Golden Apple: Bemidji Boys & Girls Club Expands to New J.W. Smith Elementary Site
The Boys & Girls Club of the Bemidji Area is able to grow and add additional students to their programs this year as a result of receiving a 21st Century Community Learning Center Program grant. J.W. Smith Elementary was included in the expansion, along with the addition of a kindergarten class to the site.
The shift from the main Boys & Girls Club building to J.W. Smith has gone smoothly. The main focus for the first couple of weeks is to make sure the students are comfortable and able to grow in the learning environment.
“So we are asking them to get out of their comfort zone, whether it’s the programs that we’re running from our national Boys & Girls Club, or it’s them working hard on their academics, whatever it is, we ask that they’re just working hard and trying their best,” said McKenna Rohe, 21st Century Coordinator with the Bemidji Boys & Girls Club.
In addition to providing more opportunities for the students, the funding created new positions for new and senior employees to occupy at the relocated site.
“Some of them are new and some of them are returning senior staff who know how we run our programs, know our expectations for how things should be run,” Rohe said.
With the program transitioning over, it has allowed the club to see how the students and staff will progress in the program together as a whole.
“I think it’ll be interesting to see how they develop and how much they grow throughout the year, because right now, obviously it’s like second or third week and they’re kind of still getting into the transition of things and getting into the swing of things,” said Boys & Girls Club Youth Coordinator Heather Werlein.