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Beginning on May 26 in Salida and June 1 in Buena Vista, the Boys & Girls Clubs (BGC) of Chaffee County will begin to re-open for summer programming and activities, following the extensive shutdown necessitated by the coronavirus known as COVID-19.

The announcement is welcome news for Chaffee County parents who have struggled to balance the economic stress of the pandemic with teaching their children at home. With the economy beginning to reopen, working parents want to know their children can return to a safe and educationally stimulating environment.

Gavin Wharton, age 9, one of The Boys & Girls Club’s longtime members. Photo courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club.

Due to current safety guidelines and restrictions from Chaffee County Public Health, there will be limited capacity for children six years and older. The organization will be following strict guidelines to keep the children safe against a virus for which there is, as yet, no vaccine.

Executive Director Brian Beaulieu explained, “Circumstances change, but our mission does not. Safety has always been our number one priority.  We are prepared to safely help working families by getting our clubs open for engaging and fun programming, focusing on kids who need us most.  Our overarching goal will be to help as many kids as possible.”

BGC Board Chair Duncan Campbell says he thanks all of the Club’s financial supporters as well as the superintendents of both the Salida and Buena Vista schools.

Campbell said “Without David Blackburn and Lisa Yate’s support, we could not continue our critical mission of academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and leadership.  We expect, especially in these trying times, to be the gold standard in youth development.  We’re poised to change the trajectory of kids’ lives this summer and beyond.”

Admission forms can be found on the organization’s website and Facebook page. Parents and guardians who are interested may also email Branch Director Tessie Ortega at Tessie@bgcchaffe.org or Buena Vista Branch Director Jennifer Wood at jennifer@bgcchaffe.org.