LOU Barksdale Boys & Girls Club to Open June 8

The entrance to LOU Barksdale Boys and Girls Club in Oxford. The club will reopen June 8. Photo by Lauren Davis.

Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi plans to reopen four of its clubs, including the LOU Barksdale Club in Oxford, on June 8.

When extended school closings were announced the week following spring break, the organization continued to support members and families by offering 8 a.m.-5 p.m. programming in a healthy, safe environment.

As recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention moved to groups of no more than 10 people, BGCNMS chose to temporarily close for the safety of its members and staff.

Director of Operations, Tonny Oliver, and his team of five full-time Unit Directors have worked hard to reach members virtually during the past eight weeks. With the help of part-time staff, online sessions posted on Facebook have continued to focus on key program areas of the movement – education, health and wellness, career development, the arts, character and leadership and sports and recreation.

“By engaging in virtual programming, we can continue to serve youth by developing, delivering and supporting positive youth development at a distance,” Oliver said.

While the programming will look different this summer due to COVID-19, the leadership of BGCNMS looks forward to a great summer filled with activities to keep members safe and engaged.

The organization recently surveyed parents on their needs during this time. Of those surveyed, more than 83% of parents feel comfortable allowing their children to return to their local Club in June. More than 86% said that an 8 a.m.-5 p.m. program would best support their needs, as a parent.

The organization will implement a 1 to 10 employee/Club member ratio; only serving a maximum of 50-60 Club members at each site. They will also enforce additional safety procedures to help eradicate the spreading of COVID-19.  Individual hot meals will be served daily.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The summer fee for the Oxford site is $125. Fees are pro-rated for siblings within the same household.

Membership applications may be downloaded at www.bgcnms.org/join-a-club.

The application, required documentation and summer fee may be returned to local clubhouses between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

BGCNMS receives nearly half of its operating budget through individual and corporate donations and special events. The Board of Directors is in the final stages of the 2020 Annual Campaign and has reached 82% of its $200,000 goal.  

With the reopening of Clubs in June and plans for an after-school program beginning in August, there will be additional costs for protective equipment for members and staff which makes the completion of this campaign even more important.

“We appreciate the support of our donors, parents, partners and staff in making what we do each day possible,” stated Long.  

For more information on Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi, visit www.bgcnms.org.

Staff report