Summer brings with it the expectation of long days, short nights and sunshine. For working moms and dads, it also brings the stress of childcare for their school aged children. Fortunately for the families of Hobbs, the perfect solution is the summer program at the Boys and Girls Club of Hobbs.
The Boys and Girls Club, founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861 as by Elizabeth Hamersley and sisters Mary and Alice Goodwin, has grown to have local clubs in every state as well as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. People across all spectrums of life have been influenced by the nonprofit programs offered by the Boys and Girls Club (B&GC), from Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington to doctors, lawyers and United States senators.
The Boys Club of Hobbs was established in 1964. In 2015 a new building went up at 301 W. Broadway, built with help from a grant provided by the Maddox Foundation.
“Kids need a place to go, and we have 250-300 kids every day during our summer program,” said Hobbs B&GC Director Mike Clampitt.
As kids stream in to the sleek, cool interior, “Mr. Mike” greets each child, some running to give him a hug or tell him about their day, which he listens to with genuine interest. After signing in, the children then rush to their places in line for snacks and play time. According to Clampitt, “The building was built with kids in mind.”
As we walk through the bright interior, Clampitt notes small details such as having different sized tables and chairs for smaller children to the consideration of an extensive security system and multiple staff members when designing and staffing the club. “Our front desk staff is very good,” brags Clampitt, “at knowing what parent goes with which kid. If we don’t recognize someone, we look them up in our system. If they’re not [in the system], they don’t get the child.” There are also multiple cameras and tall glass windows to allow for supervision from just about every angle in the building.
The summer program, which has been in place since before Clampitt’s tenure, is a safe and structured environment for kids while offering working parents a viable local alternative for childcare. For the nominal fee of $30, the nine-week program runs June 5-August 5, Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“Fortunately the program pays for itself,” revealed Clampitt. There are a multitude of different activities for the children to enjoy over the summer months. There are also several opportunities for special field trips available for an additional cost. The building boasts a state-of-the-art computer lab, movie theater, gymnasium and video game room as well as open spaces for arts and crafts and reading.
In addition to the indoor space, the B&GC of Hobbs also has impressive outdoor spaces including a garden and open space for football or soccer. “A private donor provided money for a misting system,” Clampitt revealed as he watched children enjoying the playground. “That will decrease the outside temperature and let the kids enjoy being outside in the summer more.”
In addition to movies and play time, the B&GC also employs different summer staff that can give the children a variety of activities, from special art classes to junior cooking classes. “We don’t want the kids to be bored, so we ask the kids what they want to do. If I walk past a room and [see] only three or four kids, we try to figure out how to improve that experience for them.”
With school out and summer in full swing, parents and kids can rest assured that at the Boys and Girls Club of Hobbs, there is plenty of fun right here at home.