capped off the summer with a bicycling adventure to Block Island, a destination that is rich with both natural beauty and history.

Indeed, on a beautiful summer day, the teens rose early to head out to Montauk to take the ferry to Block Island. When they unloaded their bikes, they headed to town for lunch overlooking the harbor, and then set out for a ride to explore the Mohegan Bluffs and enjoy a spectacular view of the lighthouse. Afterwards, they ventured down to the beach to relax and cool off in the ocean.  The day closed with some ice cream.  On the way back to the Club (and before they all fell asleep) the kids reflected on what felt like a “normal” day of adventure…a huge accomplishment in the age of COVID-19.

After the uphill ride to the bluffs, the teens enjoyed the downhill trail and cooled off at the beach.

We are so proud to have given our Club kids a FUN summer memory!

As we head into the fall, the Club will maintain its commitment to finding new and creative ways to keep kids engaged and exploring, while keeping them safe.

Promoting Emotional Wellness Through a Sense of Belonging

While we know that children are resilient, even the most confident optimist among us, needs a boost at this time as we seek to find a silver lining to hang onto. At Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, we work to provide that boost to our children and their families.

Our focus on emotional wellness starts with the simple belief that everyone, no matter their age, wants to feel a sense of belonging. We all want to feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves and to connect with people who care. At the Club, we let our children know they are valued members of our community. We give children who are experiencing stress and anxiety a source of emotional well-being, letting them know that they are not alone and that we are going through this together. We provide mentorship, guidance, and opportunities for kids to develop meaningful connections.

Just as important, we remind our kids how important it is to have fun! To keep doing the simple things they love like running and playing, being creative, and laughing with friends. It is certainly natural to feel sad and disappointed at the changes to basic routines, about events and activities that have been cancelled or postponed, and about loved ones who may not be well. But it is also okay to be happy and to enjoy each day. At Grenville Baker we provide a safe place for kids to have fun and we let them know each day how happy we are to see them. In this way, we are working to create a new normal.

Crayons, Backpacks, and Face Masks

In the wake of COVID-19, new crayons, sneakers and notebooks are not the only focus for back-to-school prep. As the uncertainty of the future lingers, families face renewed stress about what the new school year will bring.  

At Grenville Baker, we are ready to help, and understand that we have an important role to play in both helping kids thrive and ensuring that families can access the affordable and nurturing after-school care they will need to be able to go to work with peace of mind. Moreover, both parents and children are yearning for a place to rebuild social connections and recoup lost academic ground. 

As we approach September, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club will continue to work in concert with our schools, adjusting, and adapting to provide a safe place for our kids to go when school is out.  Our goal is not only to complement what school provides, but also safely enrich and advance kids’ learning experiences… plus ensure they have some fun along the way!  

Our doors will open on September 14th, and we can’t wait to welcome the kids back! With our construction project progressing, we expect to be in our renovated Clubhouse in early 2021. For the fall, we will continue to operate from the Bayville Recreation Center, Locust Valley Reformed Church, and St. Patrick’s Church.  

Please be on the lookout for our Fall Program Guide on our website for updated schedules and detailed safety protocols. You will notice that while our schedule may change, our commitment to our kids and our community remain steadfast.