Boys and Girls Club: Expanding to Rockland
Story by Dan Hust
LIVINGSTON MANOR May 3, 2013 Starting next week, the Sullivan County branch of the Town of Wallkill Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) will open a Youth Recreation Program in heretofore-unserved Livingston Manor and Roscoe.
BGC Executive Director Alexis Eggleton, herself a Roscoe native, said the activities games, art classes, cooking projects, outdoor trips, dance lessons and more will begin on May 10 at Roscoe Central School and on May 17 at Livingston Manor Central School.
Though only on specific Fridays this spring and Saturdays this summer, it’s a significant expansion of a program already active in Monticello, Liberty and Fallsburg.
“This expansion was made possible because the community has put so much support behind the programs,” said Eggleton. “From the Rockland Town Board to the administration at Roscoe and Livingston Manor schools, Rolling V Transportation’s offer to assist with busing the Club kids, to the generous donations of time and resources from volunteers and private donors, everyone got involved and actively supported an expansion of the Clubs to serve Town of Rockland youth. This support leads to greater stability and sustainability.”
The schools are providing free space and equipment, while the township has chipped in $2,000, to be matched by BGC. Another $2,000-$3,000 is being raised to ensure an array of activities in 2013.
State education grants are being sought as well.
“In January, [Roscoe Supt.] John Evans brought us in on a NYSDOE [NYS Dept. of Education] grant application with Roscoe, Livingston Manor and Downsville schools, and in February, [Rockland Supervisor] Ed Weitmann reached out to see if we could work on a recreation program,” Eggleton explained. “These two phone calls, and the significant support we received from the Town of Rockland at the Sullivan Celebrity Dinner, were key indicators that there was strong community support for the Clubs, and so we moved forward on launching the recreation program.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids in the Town of Rockland,” said RCS Supt. Evans, who longingly recalled programs that had been lost to past district budget cuts. “There’s a definite need for it in our communities.”
“We are absolutely delighted,” remarked LMCS Supt. Deborah Fox. “... This is a great chance for our students to try new, fun activities and expand their experiences with activities and adventures they might not have access to otherwise.”
It’s not a town program, said Rockland Supervisor Weitmann, but as they’ve done with Little League and other youth activities, the town is putting $2,000 of its recreation fund into the pot.
“It’ll be a small start,” Weitmann acknowledged. “As we get things built up, we want to expand it. ... There is so much more that could be a part of this.”
Four Rockland residents have already been hired to coordinate the offerings, including Program Leader Nicole Bishop.
Two paid aide positions and various volunteer opportunities are available for responsible adults interested in sharing their talents and skills (i.e., cooking, hiking, music) with the 100 or so kids BGC expects to serve.
Those who’d rather donate funds can do so through the BGC’s website at www.bgcorange.org (click the Donate button, then specify it’s for the Rockland Recreation program).
And this is just the beginning, promised Eggleton.
“We’re currently in a grant process with the Roscoe and Livingston Manor school districts that would provide for full-schedule Clubs in the schools beginning in Fall 2013,” she affirmed. “We are optimistic about our application and hope to find out by June. If not, the Clubs will continue to grow the program offerings as funding allows.”