Shaelynn Miller, contributing writer
A group of children walked onto the Bear River High School grounds. They held their banner high, and the crowd chanted, “Logan! Logan! Logan!” Children of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah were participating in the opening ceremony for their own Olympic games.
All their activities, such as this one, fall under five core areas: character and leadership development, education and career development, fine arts, fitness and recreation, and health and life skills. Jenny Schulze of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah said children lose three months of learning over the summer, so they provide learning challenges to help them keep up.
Jenny said they structure their activities to provide “hands-on learning,” giving them opportunities to learn new skills. The club is open after school and all day through the summer. Jenny says this gives parents a peace of mind, which comes from parents knowing their children are being taken care of, and the knowledge that the club has a consistent after-school program.
“I think it’s a real need in Logan,” she said. “It strengthens a community when parents don’t have that stress.”
Years ago, Jenny was able to witness how the Boys & Girls Club gave one mother peace of mind. She was sitting at the front desk when she saw a woman walk in. Her marriage had just ended, she had no support from her ex-husband and she was unemployed. A neighbor suggested she look into the Boys & Girls Club.
“She could trust us,” Jenny said. “We were going to be there and take care of her kids.” Jenny said the mother was able to get a job, and her children are now in college.
“We have the opportunity to help all families, and it makes a huge difference,” she said. “All parents and families deserve that peace of mind, and that’s what we do, and what we offer.”
The club has helped 372 children in Cache Valley this year, and in return, Cache Valley helps the club. “We have a great community,” Jenny said. “We are involved in the community, and the community supports us, too,” she said. “It’s a partnership.”
One activity where the whole community gets together is the annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Fair. Last year, they had 70 booths with presentations from different businesses and high school groups, which included the science of making cheese by Schreiber Foods and the science of fire by the fire marshals.
The next STEM fair is open to the public and held at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds on Nov. 4. The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Utah will celebrate 20 years in November, and one thing Jenny said they always need are volunteers and mentors for the young kids. To volunteer, contact one of their locations in Brigham City, Logan or Tremonton.
They always welcome donations. Jenny said things like egg cartons, paper plates and pop bottles can be turned into a craft.
Even going out to lunch can benefit the club. “Even Stevens Sandwiches has adopted us,” Jenny said, “It has been a life saver.” When you buy a sandwich at Even Stevens, you can donate by telling them you allocate your sandwich to the Boys & Girls Club.
“We would not be as strong without support from the community, Jenny said. “The support is growing here.”