“In 2011, we took a step back to take a look at all the programs and activities we were offering our members,” Keenan said. “We wanted to be able to make the biggest impact we possibly can on our members and offer them programs where they can take these skills that they learn at the club and use them outside the club.”
Using the Boys and Girls Club of America’s “Formula for Impact” approach, club officials reworked offerings to provide age-appropriate programs built around achieving academic success, good character and healthy lifestyles.
“We also looked at our staff to see that we had the right people in each program,” Keenan said. “We hired new staff and recruited some quality volunteers who now oversee our photography, math mentoring and dance programs. Programming was the key piece, as well as significantly improving our facility to make it more appealing to today’s youth.”
Among the popular new programs have been robotics, science exploration, digital arts, theater, dance and gardening. This year, more new features come into play, he said, including model building and woodworking, sewing, puppetry, family nights, art mentoring, music composition and animation on iMacs, as well as cooking basics with the 99 Restaurant and new programs geared toward girls.
The money raised from the Beatlejuice fundraiser will underwrite the costs of providing these popular programs for the club’s members, Keenan said.
Keenan also believes the slow economy contributed to the increase in student participation at the club, as parents looked for affordable ways to provide their children with a safe place to spend time while outside of school.
Only 6 percent of the club’s annual budget comes from the $25 membership fee that families pay annually. More than 36 percent comes from fundraising efforts and donations, and 57 percent is funded by grants.