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Partnership between Boys & Girls Club, Calvary United Methodist keeps summer programming available | journal-news

MARTINSBURG — As summer drew near, the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle searched for a way to keep summer programming available in Martinsburg, the club’s home on John Street to be closed for renovations during the season.

So, when Calvary United Methodist Church stepped in, providing a space for programming to be held, the club’s staff and participants couldn’t have been happier.

“This has been amazing. It was difficult in the beginning, as we were thinking about our summer, our location being closed and trying to find a different location, staring down the idea of ​​maybe not being able to offer it. When this opportunity came along, it made our summer,” said Kait Romero, BGCEP unit director. “We got right back into planning. We didn’t skip a beat, just kept on going. The amount of programming we have been able to offer this year is on par with the amount that we have been able to do every other summer, and it is just wonderful to be able to have a space and not have to cancel and leave these kids out.”

Calvary United Methodist Church has been located at its current building on West Burke Street in Martinsburg for 154 years, according to Pastor Lynn Wilson, and offering the long-beloved space for those who could use it was a fitting gesture for the congregation.

“This congregation that is here, currently, is one of the most giving congregations that I have worked with in 20 years of ministry,” Wilson said. “Anything that anybody needs in the community, if they can at all possibly provide, they will do it.”

Wilson said that the congregation was more than happy to have the Boys & Girls Club use the space for its programming.

“There is barely a night that the building is not in use, and of course, this summer, it has been in use Monday-Friday with the Boys & Girls Club,” Wilson said. “It makes my heart feel so good when I pull in the parking lot, and I hear so many children playing, laughing, having a great time and know that they are safe in doing so.”

Stacie Rohn, executive director of the BGCEP, said that Romero is on the front lines working with Wilson each day during the summer programming.

“She makes sure the relationship is going well and that we are being good neighbors,” Rohn said. “That is always a concern that we have whenever we are partnering with someone, because we want to leave a space better than we found it.”

Between a gymnasium, a fellowship hall, a classroom and more, Rohn said that the location has provided a dynamic atmosphere for different activities for the kids.

“It is a wonderful space,” Rohn said. “We were able to provide some sports and recreation activities in the gym, some arts and crafts and social and emotional learning in the classroom and in the fellowship hall.”

Rohn added that even the food program for the summer was made so much easier and accessible thanks to Calvary and the space it allowed the BGCEP to use.

“I think the greatest blessing is knowing that before this partnership, we have always had many wonderful friends in the community, but now, I see that we have a whole new group of friends that really add to creating wonderful opportunities for kids,” Rohn said. “That is our mission. We want to make sure that our kids have some of the greatest and best opportunities, and a space without that is a make or break.”

Rohn and Romero extended thanks to Wilson and the parishioners at Calvary United Methodist Church for helping in the effort to move forward a successful summer program.

“When we see that there is a need, or someone comes to us with a need, like Stacie did in the spring, then, we do what we can to fulfill that need,” Wilson added. “We depend upon God to bring us the people that He wants us to serve.”

Rohn added: “We truly would have been hard pressed to have a summer program had they not stepped in and blessed us with this gift.”

Romero said that the partnership has allowed the program to continue for the summer, but it has also provided additional programming opportunities for the youth of the BGCEP.

“Some of them have joined the vacation bible school here, and I have heard rave reviews about it,” she said. “It has been wonderful to open up that opportunity that maybe they wouldn’t have known about that is also right inside downtown.”

“We try to be the hands and feet of Jesus for those who need it,” Wilson said. “That is our goal.”


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