Coming together through Experience!

September 13, 2016

The Experience Fund was recently created at the Hamilton Community Foundation to help encourage positive experiences for the children of the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton.

Started by Hamilton residents Bret and Krista Parrish, the Experience Fund will connect children with the larger community. “As a former teacher I know the importance that positive experiences and connections have on young people. Bret experienced a similar feeling after he participated in a church mission trip,” said Krista. “We decided to become more intentional in our service work and create this opportunity to connect kids in our community with exciting opportunities and experiences,” she added.  Bret and Krista chose to partner with the Hamilton Boys and Girls Club and the Hamilton Community Foundation in the formation of the Experience Fund.

Experience was founded to expose area children to activities they would otherwise not have the opportunity to enjoy, such as:

  • Going to camp
  • Exploring archery, canoeing, swimming and zip lining
  • Discovering the wilderness
  • Enjoying horseback riding
  • Sitting around a camp fire
  • Attending the theater
  • Taking a tennis lesson
  • Participating in an art class
  • Visiting the zoo
  • Cheering at a Reds’ or Bengals’ game
  • Touring a college campus

Experience is the bridge between the Boys and Girls Club and organizations such as the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, The Cincinnati Zoo, Brick Street Experience and the Great Miami Valley YMCA. It can open up the children’s world and show them things they may never have had the opportunity to experience before. It can help them see themselves in a new light and make them aware of endless possibilities.

Every child who participates at one of the Boys and Girls Club’s three locations can have the opportunity to earn participation in these experiences by:

  • Attending the after school educational programs
  • Participating in the homework/reading club
  • Demonstrating positive behavior

Experiences thus far have included Brick Street Experience, trips to Miami University Oxford and YMCA Camp Campbell Gard. Typically about 25-30 fourth to sixth graders participate in the experiences with supervision from Boys and Girls Club staff. Community volunteers also participate and help create the sharing of experiences with these young people. 

Karen Miller, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club, is an enthusiastic supporter of the opportunities presented by this fund. She noted that these positive experiences are so important to young people and that they can create memories for a lifetime. Karen expressed her gratitude to the community for their support for the Boys and Girls Club and for the new opportunities created by the Experience Fund.

Initial funding for these experiences was generously provided by Bret and Krista, but more funding would mean more opportunities for experiences. Contributions to the fund can be made through the Foundation’s website – - or by mailing a tax deductible contribution to the Foundation. If you would like to learn more about the activities of Experience you are invited to visit their Facebook page.