Getting Back to Business Bainbridge Island Style (Part 9) – Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and The Boys & Girls Club of Bainbridge Island

It’s been a long tough road over the last few months, and although we’re not out of the woods just yet, we’re resilient, and slowly—under County and State re-opening guidelines—we’re opening our doors again to the public. Through this series, I’m excited to share the stories of our Island businesses—what they’ve been doing over the last few months and what they have planned going forward (please note: I’ll be featuring at least two businesses per article).

Per state health order 20-03, a facial covering must be worn in both indoor and outdoor public spaces (when you’re within six feet of people outside your household) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe and our businesses open.


As a volunteer at the Visitor’s Desk at the Chamber of Commerce on Winslow Way, the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum (BIHM) is number one on my list of recommendations for places to visit. The museum has a wonderful history (to read more about them, click here) and they partner with organizations on the island such as the BI Public Library, the BI Senior Center, the BI Museum of Art, and Bainbridge Performing Arts to offer several free and/or inexpensive events every month. They include Living History Walks through historic areas of the island, talks and panel discussions with long-time island locals about various points in history on the island, as well as historical discussions about the Pacific Northwest (click here to read more about those events and programs).

Unfortunately, like most of our businesses and organizations, the majority of what they offer has been put on hold during the lockdown. However, that hasn’t stopped the museum from using the closure to explore new ideas for virtual programs and new content. They launched a new website in early April, which is more user friendly and has a complete calendar for programs and events, as well as enhanced capabilities to support more digital content. They also launched their very first blog (click here to view the blog), which provides an inside perspective on the work they are doing, as well as updates on upcoming programs. In addition, they’ve increased the frequency with which they release historical content via email and social media. You can sign up for their twice weekly email updates on fun collection finds, blog posts, videos from their curator, and exclusive updates, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about the island history.

As a museum, BIHM falls under Phase 3 of Washington State’s re-opening plan, when Phase 3 is implemented, the museum will partially re-open to the public—please check their website for the most current updates and information.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) began in the latter half of the 19th century, when a group of women believed that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative. Since then, the club has evolved to serve all children, providing a safe and inclusive environment, high-quality programs, hot meals, homework assistance, and fun and educational experiences. Today, there are over 4,000 clubs in the United States, serving more than 4 million members.

Their Mission
To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

 Their Vision
To provide a world-class Club Experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters their doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Here on Bainbridge Island, we’re fortunate to have our own local chapter, which is located at Coppertop Park. Although the Club has had to suspend its normal programs, special accommodations have been made for the families of essential workers. Since March, the Club has had a core group of 9 to 20 children attending daily each week, and a handful of visiting children, including a 3 ½ year-old (while they do not normally take children under the age of 5, they’ve made an exception for an essential working family to care for their younger child in addition to two of their other older children). According to Club staff, the children have formed an incredible bond, looking out for each other and working as one cohesive group; older children helping younger children with schoolwork, class projects assigned to one age group have become “Club” projects where everyone participates, and two students from the BISD Spanish Immersion program have been teaching the other children Spanish.

“There is a special connection between these kids that is providing them with added security and socialization at a potentially very difficult time.”

Michael Schrader, Teen Director, has been holding regular Zoom sessions for those teen members that have been unable to attend in person. He and his group have been working hard to keep these teens connected, and over the last year, his group has worked to strengthen the teen program and will continue those efforts moving forward.

Through various community organizations, such as the City of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Community Foundation, Kitsap Community Foundation, and regular check-in sessions via Zoom with other Island non-profits, the Club has been able to continue offering these services to our essential worker families, as well as virtual connections with their regular members.

In addition, That’s A Some Pizza and the School District have provided lunches for the children, Scrappy Art Lab has donated STEM craft projects, Coppertop Business participated in their Bear Hunt, and many of the families have donated cleaning supplies, incidentals, monetary donations, and masks.

For more information on available programs, please visit their website:

Hillary Abrams, Leadership Engagement Officer with the greater Kitsap and King County Boys and Girls Club is interested in creating a local Club Advisory Board on Bainbridge Island. Volunteers would be tasked with community outreach and engagement, fundraising, staff support and appreciation, member recruitment and support of Club projects. It’s a wonderful opportunity for parents, young professionals, local business owners and our retirement community to be part of community-based youth development and enhancement, as well as supporting the growth of our local Boys and Girls Club. If interested, please contact Hillary at or (206)436-1819.

BGCA is located at 9453 Coppertop Loop NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, phone: (206) 436-1860 – Hours Monday through Friday, 7am to 6:30pm / grades served K-12

*If you’re an island business and would like to share your story, please contact me via the “contact” link in this blog.

*Images and logos used with permission from BIHM and BGCA

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