Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich scoops up a special Valentine’s Day treat
GREENWICH — For 175 kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Wednesday was pretty much perfect.
Not only were they off school for winter recess, but the club also offered them free ice cream with all the toppings they could want. The kids grabbed spoons and dug in at the annual Ice Cream Social, a 10-year-old tradition held every Valentine’s Day at the club.
“How could a kid not be excited?” club CEO Bobby Walker Jr. said with a smile. “They’re getting free ice cream with as many toppings as they want. They’re getting something they want — but it’s also very important for them to understand who and where this comes from.”
The ice cream social was created by former First Selectman Rebecca Breed, a longtime supporter of the club and a vice chair of its board of directors. She paid for the ice cream — eight tubs of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cookies and cream — as well as the toppings, including chocolate sauce, caramel and whipped cream along with an assortment of such candy as Gummi Bears, M&M’s, Skittles and Kit Kats.
The kids learned about Breed — a former first selectmen who became a lawyer to help kids in need. Walker wanted the kids to know that someone thought they were special and deserved the treats. He said he was confident they got that message.
All of the kids posed for a group photo to send to Breed, and they painted her a Valentine’s Day card, too, that many of them signed.
“This is a constant reminder to us and to the kids that they matter,” Walker said. “When someone like a Rebecca Breed goes out of her way year after year to do something special, it’s great for the kids. It’s not always big, splashy things like this either. But this is something the kids love, and it doesn’t cost them anything. They’re getting ice cream and being with their friends and it’s not just something only rich kids can afford. The come in, show their club card and the staff is serving them, which shows the kids how special they are.”
Wednesday’s crowd included kids who had been to past socials, as well as others who were there for the first time, including Raymi Bendezu, 7; Sofia Hernandez, 9; and Haylli Chavoya, 7. All three club members had a great time, especially when it came to the cookies and cream ice cream.
“I really liked the whipped cream,” Chvoya said. “It’s really tasty.”
“It’s a lot of fun that everyone was participating,” Hernandez said. “It’s always fun to get ice cream.”
Although Breed was not able to attend Wednesday’s event, her presence was definitely felt and the kids, as well as the staff, were eager to say thank you.
“She has been a friend to this club for a long time. I remember when I arrived here, she was one of the first board members to reach out to me, welcome me, congratulate me and tell me what a great job I needed to keep on doing,” Walker said. “This is a special place. And it’s not only special for the members but also for the community of people like her.”
The club has been packed all week with the public schools on winter break. The event was open to everyone there on Wednesday. That included staff as well as some past members who came back. That pushed the number of attendees over 200.
“Once you’re part of the club family, you’re always part of the club family,” Walker said.