Boys & Girls Club Getting to Know

Megan Beardsley, middle, celebrates the opening of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area’s Green Lake site along with her colleagues.

After months of anticipation, the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area opened a location in Green Lake back in September.

Prior to opening, it named Megan Beardsley the Green Lake Site Coordinator.

Beardsley joined the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area in 2017. She grew up in Appleton and holds a bachelor’s degree in human services leadership and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

As site coordinator, Beardsley is responsible for organizing staff responsibilities and developing programming for children.

The Commonwealth recently caught up with Beardsley to find out how the first few months of operating the Green Lake site have gone.

Here’s the conversation:

Q. When did you start at the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area?/Why?

A. I started at the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area in the fall of 2017 as the program coordinator at the Berlin site. I transitioned to my new role as Green Lake site coordinator in September of 2020. I graduated with my degree in human services leadership and I knew I always wanted to work in the nonprofit sector to make an impact and create positive change. I have always enjoyed working with youth! Each day is so different in a club atmosphere and I find that working with kids not only brings new challenges but can also be so rewarding. Working with kids has reminded me of how awesome and exciting the world can be.

Q. You are originally from Appleton as well as attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and interned at the Boys & Girls Club in Oshkosh. How did those experiences prepare you for your role as the Green Lake site coordinator?

A. I have never stepped foot in a Boys & Girls Club prior to my internship, so it was a whole new world to me. My internship was a lot of on-the-job experience. It made me get out of my comfort zone and learn quickly on how to navigate the Boys & Girls Club environment. I know the steps and requirements of what it takes to be in this role to coordinate the club but I feel like you can never truly be prepared for what each day brings. Every day is so different with the children, which makes it that much more enjoyable, and with each curveball thrown my way everyday is handled differently. I’ve had amazing mentors and club leadership guiding me and making my time at the club feel effortless. I feel like I’ve grown so much and wear many hats through this opportunity.

Q. Green Lake’s Boys & Girls Club site opened Sept. 1 in the Town Square Community Center. How have the first few months of running the site gone?

A. Great! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from club parents about how we have been serving their children. Town Square Community Center and community members have been so helpful and inviting during our first few months. It has been challenging to grow especially when we opened during this pandemic, but we currently have 30 kids registered between the ages of 6-12 for our afterschool program.

Q. What does the average day consist of?

A. We strive to make every day fun and different to keep the kids engaged and energized. Kids receive a healthy meal and snack upon arrival before homework help or other activities. Everyday, we implement programs highlighting character and leadership, education and careers, and healthy lifestyles! We value the kids’ voices and strive to provide programs that meet them where they’re at. We want to continue to make sure their opinions and needs are heard.

Q. What’s your favorite aspect of being the site coordinator?

A. It’s hard to pick just one favorite aspect. Simply the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our youth! Knowing that every day is a chance to make a difference in the lives of club kids and teens. I can’t forget that I work with a talented and energizing team who not only care about the work, but they care for each other.

Q. What is the Boys & Girls Club doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 among youth?

A. Safety is our number one priority at the club. We have taken the time to establish protocols and procedures to make sure kids are safe and that we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We have been working closely with medical professionals and our local health department, in addition to following CDC guidelines as we prepared and trained staff to care for children. We complete daily wellness screenings and temperature checks for all club kids before entering our facility. Also, face masks are required to participate in any club programming and staff are continuously stressing the importance of washing our hands and social distancing. Everyday is a learning opportunity for the kids to understand the importance of healthy lifestyle practices.

Q. How does having a Boys & Girls Club site in Green Lake add value to the community?

A. The club provides a constructive environment for kids during after school and summer hours. We’re always striving to provide a variety of opportunities for kids and families, being in a rural community provides different challenges and opportunities compared to the urban Clubs. We are a family-oriented organization for anyone that wants to provide their child with a safe, fun and caring place to be. Whatever your needs, we are excited to be an anchor in the community, always ready to help.

Q. Are there currently any plans for a summer program?

A. Yes! We still plan on serving kids at both Green Lake and Berlin sites. More information will be available to the community in April.

Q. Final thoughts or anything else you’d like to share?

A. Anyone interested in joining the Boys & Girls Club or just to answer any questions they might have can email me at mbeardsley@bgctric.org. Also, we are currently recruiting adult mentors who want to make a difference! Anyone above the age of 18 can apply to join our mentoring program. You can register your child or find more information about our mentoring program on our website at www.bgctric.org.

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