Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua earns top honors

NASHUA – The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua earned top honors from fellow youth development professionals in two categories at the 2015 Program Awards through the Yankee Chapter of The Professional Association (TPA).

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America Professional Association serves as a sym­bol of commitment to the development of club professionals. Through local chapters, TPA promotes the growth and develop­ment of club professionals by providing assistance with training and recognition opportunities.

The Yankee Chapter, composed of clubs from New Hampshire and Massachu­setts, recently presented its awards in the categories of Healthy & Life Skills, The Arts, Technology & Media Skills, Gen­der-Specific Programming, Sports, Fit­ness & Recreation, Education & Career Development, Character & Leadership Development, and Participation & Regu­lar Attendance.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nash­ua won in two categories: Gender-Specific and Technology & Media Skills.

For Gender-Specific Program­ming, the club’s all-girl robotics pro­gram took top honors. Centered on the FIRST Lego robotics competition, the club had two teams competing in 2014.

The Strong Girls team was the only all-girl team at the competition, which took place in November at Hollis Brookline High School. With support from NASA and Fidelity Investments, and volunteer coaches from Fidelity Investments, the team – largely composed of first-time par­ticipants – was commended by judges for its enthusiasm and grasp of the league’s core values of inspiration, teamwork and gracious professionalism.

Club members built and learned to program their robot and developed, re­searched and presented a research project.

"We expose our young girl members to STEM in a positive manner so that any negative perception our girls may have will be counter-balanced and, hopefully, we influence them to embrace science," clubhouse education director Charles Collinson said.

"Robotics is just one of our many special programs, and it has encouraged our girl members to participate in other STEM programs, including our Underwater ROV, Electric Circuits, Stream Safari and Immersion science-based programs.

"The professionals and near-peer high school club member who mentored our team proved to be excellent mentors. The value of mentorship is irreplaceable, and can do wonders for building confidence. This is shown by research where the ma­jority of successful women credit their participation in some sort of mentorship for dramatically helping them to reach their goals. And this played out in our ro­botics program."

For Technology & Media Skills, the club was honored for its Visual Tech Program, which teaches media literacy and numerous technology-based skills to club members through video production. Through the hands-on, experiential activ­ities presented via video production, audio engineering, photography and editing, club members learn skills that will help them better understand the ever-developing world of media around them.

Visual Tech is heavily project based, and projects start from the ground up. Mem­bers are tasked with storyboarding videos, recording footage to use, managing audio recordings, acting as an interviewer/narra­tor and editing all of the parts once cap­tured. Upon completion of the video pro­duction, club members showcase the result through social media, and some have been aired on the local public access television station, Access Nashua.

Visual Tech members are also exposed to many media and technology opportu­nities through field trips, including tours at WMUR News 9, New England Studios and Chunky’s Cinema Pub in Nashua.

For more information, contact Tricia Casey, chief development officer, at 883- 0523, ext. 211, or pcasey@bgcn.com.