Boys & Girls clubs prepare for new school year
— After a tumultuous last two years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cecil County is hoping to make a fresh start when county clubs open for the school year on Tuesday.
The organization plans to have clubs open at North East Middle School, Charlestown Elementary School and the North East clubhouse, which is located next to NEMS. The clubhouse will be used by students from North East Elementary School, who Cecil County Public Schools will bus over, said Derek DeWitt, interim director of the organization.
“We’re really excited to expand our relationship with CCPS,” he said.
The program with NEES was drawing around 50 kids a day when it operated out of the school last year, but with the clubhouse renovations over the summer, it will now have its own space. The Charlestown Elementary program was drawing around 30 kids last year but DeWitt expects that number to increase. Similarly, he hopes to have between 30 and 40 kids attend the teen-geared programming at NEMS, DeWitt said.
But while the three clubs are a good start, DeWitt said the organization expects to announce more news about its clubs in mid-September, declining to elaborate further.
As recently as March 2015, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cecil County had five clubs operating around the county, with clubhouses in Elkton, North East
and Rising Sun and programming at Charlestown Elementary and at New East, an apartment community off Route 272 near North East. But in April 2015, the organization announced it would close the clubs in Elkton, Rising Sun and New East because of a $50,000 deficit.
Though the organization was able to continue with its summer 2015 programming, it was dealt another blow when its executive director Mary Jo Jablonski resigned in June 2015. Still without an executive director, BGCCC announced last January that it had signed a one-year management agreement where the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County would assist the BGCCC Board of Directors in the planning and execution of “strategic goals.”
As part of that agreement, DeWitt, formerly the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County director of operations, was appointed interim executive director.
Since then, the organization has been able to find its footing with DeWitt telling the North East town board in March that BGCCC was financially stable and hoped to reopen an Elkton club as soon as possible.
This past summer was also a good one for the organization with more than 100 county kids participating in its six-week Summer Enrichment program and more than a dozen teenagers in its Young Leaders Academy. The organization also hosted a National Night Out event at its North East clubhouse and had three students participate in the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation’s Badges for Baseball Camp.
Families interested in signing their children up for any of the clubs can call 410-920-7763 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is $25 per student per month.
The North East Boys & Girls clubhouse was fixed up over the summer and will now host students from North East Elementary School this school year.