Red Baker Gym
By the mid-60’s, baby boomer kids were flocking to Wakeman, walking to or getting dropped off at the clubhouse after school or on weekends on a regular basis. Through in-house and travel basketball teams kids met and mingled with other kids from all over town. For many the social boundaries previously defined by school and neighborhood faded away.
Appreciation of the Present
In the last 50 years, Wakeman has experienced steady incremental growth in programs and membership particularly after 1983 with the addition of female members which was reflected in the organization’s name change to Wakeman Boys & Girls Club. In order to captivate the diverse interests of its membership, year by year, the program inventory grew from athletics to education, character & leadership development, the arts, and health & lifetime skills.
Wakeman’s Southport Clubhouse has expanded over the last three decades and today is equipped with two basketball courts, a community room, an arts studio, a game room, a weight training center and a technology room. Just outside the front door, there is a turf field where programs such as lacrosse, field hockey, flag football and Ultimate Frisbee take place. In addition, an adjacent SportCourt surface features two outdoor basketball/tennis courts.
Outreach and service groups have grown roots at Wakeman. The Torch Club for seventh and eighth graders and the Keystone Club for high school kids, helps members stretch their leadership, organizational and social skills while making meaningful contributions to the community and having fun along the way.
2012 Youth of YearIn the past 15 years, Wakeman has expanded beyond the original Southport Clubhouse to bring its quality programming and value-based, youth-oriented mission to more communities and families than ever before.
In 1998, collaboration began with the Burroughs Community Center located in the West End of Bridgeport. This successful partnership led to a capital fund raising effort which culminated in the 2011 opening of the Smilow-Burroughs Clubhouse. This 23,000 square foot, LEEDS certified facility has already served more than 1,200 children in the Bridgeport community.
In 2003, Wakeman opened the Stratfield Clubhouse in a town owned facility at Owen Fish Park before moving to the First Presbyterian Church. The Stratfield Clubhouse served members in grades 3 to 8 who lived in the northern section of Fairfield. To better serve our members in facilities owned by the organization, the Stratfield Clubhouse was closed in August of 2014. Members previously served there are now being served at our other clubhouses. This decision allowed us to meet the needs of those members much more efficiently.
100 Foul Shots
McKinley Outreach Program
In 2005, Wakeman established an after-school program at McKinley Elementary School, a Fairfield public school with a very diverse student body. Annually, more than 100 high school students serve as mentors to the students at McKinley assisting them with homework help and socialization skills. In addition a series of recreation and enrichment programs are offered at McKinley throughout the school year.
The outreach programs at McKinley School and the creation of the thriving Smilow-Burroughs Clubhouse have enriched all members involved. These efforts have given witness to the many ways Wakeman’s mission is still relevant and flourishing today and how it will continue to offer engaging opportunities for future generations of kids.