West Valley Boys and Girls Club locations are open this summer to support their families, though with changes in protocol due to COVID-19.
“It’s a relatively typical experience but with a lot more precautions and a lot more cleaning,” said Cassidy Campana, vice president of communications and external affairs.
To start each day, members at all locations, including those open in the West Valley, will scan in as usual. Then they will wash their hands and have their temperatures taken.
Any member or staff with a temperature above 100.4 degrees or visible signs of sickness will not be allowed to continue into the club for the day. Those who come in will be kept in groups of nine kids per activity and spread throughout the facility to adhere to social distancing requirements.
Other protocols involve the members washing their hands or applying hand sanitizer throughout the day as well as frequent cleaning of the building and frequently touched surfaces.
Maricopa County requires masks in public as of June 20.
With protocols in place, Campana said, “We can be that place where they can have a little bit of school, have some fun, have some physical activity and be safe.”
For the summer, youth programs for ages 6 to 12 are held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and teen programs for ages 13 to 18 are held from noon to 6 p.m.
Fees range from $60 to $80 per week. Scholarships are available for qualified families for summer programming thanks to a grant from Valley Auto Dealers Association. Visit bgcaz.org for more information.
“The fact that they stepped up with a really significant $240,000 investment in financial aid is a game changer for so many families,” Campana said.
Each club offers a nutritious breakfast and lunch with no additional fee.
Campana said most programming and activities have been kept the same. These activities include but are not limited to academic activities, art, sports, recreation and science, technology and math (STEM).
Campana said every club is a little different. They try to offer the activities that the kids in the specific club will be interested in.
Two notable exceptions to regular summer activities are no field trips this summer and an extra hour of academic enrichment has been added to the day.
“So many of the kids we serve don’t have internet at home, they don’t have computer access at home, and so if we can give them a couple hours a day of extra enrichment to keep them on track for the fall, all the better,” she said.
Although the facilities are only operating at 50% capacity this summer, Campana explained that everyone felt it was important to stay open and continue serving the families who needed them.
“Our parents have been incredible,” she said. “But for those who we rely on to keep us safe, we really felt like it was critically important that we stay open.”
With the stress of the pandemic still in the air, Campana has been telling her staff how imperative it is to make this the “best summer ever.”
She felt like they have all listened and said, “There are more fun activities, more theme weeks, more superhero days, more pajama days than ever.
“The club is that safety net where kids come, they feel safe, they are with adults who care about them, they are with friends, and it has got a lot of structure to it,” Campana said.
West Valley Boys and Girls Club locations:
Jerry & Helen Wisotsky Branch
11820 N. 81st Avenue, Peoria
Louis & Elizabeth Sands Branch
4730 W. Grovers Avenue, Glendale
Swift Kids Branch
6420 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale