The Art of Holiday Shopping

For many of us, the Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of holiday shopping season.  Indeed, the bargains begin before the last piece of pie is served! This year, we hope that you will keep the Club and our kids in mind as the holiday spirit takes hold. Here are a few ways to give back while getting a great deal. 

For something utterly unique, consider a hand-crafted gift made by one of our Club kids. During this season of giving and celebration, our tweens are reminding us how blessed we are here in Locust Valley through their Torch Club Holiday Art Sale. 

Shop the Art Sale. Help Make the Holidays Merry & Bright

Through Torch Club, our leadership and community outreach program for children in grades 6-8, our kids have developed a strong sense of appreciation for and a desire to give thanks for their families and their Club. Indeed, at a young age, they are learning to plan and participate in worthwhile community service projects. This holiday season they are lending their artistic talents and organizing an Art Sale to raise funds for children in need.

CLICK HERE to view their beautiful artwork and to purchase a treasure for a loved one, helping a child at the holidays. 

If you’re an Amazon shopper, please consider signing up for the Amazon Smile program, which donates .5% of your purchases to the charity of your choice at no cost to you. To sign up, visit smile.amazon.com and follow the simple instructions to choose “Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club” as your beneficiary

Likewise, if you find yourself at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, we are delighted to share that Neiman Marcus is once again supporting the Club with a second national holiday fundraiser that will run through December 31, 2020. Specifically, Neiman Marcus customers can donate to Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club while checking out in the store and online

The Trick to a Halloween Treat!

There are few things that children look forward to more than a day dedicated to candycostumes, and spooky storiesThis year, to ensure safety, our creative staff and Keystone teens transformed our customary Spook Alley event into a haunted house on wheels, which traveled to each of our afterschool sites on October 30th.  

Leading up to the event, our Keystone Club teens decorated a Grenville Baker bus in various Halloween motifs and stuffed individual trick-or-treat goodbags for the children in our afterschool programChildren boarded the Haunted Bus one at a time to collect their treats. The trick, of course, was that a friendly-spirited “scare” awaited our candy gatherers as masked teens jumped out from behind the seats. Children exited the bus, treats in hand, to be greeted by Michelle Gallucci, our Bayville Site director, who was dressed up as a T-Rex 

To round out the afternoon, we organized games and activities, including pumpkin design contestscookie decorating, and a costume competition. Prizes went to Best Costume, Most Original, Funniest, and Scariest. G.Willikers of Locust Valley generously donated $10 gift cards to all of the winners!  

Other supporters of this wonderful event included the Changemakers Interfaith Groupa group of students from Syosset High Schoolthat donated Halloween goody bags to the kids at LV Reformed Church and Lou Brienza of Dunkin’ in Bethpage, who donated doughnuts and Munchkins for the kids to enjoy. 

The day was frightfully fun!  

Out of the City and Out to Sea – Teens Learn to Fish

Part of the joy of being a teenager is that one’s sense of growing curiosity starts to align with one’s ability to be more independent. At the Club, we recognize that as young people move toward adulthood, they benefit from new experiences that help them develop skills, confidence, and autonomy.  

One program that focuses on broadening the horizons for youth is our “City Club.” In past years, our Teen Director Stephanie Urio has led trips to New York City once a month to allow teens to see and experience museums, theater, historical sites, and cultural events, many for the first time. Each adventure is designed to offer teens a glimpse of the bigger world and all it has to offer them. Ultimately, the trips inspire them to dream of a career or develop a new passion or creative interest.  

With the onset of COVID 19, we had to rethink our program. Knowing that this has been a difficult time for our teens, with many of the rites of passage for this group altered or completely cancelled, our staff did not want to give up on our wonderful City Club program. Instead, Stephanie took the initiative to adjust and to adapt to the challenges of 2020. So instead of City Club trips, this fall, the members will be participating in our “Out of City” Club trips on a monthly basis – focusing on all Long Island has to offer. 

Learning to fish is fun and builds confidence.

The first “Out of City” Club outing was a fishing trip out of Captree State Park. Fighting their preference for sleeping late on a Saturday, eight teens rose with the sun on September 8th to board a boat on the south shore and go fishing! For many of our members, this was their first experience fishingOur staff and the crew showed the kids how to bait their hooks and how to cast… and encourage the kids to have patienceIt was a beautiful day out on the water and the kids started a friendly competition to see who could catch the most fish. Senior Joe Valli’s patience paid off with the winning tally of five.

While it doesn’t look like any of the members will become fishermen, they were thankful for the opportunity to try something new and experience a Long Island tradition! 

Interactive ‘FUN’-damentals

Experiential learning is just more fun! With some of our area schools operating in hybrid or modified formats, many children are spending significant time trying to learn sitting at a computer screen in a remote environment. At the Club, we know that “Zoom Time” can turn into “Zoned Out” time, so we are taking every opportunity to give kids the chance to benefit from in-person and interactive learning experiences at our after-school programs 

Where Math & Measuring Meets Cooking Fun!

Every Wednesday, our members have the chance to join in on our famous “Kids in the Kitchen” program, where they learn basic measurements

skills while learning about dry and wet ingredients. (Just like parents sneak vegetables into chicken nuggets… we sneak in a little mathematics into our cooking fun)The kids were delighted with the first project of the season: making Rice Krispies treats with a spooky twist for Halloween.  

Sometimes combining games and learning can be just the ticket: the sense of a little competition makes learning more fun. For kids in Kindergarten through Second grade, our K-5 Youth Development Director Carlos Pumar added a little competitive spirit for completing math worksheets. All the kids who correctly completed their math worksheets earned three tickets to “spend” at our “recognition store,” where kids can trade in tickets for novelty prizes and gamesKids with incorrect answers were given the extra help they needed to learn the concepts and get their tickets, too. 

Whether its math or reading, the Club always finds a way to connect with kids and make learning fun.