Parent - Member Handbook

Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley
Parent/Member Handbook


Congratulations on becoming a part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley and 
Welcome to our family!


Dear Parent(s)…

Your participation and involvement in what we do at our Club is absolutely crucial and strongly encouraged. Please communicate with us. Let us know what your child is saying about the  Club. Are they happy? Are they unhappy? If so, why? What area do they need help in? What would you as a parent like to see us do more of, or do less of? Please take time to read this handbook.  Let us know if you have any questions. Then sit down with your child and go over our policies and expectations. We’ve found that when expectations are understood and acknowledged…they  are more often met and followed by Club members. Thank you for your support!

Our Mission

To enable ALL young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, respectful and caring citizens.  

Core Beliefs

Boys & Girls Clubs provide youth with…
  A safe place to learn and grow
  Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals
  Life-enhancing programs and character development experiences
  Hope and opportunity

Membership

Membership is open to all youth between the ages of 6 and 18. A membership form must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian each session, school & summer. Our annual membership fee is $30 for the school session & $40 for the summer, and is not pro-rated for partial year memberships. Once paid, the membership fee is NOT REFUNDABLE. Our goal is to always keep costs associated with Boys & Girls Club membership as low as possible so as to not exclude anyone. 
 
The information you provide us on the membership application is critical. We ask that every effort be made to present contact information that is both current as well as accurate. It is the    parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to notify us of any changes to your telephone number (home, work, cell, emergency contacts, etc.) and/or address information as soon as such changes occur.  Nothing is more frustrating to you, as a parent/guardian, and to the staff, than trying to get a hold of you in an emergency and not having the right contact information when we need it most.

Orientation is required for all members and their parents. Please take every opportunity to see and hear what your Boys & Girls Club is all about, and how you can become  involved and give back to the Club to make it a better place for all of our kids.  

Membership in the Boys & Girls Club is a privilege, not a right. The Boys & Girls Club reserves the right to refuse membership to any child at any time. 

 Club Hours

 Our three locations are open each day after-school from 3 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

The Club is normally open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days when school is not in session (i.e., school holidays, Spring Break) and during our summer session. The exceptions to this are Club recognized holidays on which the Boys & Girls Club will be closed and include New Years Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day following Thanksgiving,  and the Christmas season. Other times of Club closure are for preparation, cleaning and planning during the Christmas Break for Spring Session, the end of the school year for Summer Session,  and at the end of Summer Program for Fall Session. The Club reserves the right to change its hours and days of operation based on need and/or economic circumstances. If such changes occur,  parents/guardians will be notified in advance. Additionally, there may be days when it is necessary to close the Club due to unforeseen circumstances such as emergency repairs, inclement  weather, etc.  Again, when such instances arise, we will do our best to post this information and/or notify school officials to assist in getting information out to parents so as to mitigate any  inconvenience this may cause.

Please be sure to pick-up your child by the posted closing times. The Boys & Girls Club reserves the right to contact the appropriate authorities for assistance when members are not picked up  by a reasonable time AND after all emergency contact alternatives have been exhausted. Multiple late pick-ups could result in a suspension from the Club.  

Transportation

Transportation to the Schulenburg and Weimar Clubs is provided through the School Districts. Certain requirements must be met at the schools to ride the buses to our Clubs. Please check with your  school office for these requirements. Transportation to planned activities and functions may also be provided by the Club in our Club van or mini-bus. Permission to ride in Club vehicles is  decided by the parent/guardian on the membership application.

Supervision

Our staff are trained Youth Development Professionals. Trained volunteers often support our staff. A staff member and/or trained volunteer will oversee each of our designated program areas.  Please take the time to remind your child of the need to follow Club rules and directions AT ALL TIMES whether said directions are given by a staff member or a volunteer. All individuals that  come into contact with our Club members, whether staff or volunteer, are required to undergo a background check before serving in our Clubs.

Open Door Policy

Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley have an OPEN DOOR POLICY. This policy allows members to come and go at any time during the Club’s operating hours. Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley is not a licensed daycare facility. Members are NOT required to sign out; and staff members, under normal circumstances, are not allowed to prohibit a member from leaving the facility per the regulations of the Texas Department of Protective & Regulatory Services governing facilities/programs exempt from licensure as child cares. Children partaking in activities at  the Boys & Girls Club are free to participate or leave the program at will. This means that your child may leave the Club at any time and walk home without adult supervision. This also means  that the child may leave with any person listed as a contact on the membership application.  The only time the Boys & Girls Club staff is allowed to stop a child from leaving the Club with someone is when there is  a legal document on file at the Club that states that an individual is not permitted to have custody of that child. Thus, it is the responsibility of the child AND the parent/guardian to determine,  understand and enforce whatever arrival and departure methods they see fit. Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley can not be held responsible for the safety of the child if he/she chooses  to leave the Club. 
Please note that youth are not allowed on the Club’s grounds during operating hours unless they are signed in and participating in Club activities. This would be considered loitering and  loitering is not allowed. Members should NOT be dropped off and left unattended prior to the opening of our facilities, as the Club cannot and will not be held responsible for the child’s  supervision at these times.  

It is important to remember that the Boys & Girls Club is NOT a Daycare Facility and is not governed by licensure as a childcare facility.

Dress Code

Youth should dress comfortably and wear clothes that allow them to participate in typical Boys & Girls Club activities and programs. We will expect the following…

Footwear: Shoes, preferably tennis shoes and socks must be worn at all times. Flip-flops, sandals, crocs, heelies and cleats are not allowed, nor are any other open-toed shoes for safety reasons. Club members may  not be allowed to participate in certain activities or go outside if open-toed shoes are worn.  

Clothing: Inappropriate clothing of any kind is NOT allowed in the Club. NO sagging pants, oversized clothing, scarves, bandannas, earrings in any body part but the ears, or brads anywhere on  the body. Members wearing clothes that are too short, too tight or too revealing in any way or clothes with questionable or distasteful advertising will be asked to change or leave immediately.  This judgment will be left solely to the discretion of the Club management.

Field Trips

At times, the Boys & Girls Club may provide a variety of opportunities for our members to participate in activities off Club property that support our core beliefs and programs. Each excursion  requires a signed permission slip and any necessary fees prior to departing. Members and parents are reminded that all of our Club rules extend to field trips. Members who fail to follow our  rules and general Club expectations for appropriate behavior will prompt an immediate call to a parent or guardian, advising them to pick-up that member from the field trip at their own cost.  A parent or guardian MUST be available by telephone at all times during any Club sponsored field trip in the event that the staff needs to contact you in regards to an emergency or a behavioral  incident.

Code of Conduct

One of the Club’s core beliefs is to provide a safe place to learn and grow. Positive attitudes keep the Club FUN! Below are some simple guidelines and expectations for Club members …

 You should:
 Respect yourself.
 Play fairly and be honest.
 Applaud the efforts of others.
 Avoid inappropriate language.
 Dress appropriately at all times.
 Running is reserved for athletics.
 Say only good things about others.
 Always keep your hands to yourself.
 Bring your membership card everyday.
 Be respectful of Boys & Girls Club staff.
 Resolve disagreements in a positive way.
 Listen during appropriate times and assemblies.
 Be respectful of other members and their property.
 Tobacco, drugs, alcohol and weapons are prohibited.
 Participate only in program areas open to your assigned group.
 Take care of your Boys & Girls Club facility, grounds, and 
equipment.
 
These can be summed up in 3 easy expectations:  
Respect yourself, respect others, and respect Club property.
 
Discipline Policy

The Boys & Girls Club strives to keep the consequences for unacceptable behavior clear, appropriate and timely. The safety of all members is of utmost importance to us. Our standards, along  with the expectation that all members use good common sense, exist to ensure that your child and every other child at the Club can safely enjoy the Club’s activities. Any member who disrupts  programs or creates a dangerous situation will be disciplined appropriately. Members who do not follow rules can expect to lose privileges and face consequences. First-time offenses are never  excused as such and will be handled based on their severity. Parents will be called to pick-up any member who has failed to control his or her disruptive behavior and/or is behaving in an  aggressive or violent manner that creates a dangerous situation for themselves, fellow members, staff or visitors.  

When a member is suspended, the Site Director will advise the parent/guardian as to why they are being suspended. A phone call will be made to the parent/guardian if a face-to-face meeting  between parent/guardian and Site Director does not occur that day. Please understand that it is very difficult for the staff to interrupt programming to call the parent/guardian and speak at  great length about behavior that has already occurred and led to your child’s suspension. We will, however, complete a written suspension letter, and a copy will be given to the  parent/guardian, for their signature, so the child can return after the suspension time period is over.   
 
FOUR STEP DISCIPLINE GUIDELINE

We have set up a four step plan as a guideline for determining appropriate discipline for a Club member. Our goal is to use positive reinforcement when disciplining a child. However, there are times when speaking to the child or redirecting their attention is not enough. Please understand that our goal is to maintain a safe, positive environment for ALL Club members. We will adhere  to the following: 

1. CONSULTATION - Talk to the child and use positive reinforcement to get them back on task.
2. VERBAL WARNING - Counsel the child, explaining that there are consequences for their behavior/actions.
3. TIME OUT - 1 minute per each year of a child’s age and removal from program area. Before returning to any program the Club member must speak to the Unit Director. Parents may be notified by phone at this point and asked to speak to their child in a way to assist and support Club staff and as a means of advisement that their child is misbehaving. 
4. SUSPENSION - After the first three steps have been followed and the Club member continues to act in a disrespectful or disruptive manner, they will be asked to leave for the rest of the day.  An official, written suspension letter will be drafted, we will call the parent to explain the situation, and the member will need to be picked up immediately. Suspension can range from one to three days. a week or even permanent suspension, depending on the severity of the action. A face-to-face meeting between the parent/guardian, the Club member and the Site Director will be  necessary in order for the member to return to the Club. The Chief Executive Officer may also be involved at this point.

PHYSICAL AGGRESSION
 
Physical aggression will not be tolerated at Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley. Automatic suspension can be issued and will range from three days to permanent suspension, depending  on the severity of the action. All parties involved will be questioned by the Site Director and/or Chief Executive Officer. Disciplinary actions by Staff for physical aggression may include, but are not limited to, the following:

 o Verbal Counseling
 o Time-out
 o Removal from Program Area
 o Loss of Club Privileges
 o Suspension (three days to two weeks)
 o Indefinite suspension (until the situation is resolved or the parent/guardian is consulted)
 o Expulsion (i.e., permanent suspension)
 o Contacting the proper authorities
 
* Please note that any time a law is broken in or around the Boys & Girls Club or it is suspected that a Club member or guest has broken the law, the Police Department will be notified immediately. 

Members are expected to respond to discipline without incident. Failure to do so will almost always increase any action taken in time or severity. Staff members are trained and fully expected,  by policy, to maintain full control of any situation that occurs in their program area and will NOT tolerate anything that threatens that control, in appearance and/or manner. Also, please note  that incidents are documented, so please call the Club if you have any questions at all concerning disciplinary measures or any other Club activity. As Youth Development Professionals,  parent/guardian support and involvement is vital to our success.

Mobile Technology & Cell Phone Policy

Mobile technology can be a disruption to the Club program. Not only is it difficult to monitor, but the devices/cell phones can be lost or stolen, which can take up much staff time to address.  Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley has decided that by banning mobile technologies and cell phones from the Club, just as the local School Districts have, helps to keep those issues  from arising, as well as ensures that members are only accessing technology in the supervised setting of the Club’s Tech Center.

We do understand that banning hand held video games and cell phones, in particular, raises some issues. In this day and time, parents are now much more comfortable if they are able to reach  their children at any time. Therefore, parents may expect that members will have their cell phones on them and be able to receive calls at all times. This is where we seek parental cooperation.  Please know that we do have telephones in our Clubhouses and feel we have a good system to facilitate communication between the parent/guardian and their child/teen  in both normal and emergency situations. Parents are welcome to call the Club business line in an emergency or to leave a message for their children. We want all parents to know that they can  reach their children when needed and know that in an emergency, they will be notified about their child's status in a timely fashion. We do this to assure parents and guardians that their  children are well cared for while at the Clubhouses, and we hope that parents have a sense of confidence in the Club and its administration. With this said, we choose not to allow the use of any  hand held mobile technology and/or cell phones in the Club and have adopted the School District's Cell Phone Discipline Management Plan.

Cell Phone Discipline Management Plan

 o First offense – cell phone will be confiscated and returned at the end of the day or upon Club member's departure.
 o Second offense – cell phone will be confiscated and a disciplinary incident report will be submitted. The cell phone will be returned after parental signature of the incident report.   
 o Third offense – cell phone will be confiscated and a suspension will occur. Parent and member should meet with Unit Director upon return.  

Phone Calls

Our phones are primarily for Club business. Members should use phones or receive calls in emergencies only. Our lines need to remain open in the event of an emergency. Please make any  necessary arrangements before your child comes to the Club so that you do not have to call the Club, and your child does not have to call you. Incoming calls to Club members are discouraged,  but messages can be taken by the front desk person and given to members at an appropriate time. Members are allowed to call for a ride near the end of the day, IF that call is necessary. Please  discuss this with your child. Also, long-distance calls to parents will ONLY be allowed in emergency situations. We cannot afford the expense of long-distance calls to cell phones that are not a l  local call. Members are allowed to bring cell phones into the Club, but they must NOT be taken out or used during Club hours without the consent of the Site Director.

Personal Belongings

Members are NOT ALLOWED to bring personal belongings into the Club, including: cell phones, toys, iPods, hand-held video games, cameras or any other personal belonging. These items only  attract attention and may easily be lost or stolen. Any personal belongings brought into the Club by a youth are the responsibility of that youth. 
 
Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley is NOT responsible for any lost, damaged or stolen items.

Please discourage your child from bringing anything to the Club that is not completely necessary. Necessary items, such as backpacks and jackets should be clearly marked with the member’s  name. Items that are not collected from our lost-and-found in a timely fashion will be donated to a local charity. Coats, books and other personal items must be placed in the designated area.  Members must NEVER take or go through another member’s belongings. If your child brings money for Snack Bar, make sure it is in a secure place, like inside a wallet or purse, inside a  backpack or in a pants pocket. Our Club is not responsible for any lost money.

Medication

The Boys & Girls Club is NOT allowed, by policy, to dispense, store and/or oversee medication of any kind, including all non-prescription medications.  

Accidents

Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley strive to maintain a safe and secure environment. There is an assumed risk in many of our core programs, including, but not limited to sports. Please feel safe in knowing that our trained staff is attentive to providing the safest environment possible. The completed membership application authorizes the Club staff to seek medical treatment  for a member, if necessary, and that any associated costs for such care are the responsibility of the parent/guardian. The Boys & Girls Club does NOT provide medical insurance for members. In  the event of a serious injury the staff will call 911 immediately and then call the parent/guardian or alternative emergency contacts. This is one more reason why updated contact information is  your responsibility and crucial to your child’s well being.  
 
Infestation or Contagious Conditions

Any and all suspected transferable infestations or transmittable contagious conditions will be addressed fully in the following manner and without exception:

 1. Parents will be contacted for immediate removal of the member from Club facilities.  
 2. Proof of treatment from a health care facility and/or medical personnel is required before the child will be allowed back into the Club.  
 
Food

Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley understands and appreciates the need for a healthy diet among all of our members. It is our goal to encourage healthy eating habits that promote the well being of our  youth. During the school session, members are offered a nutritious free snack when they arrive at the Club after school. Each Club has a designated area for eating. Members must keep food  and drinks out of the areas where such items are prohibited (computer lab, game room, program rooms, etc.). We also have limitations on the number of items members can purchase from our  Snack Bar, so no one buys in excess. Water fountains are available at our Clubs. During the summer, we serve free lunch in accordance with the Summer Nutrition Food Service Program through the USDA.   

Programming

Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley strives to be the best youth development organization possible. We look for engaging, energetic and enthusiastic skills when hiring our staff members. Staff members are trained and kept advised of the changing trends throughout today’s youth movement. In order to promote personal and professional growth, staff members  attend workshops and seminars offered by Boys & Girls Clubs of America when possible and receive periodic in-house training from Management level staff. We want our members to come to the Club each day, attracted by the programs and the staff that lead them.

Programs at the Boys & Girls Club fall under Five Core areas – Education & Career Development, Character & Leadership Development, The Arts,  Health & Life Skills, and Sports, Fitness & Recreation in an effort to provide a varied and diversified, well rounded program, that addresses the various needs and interests of our Club members.  
  
* Parents…Please pay special attention to this section: During the school session, our Power Hour program is taken very seriously. This is a time set aside for members to work on their  homework. We know how much you, as a parent, want your child to finish, or at least get the majority of their homework completed at the Club. That is our goal as well. However, too many  times, we experience inappropriate horseplay, joking around, unnecessary talking, etc. that can lead to a disruptive atmosphere in the study rooms. All it takes is one or two members to  distract and disrupt the efforts of all the others that are diligently trying to get their homework done.  

Our staff will verbally warn members NOT behaving or participating properly to please STOP and to get to work. In these instances, staff will follow our Four Step Discipline Guideline. Our Club  policy is that the 3rd time a member is sent to Time Out, the member may be suspended for 1 day, at the Site Director's discretion. Continued violations will result in parent consultations  and/or longer suspensions. 

While we always want our members to have fun at our Clubs, there is a time & place for everything. Homework does NOT have to be boring and painful. It is simply something that has to be done. So please  talk to your child about giving us a good, concerted effort during Power Hour, so it can be a productive session for everyone in the study room. This is one program area that will have very high  expectations…and expectations that will be enforced.

Volunteers

Volunteers are an integral part of the Boys & Girls Club experience. We welcome volunteers who wish to share their time and/or talents. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer at  one of our Clubs, please stop by our Club to pick-up a volunteer application. Background checks are required of all volunteers prior to being able to work with our youth members.

Contacting Us

Please do not hesitate to let us know whenever you have a question or a concern. We hope you will always start by contacting the Site Director when issues arise; after all, they are the ones  who know your child(ren) the best. If the need arises, however, and you feel that an issue or complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved at the unit level, please know that you may contact the Chief Executive Officer of the organization at our administrative office in Weimar at (979) 725-8208.

Thank you for entrusting your child(ren) to Boys & Girls Clubs of Champion Valley!!



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