A staple in the Milford community for several decades, the Boys & Girls Club celebrated their ninth year in their new location off Airport Road this January. Programs at the Club are geared toward helping kids develop into productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The Milford Club is aimed at changing the lives of not only the children who attend every day but also their families and the community at large.
This year the Greater Milford Boys & Gils Club retained its 5-Stars Superior rating from the Delaware Stars for Early Success Program. Delaware Stars is a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) which is used to assess, improve and communicate the level of quality in early care and education and school-age settings. “This standard means that we can look every parent in the eye and say we have the highest standards and quality of service in the state of Delaware,” said Director of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club
Tod Van Eyken. “Our focus on after school enrichment, healthy lifestyles and safety regulations create an environment that inspires and enables young people to be leaders in their community.”
In addition to providing daily guidance and mentoring, the Club offers structured programming throughout the year which has supported improved academic performance and attendance of Milford Club kids in local elementary, middle and high schools. According to Director Tod Van Eyken, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club provides over $75,000 per year in financial scholarships, which is 5% of their annual budget. Van Eyken stated that the Annual Fund Campaign assists local families by creating some form of financial assistance for more than seventy percent of the children currently enrolled in the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club.
“These scholarships are essential to grow our enrollment and fulfill our mission to create productive citizens for the future of our community,” commented Van Eyken. “We encourage all of our kids to realize their potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.”
The Milford Boys & Girls Club began its partnership with the community in their downtown location on Front Street. Although the facility served the Club well, the Board of Directors desired a space where kids could be introduced to more activities including a swimming pool and a full size gymnasium. With a capital campaign led by Bob Voshell, Chairman of the campaign, and Kate Marvel, President of the Board of Directors, an unprecedented $7 million was raised to build the 36,000 square foot facility that now stands off Airport Road in Milford. The capital campaign included a group of community leaders including David Burton, Ed Steiner, Richard Johnson, Linda Chick Harvey Kenton and Taube Carpenter. The new location in the Independence Commons industrial park was suggested by City Manager Richard Carmean. This location allowed for growth and a working partnership with Milford Parks & Recreation, who maintained fields for youth and adult sports leagues.
In an effort to establish the Milford Club as a community center in the Greater Milford Area, in addition to serving school-aged children, the Club has recently expanded its facility and services to include a full size fitness center, adult basketball and adult soccer leagues and water aerobic classes. The Richard Y. Johnson Aquatic Center is also home to the Milford High School Buccaneers Swim Team, the Club’s own Milford Marlins Swim Team and is the only Boys & Girls Club in Delaware to offer swimming scholarships through the Michael Phelps Foundation. These community services are made available to Greater Milford Area residents year-round through support from the Annual Fund Campaign.
In 2018, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club will continue to work with the Milford School District to develop school sites that offer the same programming at Mispillion and Lulu Ross Elementary Schools. “Our priority remains on providing assistance to the children in our community,” said Van Eyken. “The school site partnerships will allow us to reach outside of our physical building and help local kids after school.”
The Club will continue its successful teen program that began in 2013. Dubbed Teen TITAN (Taking Initiative, Teens Acting Now), the program offers local teens a safe atmosphere to interact with other teens on Friday nights from 7 pm to 12am. While at The Club off Airport Rd in Milford, DE, teenagers can take full advantage of what the Boys & Girls facility has to offer including the Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball courts, fitness center, arts and crafts center, gaming room and open gym.
“It is a positive outlet for character building, physical activity and education on a Friday night,” said Van Eyken. “We address teen pressures like bullying and interaction on social media and help them build lasting relationships with their peers.”
Businesses and individuals interested in supporting the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club can reach the Club at (302) 422-4453. For more information, individuals are encouraged to visit the organization online at https://www.bgclubs.org/locations/greater-milford-boys-girls-club/
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