ST. LOUIS — The Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis prides itself on providing a safe area where can kids grow, both academically and athletically.
“A big part of our success factor is having face to face interaction with our young people,” said President of the Boys and Girls Club, Flint Flower.
But due to the current pandemic, Fowler said they’ve had to cancel spring sports and switch up how they approach their after-school program, going from face-to-face learning to virtual.
“It’s still effective, it’s not nearly as effective as it would be if we could speak directly to our children,” said Fowler.
The Boys and Girls Club provides kids that safe place to hang out and to challenge themselves in ways they never imagined, Fowler said. That’s why when he thinks about their summer day camp program being called off due to COVID-19, it saddens Fowler.
“Their lives are built around interacting with their peers, getting outside the home, having the opportunity to take field trips and get to chance to do things away from their parents, not that that’s a bad thing,” said Fowler. “We all need variety in our lives.”
While helping kids grow and mature, the summer day camp also provides a pivotal learning experience for teenagers, giving them jobs and skills to learn in the real world.
“We have a big focus on work readiness and summer’s a good time for young people to have a job, earn some income, learn how to manage their money and prepare for a future career,” said Fowler.
Fowler admits this is a tough time for the Boys and Girls club, but he said their mission obligates them to keep pushing forward and make a better future for all involved.
“We’re going to find a way to play a meaningful part in their lives where we continue to do things virtually, via video or pushing out information,” he said. “A lot of times young people called on to contribute to the welfare of that home so we’re going to help young people better understand their role.”
In terms of officially canceling future programs, such as summer day camp and football, Fowler said that all depends on the guidelines the CDC establishes during that time frame. Kids and their safety is their first priority under these circumstances Fowler said.