Boys & Girls Club Blog

Doing Whatever it Takes to Improve the Lives of Children and Families

(Article was featured in the Fall 2021 Newsletter)

Over the summer, CEO Tracy Ogden unveiled the exciting news of the Club’s plans to expand and remodel the building, located at 501 E. Parkway. The Club has served our community for over 50 years by keeping to our mission of improving the lives of children and families. In the last few years, we’ve seen a larger need to meet the “improve the lives of families” part of our mission.

We are the largest agency in Oshkosh that provides basic needs to our Club members and their families. We provide onsite showers, clothing support, hygiene supply support, back to school support, rental and bill assistance, meals, mental health services and more, all for an annual fee of only $25 per child. We try to make sure families who are receiving these services are then working their way to self-sufficiency. In the last few years, the number of kids we are serving is growing. We serve about 1,800 children each year through direct service and we want to keep serving as many of Oshkosh’s youth as possible. Each summer, we end up with a waiting list of over 100 kids. We added a second site last summer. For this summer, we have 2 sites but again will have a waiting list for our program. Also, we recently partnered with the school district to bus children from full after-school care sites to the Club after-school to make sure we are serving all children who need us the most. We also took a look at how our kids were spread out across our building and found that 80% of our members (ages 6-12) use only 50% of the building. We want to be able to change this so our members are more evenly spread out.

Because of these needs, the Club will begin a new capital project, its first in over 17 years. The building project, led by contractor, CR Meyer, will be made up of 5 parts:

(1) New Building which will be split into 3 parts:

a. A community center space for other local agencies to come together to collaborate to better serve those who need us most in Oshkosh including Club families. We are working with a number of agencies to bring them with their own offices so they can talk to clients one on one and then also have some conference room/general space in case groups want to meet or there are larger meetings. Our ultimate goal is to have all the agencies in the space working together so a client has a one-stop shop for their needs and all agencies are sharing data on the progress of clients and other issues they are seeing. The community space will have 2 stories. We are using the model of Leaven in Menasha for what we want our community center to be.

b. A new administrative wing because the current administrative wing will be turned into programming space for middle school age children (ages 10-12).

c. A second floor for a teen center space so the teens (ages 13-18) have their own space separate from the elementary and middle school age children.

(2) An expansion of the classroom space in the Radford Center part of our building, which houses ages 6-10. Currently, the Club can serve 40 children in our classrooms (10 children per classroom). With the expansion, we will be able to build out the four classrooms on the north side of the building, doubling the size of each classroom. This will give us the space to serve 80 children.

(3) The Club’s current Teen Center will be renovated and modernized along with the current administrative offices to create more program space for middle school aged children (ages 10-12) and gives us more opportunities for middle school specific programming.

(4) The adjoining building that Head Start leases from the Club, will go through a renovation of all 3 floors per Head Start’s request. They are looking to go from 4 classrooms to 6 classrooms that the Club will utilize during non-school hours to allow more space for our 6-year-old members. This renovation will also allow us to shift their entrance to Monroe St. and have a circle drive for added safety as children enter and exit the building.

(5) In addition, a second gym and a new outdoor space including a new playground, a courtyard, and an all-purpose field will be added to better accommodate the 300 plus children the Club serves daily. Through this project, the Club will have a campus whose purpose is to be a community hub for all community members who need assistance working towards self-sufficiency.

We have taken the last 3 years to develop this plan. We started with asking local community organizations including the Oshkosh Police Department, Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Oshkosh Area United Way and the city, to see if we were in the right location. Ultimately, we found we were still in the perfect location to serve children and families that were in the most need. We plan to do Whatever it Takes to continue our mission
of improving the lives of children and families!

(click on image to expand)