The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County headquarters were buzzing with activity all week long ahead of what promises to be a fun-filled weekend for all who attend.
On Thursday, the BGC will kick off its star-studded, 48-hour fundraising campaign that will lead up to Saturday’s Bike for Boys and Girls Clubs, sponsored by Saris Cycling. The events kick off bright and early on Thursday morning at 5253 Verona Road. The two-day event will feature former Badgers and NFL player Al Toon along with a handful of other former Badgers, local media personalities and WJJO will be broadcasting live from the event.
Included will be a virtual ride around Wisconsin on a jumbotron, a special evening warm-up ride at 6 pm on Thursday, and visits from local teams such as the Madison Mallards and Madison Capitols.
On Thursday morning, at 7:30, Peter Krause of the Bachelorette will be hosting Yoga with Peter. Families will be able to mingle with all of those personalities in addition to plenty of fun for the kids. The Boys and Girls Club will have a dunk tank available as well.
The goal of the fundraiser will be to raise $48,000 in 48 hours ahead of the Boys and Girls Club’s largest annual fundraiser, the popular Bike for Boys and Girls club that will take place on Saturday.
All of the funds raised in the two day celebration will go towards the Boys and Girls Club to make sure the Club is able to provide the premier services it does for the youth and families around Dane County.
All of it leads up to the Bike for Boys and Girls Club, which draws over a thousand people annually, on Saturday the 21rst starting at 7:30am.
The Bike for BGC features 8, 25 and 50 mile bike rides for kids and families. The BGC will have the Big Bouncy house for kids, as well as vendors from around Madison providing free snacks and food. Lunch will be catered by Metcalf’s as well as Chick-fil-A and free beer brought to the event by Capitol Brewery.
The Bike for BGC is in its 16th year and has been growing each year. The ride begins and ends at Mckee Farm in Fitchburg. People can get involved as entire teams or just as individual riders.
“It’s good to see Madison come together every year for our kids and our families,” said Boys and Girls Club CEO Rod Mitchell. “There are people who come in from as far as Fond Du Lac who come to ride with us. Some are just bike enthusiasts but everyone comes to support mainly our families. Rain or shine we’re out there. We are asking Dane County, Madison and outside of Dane County to please come out and support our kids. This is going to a great cause because these kids are our future.”
The BGC has already raised $400,000 of its goal of $500,000 for the year and is optimistic about the 48 hour campaign’s ability to draw the remaining amount the BGC needs in order to continue providing services around Dane County.
The Bike ride and the 48 hour campaign come as the Club is seeking to expand into Sun Prairie. Plans are underway for a brick-and-mortar Sun Prairie hub that will serve one of the fastest-growing and therefore neediest communities in the county.
The Sun Prairie facility will join the Taft Street and Allied Drive facility as the brick-and-mortar buildings the BGC utilizes in Dane County.
The BGC will have Sun Prairie as a home base after it is able to complete the purchase of a $1.3 million facility.
Simultaneously, the Club is looking to build a skill trade center from the ground up in Madison in order to put Madison to work with high paying jobs that only require a GED or high school diploma.
“You’ll be able to to make the same thing that a person with a bachelor’s degree coming out of college would make without the four years of debt behind it,” Mitchell told Madison365.
The skill trade center will be overseen by Dr. Willie Larkin, who served as President of Grambling State University and has ties to Madison. Larkin will be tasked with helping the skill trade center get off the ground and become financially stable, as well as use his experience in the field of education to help people develop the skills they will need in living wage jobs.
As for Saturday’s bike ride? It’s all about the fun. All about the families. And all about the kids getting a chance to enjoy the sunshine (hopefully).
“We put the FUN in fundraising,” Mitchell said.