By Jack Minch
Sentinel & Enterprise
January 20, 2012
LEOMINSTER — The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster announced Thursday that it has launched a new website, www.bgcfl.org, to reflect its name change.
The name was legally changed from the Boys & Girls Club of North Central Massachusetts in August and was announced at the board of directors’ annual meeting in October.
“The name change reflects a board decision to focus on the kids of Fitchburg and Leominster and create room for other clubs to develop in the region’s cities and towns,” Executive Director Donata Martin said in a statement released jointly with board President M. Marcus Moran Jr.
The Mossman Teen Center of Lunenburg is seeking a national Boys & Girls Club of America charter, and other communities have expressed interest in starting clubs, Martin said.
“Our success with kids demonstrates the value of the B&GC approach to youth development and is encouraging others to start clubs in their communities,” Martin said. “Under our regional charter with the B&GC of America, they would have to become subsidiaries of our club. Our board was concerned that creating such subsidiaries would distract us from continuing to strengthen our programs for the kids of Fitchburg and Leominster, where the regional need for a club is most acute.”
The club opened in rented space in Leominster in 2001. Two years later, it rented more space from Fitchburg State University to open a unit in Fitchburg. It consolidated the two clubs at the former Julie Country Day School on the Leominster-Fitchburg border in 2008. In 2010, the club bought the property, which is undergoing extensive renovations that are scheduled to be completed later this year.
The club’s membership in its after-school programs has grown from fewer than 40 in 2002 to more than 300.
About 200 children use the club daily, split fairly evenly between Fitchburg and Leominster. Some children from other nearby communities also attend.
A teen center opened in 2010. The club also runs a school vacation-week program and summer program.
“Visitors to our new website can learn a good deal about the club, membership eligibility and how we are helping kids grow with challenging educational programs, like our latest effort with the Atlantic Salmon Egg Rearing Program supported by the Life Technologies Foundation at the San Diego Foundation,” Martin said.