MVYouth announces $500,000 in grants for Camp Jabberwocky and Boys & Girls Club

Camp Jabberwocky has canceled its regular summer programming for this year. — Courtesy Lindsey Scott

MVYouth, a community fund founded in 2014, has awarded Camp Jabberwocky a $400,000 expansion grant, and the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club a $100,000 emergency grant.

MVYouth provides funding to organizations that serve youth on Martha’s Vineyard to help them complete high-impact capital projects. According to a press release, by applying a rigorous evaluation process, MVYouth hopes other funders will be encouraged to support these important community institutions.

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.

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. Jabberwocky has formalized an arrangement with Island Grown Initiative (IGI) to use the space September through May to expand youth programs and access to healthy food for all Islanders. IGI estimates its expanded programming will reach 2,500 youth through afterschool 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.

“Our grant funding will benefit the Jabberwocky in a number of very practical ways that will have a terrific impact on the experience for both campers and counselors. MVYouth was particularly impressed by Jabberwocky’s collaborative spirit and willingness to offer the new, winterized space to be used by year-round organizations,” explained Lindsey Scott, executive director of MVYouth, in the press release.

Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club (B&GC) received a $100,000 emergency grant to help make critical capital improvements and major repairs to its 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 afterschool homework program. MVYouth’s grant will allow B&GC to address only some of these items. B&GC is actively pursuing community support and additional funding to address all of the items on this list, and will 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; the club serves children from all Island towns. 130 children participate daily in the afterschool program, and 120 children participate daily in their summer camp. In 2018, B&GC served 1,802 members, ages 5 through 20.

“The Boys & Girls Club is an essential organization on Martha’s Vineyard supporting children and families,” Scott stated in the press release. “Affordable afterschool and summer care are critical services to sustain a healthy community and a vibrant workforce. This is the second grant MVYouth has made to B&GC to address issues with their aging facility. MVYouth is eager to see a strategic and fundraising plan from B&GC for a new facility that can enable this organization to continue offering its indispensable programming. MVYouth is also eager to see the Vineyard community rally to support this crucial organization.”