December 15, 2021

Gov. Lamont and Ridgefield Legislators Announce New Funding for Boys & Girls Club

Six months ago, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and State Representatives Aimee Berger-Girvalo (D-Ridgefield) and Kenneth Gucker (D-Ridgefield) brought Governor Ned Lamont to the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield to see firsthand the need for expanded and improved facilities. This week, Lamont included $2 million for the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield on the agenda of the State Bond Commission. The funding, set to be approved and released upon the Bond Commission’s scheduled December 21 meeting, will be “life-changing,” according to Boys & Girls Club Chief Executive Officer Mike Flynn.

“The first time I toured the Boys & Girls Club, I was blown away by the impact it has on students of all ages,” said Sen. Haskell. “Having spent time with these young people and their mentors at the club, I’ve seen firsthand how this local treasure helps young people grow into responsible, compassionate and confident adults. With this state funding, the club will have the capacity to change the lives of even more young people from Ridgefield and surrounding communities. Rep. Berger-Girvalo and I have been talking up this club for more than a year at the State Capitol, and I’m so proud that the advocacy has paid off.”

“I had always heard such terrific things about the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, but I didn’t truly understand the impact this place has on the young people of our community until I toured the facilities and took the opportunity to speak with the kids about what BGRC means to them,” said Rep. Berger-Girvalo. “I am so excited for this funding and for the updated and expanded resources it will provide for these kids, the community at large, and the Club’s ability to grow and offer more services. I want to thank Gov. Lamont and the Bond Commission for recognizing our request for funding and seeing it through.”

“I am super excited to see the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield get the long sought support it so desperately needs,” said Rep. Gucker. “When I toured their location last summer, we learned of the many great services they provide for the community, which explained why they were bursting at the seams. This new infusion from the state will help them expand and continue to support the greater Ridgefield area for many years to come. I also want to thank the Speaker and leadership as well as the Governor for making this all possible.”

“Every child should have access to resources that support their growth and development, and that is why I am proud the state is able to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield to expand its Teen Center and ensure that it can continue providing top-quality services to the community for many years to come,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

“The Boys & Girls Club is so vital to the Greater Ridgefield Community and this funding is an investment into our future,” said CEO Flynn. “We have raised considerable money privately over the last several years and this bonding money from the state puts us closer to the finish line of our fundraising goal. We are now in a position to finish the campaign through the community giving phase, which will begin in January. This project has been a vision of ours for almost 5 years, and the bonding money makes this a dream come true. We simply cannot thank our state and local leadership enough for all they did to make this possible. On behalf of our Board of Directors, and most importantly our Club kids, I want to give a very special thank you to Governor Ned Lamont, State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Aimee Berger- Giravalo and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi. Specifically, Senator Haskell, State Representative Berger-Giravalo, and First Selectman Marconi, who have been true advocates in Hartford for the Club and this funding for the past two years. They are true champions for youth, and for Ridgefield, and we are incredibly grateful for their unwavering support and commitment – it’s truly commendable.”

In May, the Ridgefield Press reported that the expansion has a $6.5 million total cost, dedicated to serving the club’s users aged sixth- to 12th-grade. Funding would support the development of a new teen center with a multipurpose space and technology café, additionally allowing the Club to repurpose existing space for new programs and educational activities to serve more members. The $2 million in funding plays a key role to ensure these newfound resources will soon aid current and future users of the club.