Boys & Girls Club Blog

Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh Welcomed Back Youth on June 1st

The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh officially opened for summer on Monday, June 1st after being closed this Spring for the longest stretch of time (11 weeks total) ever experienced in its 50-year history beginning in mid-March and continuing through the end of May.

Some things are the same as they are every summer: free breakfast, lunch and snack are still being served, fun and engaging Club programs are being run as usual by highly trained, caring and professional staff and there are still special outdoor experiences taking place at the Club’s day camp in New London, Camp Radford. Many things, however, as you can imagine, look very different this summer.

One of the biggest ways in which the Club looks different is that facilities, both at the Parkway Ave. and Broad St. Clubhouse as well as the new summer location at Peace Lutheran Church, are only operating at half capacity in order to follow regulations and recommended precautionary measures set forth by the Winnebago County Health Department and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Families who had pre-registered for summer were welcomed to the Club on a first-come first served basis. Also, a big shift for this summer is the Club’s hours of operation which are 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The Club is closed this summer on Fridays so the building can be sanitized and so that staff are able to have program preparation time.

Besides operating on a smaller-scale and adjusting operating hours, the Club has also put measures in place to ensure limited contact between members. Youth are assigned to a group with ten or fewer members and each group stays together throughout the summer with their home base in one program room/area throughout the day with the same staff member present. Meals are served in program rooms rather than in a cafeteria setting. Anyone who enters the building is required to first record their temperature and ensure they do not have any Covid-19-like symptoms. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the building and staff are also encouraged to wear masks.

There are still recesses in the day for youth to go outdoors and play games on the Club’s baseball diamond and day visits to Camp Radford with balloon fights, campfires, capture the flag and frog hunting being even more treasured this summer than they usually are as field trips to offsite locations are not possible.

“We wanted to make sure that when we opened, we were ready, that we were prepared to serve youth and families in the safest way possible while our community continues to navigate a pandemic,” explained Director of Club Operations, Lindsay Clark. “It’s tough not being able to do many of things that symbolize the Club in summertime, but we are excited to be together again and after so many weeks of being closed, finally having the sounds of kids in the building again and seeing all of their smiling faces, is such a welcoming experience.”

During the 11-week closure, many rooms may have been empty and dark, but Club staff were still working tirelessly behind the scenes to meet needs with through basic needs support, distance learning support, virtual programming, relationship building and keeping things fun for Club members and their families.

The Club worked alongside the Oshkosh Area School District to prevent learning loss by providing virtual tutoring for kids in grades 1-12 using technology including Zoom and Google Classroom.

The Club provided fun activities, health challenges and virtual learning opportunities for youth in weekly emails and on the Club’s social media channels.

The Club’s Great Futures Mentoring Program continued to hold virtual Zoom meetings between matches on a regular basis with a full-staff member present for each meeting for extra safety.

During the months of April and May the Club distributed weekly meal boxes (4 meals/snacks) for over 270 kids and adults, totaling about 8,000 boxes. Along with the meal boxes, the Club also provided families with activity kits with supplies for simple and engaging activities, crafts and experiments.

If you would like to help the Club continue to provide critical services to youth and families in Oshkosh, here are ways you can help during this time. The Club is in need of the following.

  • Financial gifts: donate online here. Your gift will help relieve financial strain, provide meals, snacks and a safe place for kids/teens to go while parents work extra hours when the Club opens again.
  • Non-perishable food items for our Little Free Pantry on 532 Broad Street
  • Hygiene/household supplies: toothpaste/brushes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, hand soap (needed badly), bar soap, hand sanitizer, hair detangler, laundry soap, dish soap, spray cleaner (needed badly), paper towel and toilet paper.
  • Grocery and gas gift cards.
  • Medical masks and gloves.

Donations can be dropped off outside of the Club’s Administrative Offices entrance between 7 am – 5 pm Monday-Thursday. If you would like a donation receipt, please email Angie Koepke (angelak@bgcosh.org) a list of your donated items, your name and your physical address and she will mail you out a receipt.

With your support, we will continue to restore a feeling of safety, give youth fun things to experience, reverse learning loss and continue to meet basic needs.

50 years of building great futures

photograph of girls at club

Sunday, August 30th, 2020
2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

100% of the proceeds from the Block Party on Broad event will go to support the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh