In responding to COVID-19, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson and the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce are collaborating to provide teens with a summer day camp focused on workforce readiness and summer fun. It’s called The Mine and it is housed in the former Red Cross office which has been vacant since late 2014.
As the Boys & Girls Clubs worked carefully to plan its summer programs amid changing requirements on group gathering sizes, it appeared unlikely the clubs would be able to serve teens during the day this summer, but club professionals believe in the importance of teens having a productive and engaging way to spend their out-of- school hours.
Skip Wilson, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson, approached the Chamber about working together.
"Since I started working at the Chamber, one of my driving passions has been to increase entrepreneurship and youth entrepreneurship opportunities in our county," said Debra Teufel, president of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce.
"When I first met Skip in 2017, he immediately introduced me to their EPIC Skillz career program for middle-school students. I have always seen the potential for a partnership. COVID-19 made it happen sooner."
The two agencies worked together to ready the site in time for its opening date on June 15. Walls were repainted in vibrant club colors. The clubs brought in recreation activities and comfortable furniture. The Chamber donated conference tables and chairs.
"I always say our work is about relationships. Our goal is to provide opportunities for young people. That’s only possible with the help of our community," said Skip Wilson.
"It was refreshing to see how quickly this came together. Now each morning I look forward to seeing 35 teens engaging in hands-on career learning and participating in recreational activities. Members enjoy a variety of programs in academics, character and health, including yoga, weekly book club, and recreational activities such as ping pong and basketball. Without the Chamber this would have been a very different summer for our youth."
The daily teen program at The Mine focuses on employability skills, career exploration and personal branding. Career lessons are complemented with trips into local businesses to meet business professionals and see career opportunities firsthand. The clubs hope the program at The Mine will spark occupational interest for local teens, while giving them a productive, fun and safe place to spend their summer.
Learn more about programs and activities offered by Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson at bgchutch.com or by calling 620-665-7171. If your business would like to host a tour or sponsor career programming, contact Skip Wilson at email@example.com.
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.