Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement by drawing attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things — such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry — and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.
Here in the Carson area, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada provide those quality afterschool programs and celebrates Lights on Afterschool annually with a visit from local dignitaries. This year Mayor Bob Crowell and Sheriff Kenny Furlong will stop by the club on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. to demonstrate the community’s support for the activities of the BGCWN.
While solid afterschool programming is at the core of the services BGCWN provides, the organization always is looking for ways to improve that programming for the benefit of children, parents and the community.
Currently undergoing a transformation, the BGCWN Board of Directors re-evaluated itself and came up with a new way — creating an advisory council — to reach the community with the goal of growing young leaders and incorporating more diversity within the clubs walls. As the next step toward improving programming, the BGCWN formed a new advisory council under its Board of Directors to unite the Carson City and Carson Valley Clubs under one board and one council serving two communities.
The goal of the advisory council is to provide community members an opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day functions and operations of the clubs and get involved with fundraising and advocacy in the community. While the advisory council has a fundraising role, the legal and fiduciary aspects remain with the Board of Directors.
“We are very excited about this evolution,” said Katie Leao, BGCWN’s executive director. “Establishing an advisory council creates more of a foundation and is the next step in making the club better, in serving more kids, and cultivating more advocates to benefit both children and our community by developing afterschool programs. This advisory council will help keep the lights on (afterschool) and our doors open.
“This has been a year in the making. We began strategic planning last January and decided we wanted a changing dynamic for the board and our clubs. With the council, we now are reaching the people we need to reach in the community: new donors and establishing new partnerships, without falling back on the same people and programs over and over again without innovation.”
As part of this overall transformation process, new programming begins in both the Carson City and Carson Valley Clubs in November. The games room will be closed from 3 to 5 p.m. while children sit down to homework in the learning center. Structured play begins at 5 p.m. in the games room with an icebreaker exercise to welcome new kids, a learning component incorporated into the fun activities and an opportunity to debrief and ask questions at the end.
Parents can expect to see a communications survey in the near future so the clubs may evaluate the methods in which it communicates with parents, with an eye toward improving that communication process.