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Building Membership of After School Programs

Did you know that every day, after school, approximately 15 million school aged kids do not have a place to go that has adult supervision? I bet your reaction is similar to ours. Wow, that is a lot of kids! If we flashback fifty years ago, this statistic may not be as frightening because we felt that times were different; a safer different. However, today it is more alarming to have kids roaming the streets after school. They are exposed to violence that has become prevalent at younger and younger ages. They have access to substances that lead to unhealthy habits with just a little persuasion from a “friend". So we can agree that times are different and we don’t want our kids, or other young people in the community for that matter, wandering into a life of dangerous habits. But, what do we do, as program leaders, to encourage young people that we care about to venture away from these risky behaviors?

Involve the kids who don’t have a place to go in our Clubs! I know, this is always the ultimate goal. Involve more kids! Year after year you try to get more kids to come to your after school programs but the same kids show up; which is great. You really should be proud that you have a core group of members that are there any time the doors open. However, we want to help more young people and encourage them to become members of the Club. Again, I bet your reaction in similar to ours. How can we even begin to recruit more members if we haven’t been able to reach them before?

Start by taking the time to reflect. Have you used the same marketing plan for the past two years or even the past ten years? We can all relate to the fact that times change and can do so quickly. What you used to recruit and retain members last school year may need minor changes for this school year. Make note of your strengths and weaknesses. This can give you a starting point of what changes need to be made. Include your staff in the process of brainstorming strategies to capitalize on your strengths and build your weaknesses. Sometimes two, or more, brains really are better than one!

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County Discover Ways to Continue Education in the Summer

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County in Great Falls, MT consider themselves to be imaginative thinkers who create fun and engaging activities that are heavily infused with educational elements. The goals of making Club activities appear less like school work has become their driving force.

“When our members are elbow-deep, hands on, jumping in and experiencing activities through multiple intelligences, they are far more likely to gain the hidden agenda of education,” says Amy Langel-Braulick, the Club’s Westside Unit Director.

Hiding a learning experience in an exciting activity or game has proven to be the best route for continuing education through the summer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cascade County. With this philosophy guiding their efforts, it is simple to apply wherever needed. Also used for ultimate success are Montana’s Core Curriculum Standards and the multitude of evidence-based programs and services Boys & Girls Clubs of America makes available. A classroom is not needed for their approach. Learning disguised as fun happens in every nook and cranny of this Club so why not yours!

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Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG