By Craig Marx, Editor
The Antigo Times began covering the Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County back in early May of this year. After a more-than-successful summer camp and great start to its after-school season, attendance numbers continue to be on the rise for the Club as it moves through autumn.
“We recently, for the first time ever, averaged over 100 kids a day in our after-school program,” program director Dave Corcoran said. “I would say that we are exceeding expectations.”
Corcoran has been with the Club in Langlade County going on three years now. Upon his arrival, he noted that the Antigo-based program was most likely averaging 50 kids per day in their afternoon sessions. The Club, which is open in conjuction with the Unified School of District of Antigo’s schedule and provides for kids on school vacation days, struggled in the past to get children through the door on these non-school days. Things have changed, however.
“Our last non-school day here we had over 90 kids come out,” Corcoran added.
The school vacation days that the Club is open also has extended opportunities for members, including the service of breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.
The surge in attendance comes from the hard work that the Club staff puts in recruiting members at local schools. The entire staff goes to area schools and participates at recess with the children every Monday, while other staff members throughout the week frequent different schools while helping both students and teachers grow and gain more interest in Club membership.
Sometimes, word of mouth seems to have been the best way to help explain the elevated attendance.
“I think [our success] has been helped by people taking their time to see what we’re doing here for these kids. That really helps to keep people spreading positive stories [about the Club],” Corcoran said.
The work of the staff has been gaining both statewide and national recognition for the Langlade Club, including impressing visiting Clubs this past summer such as Menominee, Mich. Corcoran and April Kolpack, an art instructor for the Club, recently went to the Woodland Boys & Girls Club in Neopit to help try and inspire recruiting strategies, including new games and programs as well as the use of social media to get the word out about Club happenings.
The latest happening here in Antigo will be the Club’s “Haunted Tour.” The Club will be transformed into an expansive haunted house in which members must be ready to endure the chills and spooks provided by the staff. The Haunted Tour will take place on Friday, October 28th from 7:30 – 9:30 pm at the Club itself (411 Superior St. in Antigo).
Volunteers are still needed for the Haunted Tour in a variety of capacities, including everything from set up and take down to helping the Club staff create the chilling atmosphere inside the “haunted” building. Those interested can contact Dave Corcoran at (715) 627-1389 (ext. 5).