By Mark Solomon, Principal, Scotland Elementary School
There is a hidden gem in Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club. I am sure everyone in Town is aware of the Boys and Girls Club’s wonderful facilities, their Gym, Game Room, Arts and Crafts Room, Computer Center and more. Everyone is also aware of the great and caring staff at the Boys and Girls Club, but I don’t believe that the residents of Ridgefield truly appreciate the extraordinary impact that the Boys and Girls Club has on the young people in the Town.
I had the privilege of being part of a panel of four judges that interviewed 13 high school students who were vying for the designation as Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club “Youth of the Year”. These were exceptional young adults, but even more impressive were their stories and the impact that the Boys and Girls Club has had on their lives. All 13 students were unanimous in indicating that they would not be the person they are today without the guidance and caring of the staff at the Boys and Girls Club. Some of the students even went so far as to say that the Boys and Girls Club saved their lives.
The opportunities expressed by the students included the chance to grow and mature, to participate in community service projects, to prepare for college and to develop social, academic and leadership skills, all of which they indicated would not have happened without the Boys and Girls Club.
Yes the Boys and Girls Club has wonderful programs, but most people in Ridgefield think of the Boys and Girls Club as a place for children to go and socialize and play. Herein lies the hidden gem, the Boys and Girls Club is so much more than that, it is a place for children to grow, mature and become exceptional people. Every student interviewed showed wonderful academic growth and progress. The Club had helped all of them overcome adversity in their lives. It was such a privilege to participate in this panel. If I could I would have voted for all 13 students to be “Youth of the Year”, they all deserved that designation, but more important is the wonderful work that the Boys and Girls Club is doing with the youth in this Town and I am not sure most people are even aware of the extraordinary impact the Club is having on our children.
If your child is not involved with the Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club, take it from me, they should be. There is no better measure of their future success than being involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield.