I was following the discussion the last couple of weeks regarding the possible closure of the after school programs at Olympia Middle Schools. Has there been any discussion about bringing the Boys and Girls Club into the formula?
Olympia, unlike Tumwater and Lacey, has no Boys and Girls Clubs. I would think that have one of two programs in Olympia would take pressure off of the city from having to provide after school alternatives.
Emmett, as I understand it the YMCA already provides these programs in the elementary schools by charging families (and allowing low income kids to participate free or at reduced rates). So while we seem to be ready to extend funding at WMS to keep the program going as is for the rest of the school year, we will be looking for other options. One might be for our Parks and Rec dept to continue to run the programs in middle schools but charge/administer a fee schedule. Another might be to engage a nonprofit like the Y or B and G clubs. Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in on this.
I know discussion has occurred as to whether or not OPARD is the best vehicle to deliver these services, and I heard YMCA mentioned at one point. I also know these are great services, and we want them to continue --- I'll pass on the bOys and Girls CLub idea, which I had not considered ...
Some individuals may not have a clear picture on how important a boys and girls club can be to a community. Our children are after all our future and should learn to be responsible community members from a young age. These clubs offer services to a wide range of economic and social backgrounds. This of course brings them all together under one roof, and with proper supervision and community support can provide an excellent learning enviornment for our children.
I am always a little uneasy when sending my children out in the community, however when I needed a safe place for them to go it was comforting to have a B and G club. Sometimes problems arose, but that happens anywhere. These were settled and usually provided some kind of learning experience for the kids and parents alike.
I think we need to remember, our children are in a community, the children they play with today may be the adult they work with tommorow. Every child derserves a chance to be a positive member in society. They need good role models. If the role model can not come from home maybe someone in the community can fill the empty space.
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