Boys & Girls Club cancels major fundraiser but prepares to open next week
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado provides child care, education and fun for the youth of Routt and Moffat counties, and in order to keep doing that, they’re going to need some help.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado had to cancel one of its largest fundraisers of the year — the Be Great Bash, which was scheduled for June 25 at Four Points Lodge.
Rather than go without the fundraiser, the organization has launched a Be Great Campaign, an online donation program to try to make up some of the critical funding they would have generated at the event. Grants, donations, memberships and day fees help fund the club, but the Be Great Bash is the major fundraiser for the organization, generating about 30% of the Steamboat Springs club’s annual budget.
A few generous donors have pledged to match all donations up to $125,000. If the campaign reaches $250,000, the organization will come close to the amount typically raised. As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised $183,239 of the $250,000 goal.
“The funding is so important that the committee and the board decided to hold the event virtually and turn it into a campaign rather than an event,” said Executive Director Dana Duran.
The 2019 Be Great Bash funded the club’s STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics — program, which positively affected more than 500 members. The club hopes to continue the program, but right now, health screenings, additional supplies and mitigation protocols, which are required because of COVID-19, are demanding more financial attention.
The campaign has already begun and will conclude June 25. Donors can go to bgcnwc.org/donate to contribute, call the club at 970-871-3162 or mail a check to P.O. Box 776410, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.
Despite being closed, the club still provided virtual services to more than 1,000 area kids and gave away 1,500 “busy bags” filled with activities that were handed out alongside free lunches. Now, the club plans to open on Monday, June 22, to offer in-person activities but will start with small groups as they adjust to new requirements.
“We’re looking to start slow, so we can make sure we can meet the guidelines with social distancing and wearing masks, but all in a really fun and engaging environment for the kids that come to the club,” Duran said.
To help ensure it meets and maintains those standards, the Boys & Girls Club hired an industrial hygienist. The hygienist has also helped staff come up with creative ways to teach social distancing to young kids, such as suggesting putting various animals or toys between them to help show what 6 feet looks like.
As the new health order states, masks will be required inside at all times, but if the participants are outside getting exercise and social distancing, they may take off their masks.
Dana said that despite all the changes to how the club will operate, her biggest challenge has been turning people away.
For the first time ever, there was a registration process. There were so many applicants, a lottery was used to choose the first group of kids.
“It has been the very hardest thing I have ever done, and the club has ever done — to limit the number of kids that come into the building in such a significant way,” Duran said. “We’re looking to serve less than half the kids we normally serve, and it’s going to cost us the same amount of funds because of the new requirements.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Colorado updated its guidance for masks in schools Friday, suggesting school districts in the state should consider masks for the unvaccinated and, in areas of higher transmission like Routt County, masks for everyone.