Hello BGCWPA Families and Staff,

It is hard to believe that many of us have not walked through the doors of our Clubhouses for almost two months now. BGCWPA understands now more than ever the delicate balance of caring for children to ensure safety, health and security while maintaining business operations in a responsible way so that we can continue to serve our members and beyond. COVID-19 has impacted the world in ways that no one anticipated, but we have worked tirelessly to act quickly to serve those who need us most. After weeks of planning and executing remotely we are finally in the phase of preparing to reopen some more of our Clubhouses while staying smart and working diligently to provide summer day camp programming both with in-person and virtual formats. In order to provide that care, it is important for us to review the recent past, share what is currently happening at BGCWPA, and focus on how we plan to prioritize safety, health and security into the future. 

Stay- at- Home Phase
As we reflect on the past several weeks, we are encouraged by the quick mobilization of our region, our communities and most of all, our staff here at BGCWPA. As an immediate response to the stay-at-home order, BGCWPA adapted to the digital world by providing our virtual Clubhouse programming, InstaClubhouse. This summer we are shifting to use Outschool. Read more about our new partnership with them here.

Relief Efforts
In addition to InstaClubhouse, BGCWPA staff stepped up to make hundreds of weekly member phone calls to conduct wellness checks and provide resource support. As a result, we’ve delivered hundreds of hygiene and cleaning kits, over 5,000 meals per week throughout Allegheny County in partnership with school districts and dedicated community partners, over 300 pantry boxes in partnership with The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, pizzas with the Penguins Foundation, STEAM and activity kits, and a specialty day camp for ALL children of essential personnel indicated by the governor’s office at our Estelle S. Campbell Clubhouse. 

Current Reopening Planning Phase
BGCWPA is focusing on safety for all participants and creating sustainability for our organization. Governor Tom Wolf identified a three phase system red, yellow, and green.  Our organization falls under the Childcare, Out of School Time provider that received permission to reopen when Allegheny County moved into the yellow phase.

Summer Camp: BGCWPA, as mentioned above, has been operating an Emergency Speciality Day Camp for Essential Workers at our Lawrenceville (Estelle S. Campbell) Clubhouse while following all of the guidance from the CDC and Allegheny County Health Department. BGCWPA is prepared to extend these practices into other clubhouses as we prepare for the reopening of three additional Summer Day Camp Programs at our Clubhouses and a new K-2 virtual camp with Duquesne City School District. We are actively working to provide partner programs for children in communities where our in-person summer camps are not running including free transportation to and from the camp.

The guidance for this reopening follows a 1:9 staff to child ratio, no group sizes over 25, participants above the age of 2 to wear masks and gloves, hand washing every hour, health checks, and proper disinfecting measures. BGCWPA will adapt and enhance any additional guidance that follows in the upcoming weeks. Click on the hyperlink to see our practices model. Use this link to review the CDC guidance effective May 7, 2020.

-Virtual Summer Camp: In addition, BGCWPA will offer Virtual Summer Camp programs for families using the Outschool platform to register that will offer 15-20 highly engaging and personalized sessions per week that focus on STEM, Literacy, Gross Motor, and Fun.  For more information, visit our BGCWPA blog or click here to register. These programs will have a new pricing model and scholarships are available.

– Academic Support Summer and Fall academic support, homework help, post-secondary planning/college counseling and more will be available in person or virtual to assist in the learning gap caused by COVID-19. We are offering these serves NOW on a one to one basis. You can email us at education@bgcwpa.org to request support. These services are provided free of charge to our families and the community at large. BGCWPA is here for your families and is doing everything within our capacity to accommodate neighborhoods and communities. 

For more information or to register for any of the programs described above, please visit our website. 

Coming Soon: As we evolve and plan for the second phase of Relief Efforts to continue meeting the needs of our communities, BGCWPA is thrilled to announce the launch of these new initiatives:

  • “Growing Hope” initiative where our members will be provided with STEAM kits and supplies to promote nutrition and exercise while at home to include weekly deliveries of vegetables from a local farm in June.
  • Virtual Teen Nights from 8-9PM for our older youth to enjoy games and special guests in a digital setting.
  • The distribution of over 1,500 hot, food truck meals in May and more in June to housing authority communities who lack transportation throughout Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh. We’re also hosting private food truck events at partner sites across the County. 

Follow these efforts on social media @BGCWPA or by signing up for our email list.

Early Recovery Phase
BGCWPA will need to focus on the “new normal” for the organization to include highly coordinated efforts that consider the health of the organization and the community resilience. Strategic Visioning is a top priority during this time to prepare our organization to ReMEMBER, ReIMAGINE, ReINVEST into the next 130 years. BGCWPA will continue to respond to the community needs and extend the virtual footprint to ensure that BGCWPA continues to engage with our youth and our communities during these difficult times. 

BGCWPA has been here all along to care for the children and communities that we serve to ensure safety, health and security while maintaining business operations in a responsible way. This continues to be of utmost importance to us as an agency. While COVID-19 took its toll on overall operations as it halted the world, we at BGCWPA will quickly re-emerge as a leader in after school care so that we can continue to serve you and your family. We hope to see you soon!


Be well,

Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri
President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania