After careful evaluation and recommendation from the Advisory Board, the Board of Trustees awarded $750,000 to support three youth organizations: Vineyard Family Tennis, Camp Jabberwocky and the MV Boys & Girls Club. Synopses and images below outline the award-winning proposals.
VINEYARD FAMILY TENNIS
Emergency Grant Award: $250,000
Mission: To provide tennis instruction to school-aged children through a combination of year-round progressive instruction, training and match play, VYT cultivates proficiency in a life-sport as well as instills the qualities of sportsmanship, commitment, perseverance and character in young people.
Funds from MVYouth will enable VYT to purchase a new tennis “bubble” to replace the aged one that collapsed in March 2018 and deemed beyond repair. The new bubble will allow the organization to continue to offer instruction to students year-round. MVYouth’s Advisory Board and Trustees voted to support VYT ahead of schedule in their 2019 Expansion Grant cycle in order to expedite the purchase of the bubble and preempt interruption of winter instruction.
VYT’s mission is to cultivate proficiency in a life-sport and instill the qualities of sportsmanship, commitment, perseverance and character in young people. VYT was founded 20 years ago through the generosity and vision of West Tisbury resident, Gerald De Blois, who financially supported the program throughout its existence. The program started as an after-school activity with an enrollment of 20 children. It has grown into a year-round program which serves approximately 300 kids annually at their four-court facility near the rotary in Oak Bluffs.
VYT’s proximity to MVRHS has enabled a strong partnership to be developed. MVRHS Varsity Boys and Girls teams, whose players were nurtured in VYT’s youth programs, won six State Championships in the past seven years. VYT hopes to expand their programmatic offerings to serve 18-25 year olds through a mentorship program, in which high school graduates can continue to play and participate as mentors and instructors of elementary and middle school children. VYT is also eager to expand their partnership with the Y to offer members tennis benefits.
VYT recently gained approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Oak Bluffs Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals to allow adult play at the facility when youth programs are not in session. Fees collected from adult players will subsidize youth programs and establish a sustainable funding model to replace the generous support of their sole beneficiary, which ended in August 2018. For the first 20 years of their operating history, VYT’s programs were offered free for all participants. Under a new operating model, they will continue to offer free introductory six-week sessions to any child wishing to participate, followed by nominal fees for instruction at upper levels. VYT has established a scholarship program for families requiring assistance with new program fees.
Main Cabin Renovation and Expansion
Expansion Grant Award: $400,000
Mission: To provide a residential vacation camp for people with disabilities. We provide recreation and enrich the lives of our campers by creating a supportive environment that promotes the fulfillment of human potential and fosters independence and self-determination while respecting diversity.
Funds from MVYouth will enable Camp Jabberwocky to renovate, winterize and expand their Main Cabin, the heart of the Jabberwocky campus. The renovation will expand the capacity of the summer camp and enable year-round Island organizations to use the Main Cabin during the Camp’s off-season. Renovations to the Main Cabin are underway by South Mountain Co. The footprint of the old building has been expanded and redesigned to accommodate the various critical roles it plays for the organization - improving accessibility, safety, privacy and flow. The new design will include a commercial kitchen, an expanded dining hall for mealtimes and gatherings, male and female handicap-accessible bathrooms, a screened dining porch, small administrative offices and a nurse’s station.
For 65 years, Camp Jabberwocky, located near Lake Tashmoo in Vineyard Haven, has provided residential summer camps on Martha’s Vineyard for people with disabilities. Their mission is to “create an environment that promotes the fulfillment of human potential and fosters independence and self-determination while respecting diversity.” With a 1:1 camper to counselor ratio and shared residential spaces, the camp is well known for its inclusivity and successfully integrating their programs with hallmark Island summer events such as the 4th of July Parade and Agricultural Fair, while modeling for the Vineyard community a joyous respect for all. At present, Jabberwocky serves approximately 30 campers and counselors who are year-round residents of Martha’s Vineyard.
Once the renovation is complete, the organization plans to run more Island-centric programs in the shoulder seasons and open the space to Island organizations to expand their programming throughout the off-season. They believe in the power of “promoting Camp Jabberwocky’s ideals of volunteerism, inclusion, empowerment, and kindness” in the rising generation of Islanders.
Jabberwocky has formalized an arrangement with Island Grown Initiative (IGI) to use the space September-May to expand youth programs and access to healthy food for all Islanders. IGI estimates their expanded programming will reach 2,500 youth through: after-school programs that engage youth to process gleaned food for Islanders in need; providing free lunches to school children during December, February and April vacations; offering February and April vacation week camps; processing local, gleaned food for school meals and taste tests of local vegetables; and offering cooking classes to pregnant women. Jabberwocky expects that additional collaborations are likely to develop once the facility is usable this fall.
MARTHA’S VINEYARD BOYS & GIRLS CLUB
Critical Capital Needs
Emergency Grant Award: $100,000
Mission: To provide quality programs and services to Island children of all ages that will prepare them for healthy and productive lives.
Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club received a $100,000 Emergency Grant to help make critical capital improvements and major repairs to their aging Edgartown facility. The proposed list of needed improvements includes: new security doors and an upgraded security system; adding a foam sealant fire barrier to the gym ceiling; replacing decayed windows and flooring; converting the old locker room into a classroom; removing and remediating mold from the building; essential electrical and plumbing repairs; upgrading the front desk check-in area to improve supervision and attendance practices; and buying 20 computers for the after-school homework program. MVYouth’s grant will only allow B&GC to address some of these items. B&GC is actively pursuing community support and additional funding to address all of the items on this list and begin strategic planning and fundraising to build a new facility that can effectively meet the needs of the youth community.
For over 80 years, The Martha's Vineyard Boys & Girls Club, located behind the Edgartown School, has served the Vineyard community by “providing quality programs and services to Island children of all ages that will prepare them for healthy and productive lives.” The organization offers affordable after-school care (and busing from schools); affordable summer camps; and collaborates with a number of Island organizations by sharing its facility and coordinating support services for kids and families. The Club serves children from all Island towns. 130 children participate daily in the after-school program - Monday through Friday 3:00-6:00 pm; and 120 children participate daily in their summer camp. In 2018, B&GC served 1802 members ages 5-20.