The Boys and Girls Club in Kingston is launching a new name to better reflect its work and the population served in its programs. The organization will now be known as BGC South East.
“The phrase ‘Boys and Girls’ just does not capture the diversity of the individuals we serve or reflect our inclusivity,” says Greg Dobney, President of the Board of Directors at BGC South East. “This is also a time when we are bringing our programs to neighboring communities. Identifying ourselves as serving the South East reflects our commitment to serve communities in our local region where needs reside and opportunities arise.”
Over the last year, during the pandemic, BGC South East served more than 2,000 children in Kingston, from toddlers to youth. In the West End Hub alone, the facility registered over 110 hours of community usage despite the pandemic, according to a release from the organization on Friday, Jun. 25, 2021. “We are proud to have continued to serve many community partners in this last year, from seniors to sport teams,” said Harold Parsons, Executive Director at BGC South East.
The organization said BGC Canada led the change toward a new, more inclusive brand. “Our youth have been on top of it all along. For years, they have been talking about being at ‘the Club’ or at ‘BGC’,” Parsons recounted. “We are listening to youth, and that is why we are launching a brand that shows that everyone is welcome in our programs.”
“It is a big change, in a sense. It ingrains us with an even greater sense of commitment to community service,” he continued. “But it’s also a way to align our brand with the work we are doing every day.”
Serving Kingston for 28 years, the pandemic has put a spotlight on the increased need for services in neighbouring communities. “We want local communities to know and feel that our programs are grounded to their reality, but also part of a larger and trusted structure of programs and staff,” Parsons explained. “We have recently entered into a five-year agreement with the Town of Napanee to provide summer and after-school programs, and will continue to assess and plan to serve other communities west and north of Kingston under BGC South East.”
“There is so much diversity in BGC programs; in the populations we serve, as well as in our staff and partners,” said Dobney. “The Club is where individuals of all backgrounds and circumstances are offered diverse experiences and opportunities. Our new brand reflects and celebrates just that.”