Boys & Girls Club starting a new youth program
‘It’s all quite fun. It’s just to keep their minds going over the summer.’

— Donata Martin,
Boys & Girls Club

Andrew Mansfield
News Staff Writer

GARDNER  The Boys & Girls Club of Gardner is expanding into new territory with its Summer Blast program for local youth beginning in July.

Over the last three school years, the Gardner club has operated after school at Gardner High School, but this is the first year the club is also offering a summer program, which will be held at Gardner Middle School, at 297 Catherine St.

Executive Director Donata Martin said the club is “excited” to offer some of the same activities for the summer program as well as new activities, especially outdoors.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” she said.

Martin said the summer program is being offered at no cost for children from ages 8 to 12. Breakfast and lunch will be provided through the nonprofit Spanish American Center.

The program will be held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the course of seven weeks, beginning on Monday, July 2, and ending on Friday, Aug. 17.

Like the regular club, Martin explained the summer program will be STEAM-focused, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. It also will have arts and crafts and sports.

The central focus of the program is to keep the children learning over the summer in an enjoyable way. The summertime is typically a period when students who are out-of-school can lose some of the academic gains they made.

“It’s all quite fun. It’s just to keep their minds going over the summer,” Martin said.

She went over one of the neat features of the program, saying that every week on Thursday will include a visit to nearby Camp Collier in Gardner.

The Boys & Girls Club of Gardner is sponsored by its parent club, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, which has its own facility in Leominster.
The Gardner club is working toward having its own facility.

Last summer, Martin said, the Gardner club participated in the Summer-UP program for a few weeks, which was run by Mount Wachusett Community College, in partnership with the city, at Jackson Playground.

With the college not receiving the grant funding to run that program this summer, she explained, the Gardner club worked with the city to run its own summer program at the middle school, which has plenty of field space next to it.

Parents and guardians can download the application to sign their children up for the program at

Martin said the application can be returned to the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster.

For any questions, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster can be reached at 978-534-8358 or