In March 2020, Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware shut down due to COVID-19. However, we were only shut down for two weeks before we began accepting kids of essential workers. It was a challenging time as many of us didn’t know what to expect from the virus and how being at the Club would affect our health. But we opened our doors anyway. Many kids were openly worried about their parents, as they were working at hospitals or frontline areas that posed a risk to COVID. I worked at our Oak Orchard Club with about 30 members each day. The atmosphere was tense and nothing like I had ever experienced, but we were tasked with showing our kids a good time. We needed to alleviate worry and take their minds off of the “outside world.”
Our team decided that MyFuture was a good program to start with as it provided incentives (badges) to keep kids engaged and moving forward. So, we worked to complete as many projects as we could. MyFuture is Boys & Girls Clubs’ premier digital learning platform, made possible by a national partnership with Comcast NBC Universal.
We started with the modules focused on anti-bullying: allowing the members to understand what bullying consists of, what it means, and the effects it can have on someone. I could see kids making the connection as they learned about how certain actions can impact someone’s feelings, even if that is not your intention.
We took one day to learn a dance by Ariana Grande. The members loved the movement and being able to burn some energy. We performed the dance for the other staff at the site and the members were thrilled to show off their skills. Slime was one of the most popular STEM experiments on MyFuture. The kids still ask to do the slime activity and see if they can make it more bouncy or stretchy. But, my all-time favorite project on MyFuture was related to different flavor ice creams. The members had a choice in advance to create a list of items they would like to try. We had Takis, pickles, watermelon, lemon juice, hot sauce and lime juice. The members were willing to try any and all experimental ice cream flavors.
We were especially excited when we learned that our small Club was on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America MyFuture leaderboard, which meant we were doing some of the most activities across the country! I was so proud of our kids who completed all of these activities. The best part of this, however, was the enthusiasm and eagerness to participate in MyFuture every single day.
Fortunately, things are finally starting to return to normal at our Club. With the introduction of the Covid vaccine and decrease in cases, the previous tension isn’t there anymore. However, I’m certain that when I (or the kids) think about 2020– we won’t focus on the virus. MyFuture will be the memory we all have. We still continue to participate in MyFuture, but the role it played during uncertain times will be something I never forget.