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Summer programs suspended at Boys and Girls Club

Summer programming at the Boys and Girls Club was suspended by the organization's Board of Directors last week. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
May 28, 2020
LISBON — Last week, the Boys and Girls Club of the North Country announced their decision to suspend all summer camp programming at the Lisbon Clubhouse. According to BGCNC Executive Director Sara Shovlin, the decision was reached unanimously by the Board of Directors.

"We are trying to find other creative activities, whether it's a bike loaner program or socially distanced hikes as the summer goes on. We're still trying to think of some things that we can do," explained the director.

Shovlin said the decision was hyper-localized as every childcare organization assesses its capability to follow state-mandated guidelines. While a handful of other New Hampshire clubs remain open for emergency childcare services, many like BGCNC do not have the infrastructure to keep children safe and surfaces sterilized throughout a daylong program.

"There is no safe way for kids to congregate right now. Youth organizations have some very young kids and trying to keep them socially distanced would be a challenge. It's hard enough as an adult, let alone a five-year-old or a kid that might be homesick or need extra care. It's something that would be very difficult to do," continued Shovlin.

The director went on to say, "We will continue to keep an eye on the situation. If things change drastically for the better in the next month we will consider opening summer camp, even if it's only for a few weeks."

According to Shovlin, several North Country programs have participated in virtual meetings to discuss the best course of action. Unlike town-based recreation programs, BGCNC serves families from more than twenty communities in both New Hampshire and Vermont.

"We didn't feel like we would be serving our communities in the way that we would like to keep them safe if we were to open. All of the different towns really factored into our decision as well," explained the director.

Virtual programming established by the club in March will continue throughout the summer. While the clubhouse remains closed, the staff continue to work on interior improvements to the facility, including a new kitchen and updated lighting.

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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