We all know the educational advantages of having access to high speed internet, or do we? Do we all realize the major advantages that kids with access to fast internet have over kids that are compelled to live in the dial up age? How about the ability to gain quick, low cost information? How about access to breaking news, educational resources, and historical data at the push of a button? Recognizing the undeniable need for this resource, the Black Canyon Boys & Girl Club fought for access to a modern connection.
The What, The Why, The How, and a Shameless Plug for the Black Canyon Boys & Girls Club
Recently, when we had the pleasure of sitting down with the Black Canyon Boys & Girls Club’s (BCBGC) Executive Director, Bud Taylor, and the Olathe Site Director, Tim Costanza, we spoke with them about what BCBGC has meant to them and what it means for others in our communities. We also spoke with them about how their club has benefited from having Elevate Internet at their Olathe location (and as of last month, their Montrose location too!).
So, let’s start at the beginning for those of you that don’t know what the BCBGC is. The Boys & Girls Club is a safe and affordable place for kids to come after school and in the summer months. But it is not just glorified babysitting, the BCBGC has a mission that focuses its energy on enriching and developing participants’ lives with the goal of developing better citizens through programs like Power Hour, Smart Girls, Jr. Chef, Smart Moves, leadership programs, conflict resolution, and now Hour of Code!
Hour of Code, teaches kids how to code computer programing, and it was an impossibility before the arrival of Elevate Internet. This is a unique opportunity for kids in our rural territory to learn a high-tech and in-demand skill that can help them think outside their current hometown offerings.
Bud and Tim met at Boys and Girls Club of Montrose in 6th grade back when the Club was still being held in the high school cafeteria. Both confided that the Club was paramount in both of their lives. It kept them in school, out of trouble, taught them how to do laundry, fostered lifelong mentoring relationships, and gave them hope for a brighter future. Now it is their mission and their career to give their Club kids a head start with all the life skills from laundry to technology.
The BCBGC has two locations, one in Montrose and one in Olathe. While the Montrose facility can support 100 kids/day and has a 2-year waiting list, the Olathe location has room to grow with only 30 of the 100 school year spots taken. Each location maintains a robust programming schedule with opportunities for interests of all types. And our favorite program just happens to be their tech lab, also known as Hour of Code.
After learning that Elevate Internet had come to the tiny agricultural town of Olathe, Bud and Tim were inspired to start a coding program to show kids that there is more than what Olathe currently has to offer. The kids have been incredibly excited to figure out the inner workings of how tech comes together and to realize that it is not all that complicated and that they CAN do it. In Bud’s words, “Anywhere can be the next Silicon Valley,” and they want to give Olathe a fighting chance at it.
The Olathe Boys & Girls Club is now the best place in town to access high-speed internet. In fact, so much so, that they have had to design a specially designated area for their Olathe High Schoolers to come and access their Elevate Internet connection, enabling them to complete their assignments.
And don’t worry, the connection is safe. While Bud and Tim were working with Elevate to get the Olathe (and now the Montrose location too) set up, the Elevate NOC team worked to establish a blanket of security for the kids using the BCBGC’s Elevate internet service. The security blanket built by the Elevate team not only ensures safe access via their hardwired computers but also from any personal devices that they bring along to club with them.
The Boys & Girls Club of Montrose and Olathe are charter sites, which means they are locally governed and are 100% locally funded. Ineligible for national funds, this puts our rural boys and girls at a disadvantage compared to other metro Club locations and this is reflected in their facilities. After opening in 2002, the Montrose location has moved more than 20 times as they have outgrown one building after another.
The Montrose site is still housed in a rented location which, once again, the Club has outgrown. But just like Bud and Tim fought for access to high speed internet so their kids could learn to code, they are fighting for a bigger and more appropriate location for the Montrose Club.
Enter their Capital Campaign. The BCBGC are raising funds for a new location that is 18,500 square feet and includes more than 4 acres for recreation for the kiddos. This is a $3 million project, of which they are working to obtain $1 million each from grants, fundraising, and loans. Bud couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to support more families and futures once the building is up and in action!
Elevate Internet and The Black Canyon Boys & Girls Club
Every year, Elevate is a proud supporter of the BCBGC. Their dedication to the future of our communities is reflective in our own, and it is what reaffirms our commitment to this organization. Plus, they now have Hour of Code and an adequate connection for better educational opportunities all powered by Elevate Internet. Olathe, a town with one stop light, now has the ability to turn out the next Apple app. And we couldn’t be more proud to be one of the enablers of this forward progression.