For this week’s episode of Community Conversations, host ST Billingsley chatted with Eric Alford, the Branch Director of the Hylton Boys & Girls Club in Dale City, about their facilities and programs.
Q: What kind of programs do you have at the Boys & Girls Club?
A: Well we have a host of programs. We have our character and leadership programs, which is Smart Moves, Smart Girls, [and] Passport to Manhood. We also have our sports programs – football, basketball.
Q: With the size of your club, what are some of the advantages, or the capabilities that you have at yours?
A: Well with our size of our club, we’re more – we have the ability to have more innovative programs, because we have the space, when a lot of times different clubs don’t have a lot of space. Like with our partnerships with the Links program, and with our STEAM program. Also, we have a learning center there.
Q: You have some outside facilities too. What kinds of sports activities are you able to do because of your fields?
A: We also do flag football, football, and we also do soccer.
Q: As part of the programs you have, for building character and all that, what kind of programs do you have [that] deal with that?
A: That’s what kind of makes us different from a rec center – is our character [and] leadership programs, such as the Keystone Club. Our Keystone Club is the premier teen program of the Boys & Girls Club; where they do community service – they serve the community – they do tutoring, they do a whole host of activities right now.
Q: You also have some healthy living and healthy lifestyles type programs. What’s involved with those?
A: We [have partnered] with the Potomac Health Foundation, and we have a healthy lifestyle program where they come in and talk to our kids about nutrition, how to eat right before the game, how to eat right after the game – just healthy living and getting them exercise.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you have at the Hylton Club?
A: Well one of our biggest challenges is letting the community know that we are here, and some of the programs that we have. The biggest thing is to get out to the community, and get the word out about the [things] that we do at the club.
Q: With the facilities that you have, are there other organizations who would be able to use it or rent it?
A: We also do rent out our facility for birthday parties, parties, wedding receptions, things of that sort. We also partner with the Boy Scouts of America. They come and do some type of Eagle Scout work for us, when they have Eagle Scout projects.
Q: The technical STEM type programs, is there anything like that that you do?
A: We do have a STEAM program that’s a partnership with the Links, and we also partner with Pepco and their STEAM program. Where it’s just small engineering programs that we get to introduce kids to different aspects of STEAM – which is science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts.
Q: Tell me about your before and after school programs.
A: We also have a before and after school program, where we pick the kids up from schools. Our particular location is a hub for schools to drop off and pick up too, so we’re open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
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