By Craig Marx, Editor
As the end of the after-school season for the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) draws near, two, final events before the beginning of summer camps will bring in both support for the Club and acknowledge the amazing achievements of its members.
Beginning on Monday, the Club will offer its Culver’s Night promotion to restaurant-going contributors. Any purchase at Culver’s of Antigo on the night of May 16th will see 10 percent of the proceeds going to help support the organization’s Torch Club.
The Torch Club is one of the BGC’s main leadership groups with its members generally being between the ages 11 to 13 years old. With a relative degree of autonomy, the Torch Club is administered by its members through a variety of fundraising and community service projects aimed at not only leading towards a year-end trip but also instilling initiative and responsibility both fiscally and socially.
“Torch Club is a group of kids that are fifth grade and up where they basically get to run their club themselves,” April Kolpack, the BGC’s art instructor, noted. “They have a lot of say in what we do. There are certain areas that we have to hit like community service, academics, and healthy lifestyles. We’ve been reading to some of the younger kids. We did a highway clean up. We’ve also been doing a lot of fundraising to meet our goal of going on a trip at the end of the summer.”
The group has decided on a day trip to Appleton in a few months, including a visit to the beach and a trip to Xtreme Air, a massive trampoline complex featuring wall-to-wall jumping action. With help from the Culver’s Night promotion, the trip is well deserved for a Torch Club that generates almost all of its own group funds.
“They have to come up with their own fundraising. We have a certain amount of money in our account that we use to help buy the things needed to start fundraising, such as Seroogy’s bars and things like that. They’ve raised almost $800. In order to be qualified to go on the trip, they have to attend a certain number of meetings and contribute a certain amount fundraising. We have a solid group of about 10 kids that are qualified for the trip right now,” Kolpack added.
The Boys and Girls Club will also celebrate the end of the school year in style with its Day of Champions award show on Friday, May 20th. Judged by the Club’s staff, the event is a chance to recognize the members and their achievements through a variety of awards and prizes for multiple, different categories.
“For some of the kids, we have been keeping track of their sports statistics, like with dodgeball or kickball. For some of the other events, it’s just more about who stood out in your program and who has had some really impressive growth throughout the year. For our artist of the year, for instance, we’re not really grading their art, but we’re really looking who has been their consistently and who has had a great attitude and really taken some strides in developing those skills,” teen services coordinator David Harris explained.
“We also have the more game room things – double shot [basketball], carpetball – lots of different stuff. It’s not just sports. There are definitely academic awards too. We have an online learning program that helps the kids with their math skills, science, and reading. For our teens, for example, we have our career launch program and we will be recognizing a couple people who stood out for that. It’s all about career exploration and learning all the steps about what is after middle school and high school and what direction you are going in,” Harris said.
The Day of Champions will also be one of the Club’s quarterly Family Nights, where parents and siblings of the members are welcome to attend. In addition to the award show, a meal and the opportunity to win door prizes will be held for the families. The event itself is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“Right after Day of Champions is when we start our shutdown time, where we will actually be closed for two weeks. During that time, we get ready for our summer camp by doing some training and doing some building maintenance. We are closed from May 21st to June 6th. It’s our seventh annual summer camp and we are really excited,” Harris added.