Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua recognized for program excellence

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 Programing 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.