Boys & Girls Club looking for partnerships in Comox Valley

The Boys & Girls Club in the Comox Valley continues to grow and evolve through its programs and community partnerships.

THE BOYS & GIRLS Clubs of Central Vancouver Island's Robin Smart

The Boys & Girls Club in the Comox Valley continues to grow and evolve through its programs and community partnerships.

“We’re really excited about our position this year with our camps and our after-school and before-school programs and our partnerships in a whole,” Robin Smart says of the Comox Valley Club.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island, (BGCCVI) director of human resources and programs also notes the Comox Valley Club has two locations for its summer program this year.

“We have a bus, we’re to be taking those kids all around the Valley and exposing them to a lot of the Comox Valley community,” she continues.

“We’re also looking at partnerships this year with our programs, partnerships anywhere between the school district and Crown Isle for golf lessons for the kids, to working with a local soccer league to see if we can get some junior coaches in to help run some coach clinics and soccer clinics for our program — we’re looking at having some really exciting adventures…”

She adds the club has expanded its before- and after-school care programs, now offering them at Brooklyn and Aspen Park elementary schools.

Aspen Park was expanded with the addition of a portable for younger student care besides the multi-purpose room for the older students.

“We’re really excited about having a standalone location (in the portable) now, which provides us much more flexibility for summer, spring break — we don’t have to work within the school parameters,” she explains, adding the program at Brooklyn reached maximum capacity and the club has had to ask for more space.

Meanwhile, BGCCVI executive director Ian Kalina says the club is really starting to focus on partnerships with other groups in the community in an effort to meet community need.

“We provide services based on what community needs are; we’re not here to try and interfere with what other efforts that are going on,” he says.

“A big piece of what the Boys & Girls Club is about as an organization, our organization in particular, is about partnerships. So when we start looking at social issues and social needs, no one group can do it anymore, the RCMP can’t do it, school districts can’t, youth justice, mental health…So we get into discussions with school districts and municipalities more so now than ever before.”

Besides child-care programs, mentoring programs and a youth leadership program, the Comox Valley club is a leader in parenting programs, according to parent services co-ordinator Melanie Rockwell.

Parenting Together is the club’s core parenting program offering support and education to parents of teenagers. It was started here about 20 years ago and runs weekly from September to June.

Parenting Without Power Struggles is a 10-week education and group support program for parents of teens, with a focus on support. Parents in the Know was just launched in the fall and is similar to Parenting Without Power Struggles, but focuses more on education.

Rockwell adds the club is getting ready to launch a fourth parenting program, which is as yet unnamed.

“It will be for parents of pre-teens, you know, typically eight to 13, and will run concurrently with the youth,” says Rockwell.

“It’s using the core of our Parenting Without Power Struggles and connecting it with a youth component program that will run for 10 weeks also, so that the parents can have their children engaged in a program and they will learn things, a lot of really relevant and important things for that age and stage.”

She notes the club has never done a combination teen-and-adult program like this before, and she’s very excited.

“It’s so ideal in that the lessons that we are teaching each of them can be supported by each of them, ultimately, and reinforced at home,” adds Rockwell.

Meanwhile, Smart notes registration is open for the club’s 11th annual Comox Valley Golf Tournament — which will be on May 23 at Crown Isle. She says the golf tourney is a very important fundraiser for the club. It raised nearly $20,000 last year.

Registration costs $125 per person. To register or for more information on the tournament or club in general, visit and click on the ‘Comox Valley Club’ or call 250-338-7582.

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