Boys and Girls Club offering a social platform to all children regardless of membership
The Carter County branches of the Boys and Girls Club are offering their MyFuture program this summer for club members and children who are not club members.
MyFuture is a mobile friendly social platform that provides children access to multiple Boys and Girls activities in areas including leadership, STEM and art. The platform gives kids and teens a chance to connect with their friends, learn new skills, earn rewards and compete in contests. The programs on MyFuture are available to everyone, whether or not they’re a club member.
“You can use it anywhere, any time and on any device,” Amy Miller with the Boys and Girls Wilson unit said. “You don’t have to be a club member to participate, and this is something that should be shared. MyFuture was designed for really great user experiences. There are tons of activities on it for kids that they can do at home.”
Miller said MyFuture allows Boys and Girls club staff to create events for kids and connect them with kids from other Boys and Girls club units or those who aren’t members.
“This is just a good way for us to spread our message,” Miller said. “There’s always contests involved with it, but this is our big thing for this summer. We’re trying to really bust this out because it helps to engage the kids that are at home with their parents. Or if they’re at home without their parents, and they have nothing to do.”
Miller said that the pandemic made it harder for them to serve kids. Last summer, the club went from having around 120 participate to only being able to serve 25. The Carter County branches still had a difficult time keeping their numbers up even when school started.
“However, we have overcome that right now,” Miller said. ”Our numbers are actually really good. This summer I have more kids than I have had in previous summers before COVID. We’re up in numbers and we’re over where we were before we started before COVID. We’re actually doing pretty good.”
The organization was able to get back to their normal numbers Miller said because they stuck to CDC protocols. They implemented policies like cleaning between sessions, sanitizing and checking temperatures.
“We had to make rules where kids may not be able to play with a particular device or toy any longer because it can’t be disinfected as easily,” Miller said. “Overall, preparing for the numbers to be bigger, this year, I just put in my mind that we were going to be what we were before COVID and just push forward.”
As they work to get more kids into the club, Miller said the Carter County Boys and Girls branches are offering many programs this summer. The Wilson unit has partnered with the Grace Center and the Ardmore unit partnered with a bank to offer money matters, a financial literacy course for teens.
In addition to money matters, the club is also offering a junior staff program for teens, 13 - 18 years old, aimed at developing a strong work ethic, a sense of community engagement and interpersonal skills and teaching a health fitness and self-esteem enhancement program called Smart Girls for girls in three different age groups.
“The MyFuture thing is kind of a big thing for us right now,” Miller said. “That’s our way to reach out to the kids that are not around us and are still at home.”