TOPEKA, KS -- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka have had some special guests over the last week, from both the Topeka Pilots and Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Serving over 10,000 youth in the Topeka community through outreach programs, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka offers afterschool programming and serves through 10 site locations in and around Topeka.
They provide a number of services, focusing on academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character and citizenship.
Last week, the Pilots welcomed club members when they got off the bus, lining up on both sides to give high-fives as they walked through. Players also stayed for program time and had dinner with club members.
Some of the team also went to the facility’s Teen Center and enjoyed some time with teenagers in the program.
“The Pilots are honored to have the opportunity to work with the Boys & Girls Club of Topeka,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said. “Our players embrace the chance to bring smiles to the faces of the youngsters in our community. We look forward to more events with the club.”
This week, the visiting Fairbanks Ice Dogs also took some time to visit the Adams Street facility in advance of games this weekend in Topeka. The Ice Dogs face off with the Pilots on October 26 and 27.
Players visited and ate dinner with members, with both players and club members having a great time in the process.
Some of the club members reactions were that “this is the best day ever,” “this makes me feel really happy,” “these guys are pretty cool” and “can I please go through the high five line again?”
This joy was also shared by Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart, who said his players enjoyed it just as much as the members.
“Our players had an awesome time at the Boys & Girls Club of Topeka,” Stewart said. “It was an experience that they will remember, and more important, want to be a part of again in the future.”
Stewart also said he is hoping his team can stop by again once more before the end of the week to spend more time with members.
Dawn McWilliams, Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Club of Topeka, was also thankful the members and players were able to share in these experiences.
“We strive every day for every Club member to experience the optimal Club Experience, a place where kids feel safe, have a sense of belonging and are supported by caring adults,” McWilliams said. “The moment of joy that filled those kids’ hearts and the smiles they exuded when they exited their buses to be greeted by coaches and players from Pilots and Ice Dogs has been imprinted on our hearts forever. Those kids walked taller, smiled brighter and felt prouder as they entered our blue doors and for that we are so very grateful for the greatness that these teams brought.”