Boys & Girls clubs pre­pare for new school year

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

CE­CIL COUNTY

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 ad­min@my­bgcc.org. Regis­tra­tion is $25 per stu­dent per month.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

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.

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