To the delight of over seven hundred island children, the new Nantucket Boys & Girls Club opened its doors last month, less than two years after the project was first announced. Boasting over 35,000 square-feet of brand-spanking new facilities, the new Club comes equipped with a two-court gymnasium, a separate wing for teenagers, a new learning center, a cutting-edge computer lab, and a commercial kitchen that would be the envy of any chef on Nantucket! With more room to spread out, the Club has also expanded its programs to include more sports, dance, theater, art classes, mentoring programs, teen services, homework assistance computer classes, and more.
To help sustain its daily operations, the Club will host the Tim Russert Summer Groove on Saturday, August 15th. With Allyson Mitchell and Lauren Marttila serving as this year’s co-chairs, the Groove will be one to remember as the sprawling new space has allowed event planners to pull out all the stops. N Magazine spoke with Mitchell and Marttila as they approach the two-week countdown to event time!
N MAGAZINE: The Summer Groove is now in its 14th year – how is this year’s event going to be different from years past? What new and exciting things can attendees look forward to?
LAUREN MARTTILA / ALLYSON MITCHELL: The new Boys & Girls Club building is going to be an absolute game changer. We won’t have to worry about rain, humidity, or the off chance of an August hurricane! This year, we’re taking a fresh and vibrant approach to the Summer Groove. David M. Handy is our event designer and he is helping us realize our vision: to showcase the new building, raise a ton of money (as this is the Club’s largest annual fundraiser), and ensure our guests have a fabulously fun evening! Expect non-stop dancing, Razz & Rosé (think Cisco Brewers meets Épernay), and an incredibly curated live auction.
N MAGAZINE: How has the recent remodel of the Boys & Girls Club affected/benefitted the event?
MARTTILA / MITCHELL: Air conditioning! (Laughs) All kidding aside, the new building gives us an amazing – and glamorous – space to work with, while still maintaining the tradition of having cocktail hour outside on the lawn. The dinner, auction, and dancing portion of the evening will be inside this year, and guests will be encouraged to explore the new building during the later portion of the evening. This recent renovation has allowed the Club to provide some new programs, which will be evident to guests as they walk around. The funds raised at the Tim Russert Summer Groove go directly towards supporting the work that the Club does with Nantucket’s youth – holding the Groove in this space is an important reminder to us of what this event is really about…the kids!
N MAGAZINE: This incredible event directly benefits the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club. Why is this particular organization so important here on Nantucket?
MARTTILA / MITCHELL: Over 300 children pass through the doors of the Club each day, and approximately 700 children use the services of the Club annually. Those numbers are expected to increase with the completion of the new building! I [Alli] am proud to tell people that I grew up as a Club Kid, and am excited to know that my son will be growing up there too! As the largest youth organization on the island, local families and our community truly rely on the Club to provide quality programs in a safe environment – it gives peace of mind to island parents who are able to send their children to such a wonderful place while they conduct their business and keep the island thriving. In turn, the Summer Groove receives tremendous support from the community. We are so fortunate that our amazing guests, patrons, and corporate sponsors (Nantucket Island Resorts, Nantucket Bank, a division of Blue Hills Bank, and Windwalker William Raveis) are invested in helping to make the event a success!
N MAGAZINE: What is the financial significance of the Summer Groove with regards to the Boys & Girls Club?
MARTTILA / MITCHELL: Approximately one-third of the Club’s annual operating budget is raised the night of the Summer Groove… that’s an incredible figure! We would be thrilled to see that number increase this year (consider that a challenge, Nantucket!)
N MAGAZINE: This year, Zona V. Tanner-Butler will be receiving the Tim Russert Spirit of Hope Award, correct?
MARTTILA / MITCHELL: Yes. In 2009 the Tim Russert Spirit of Hope Award was created to continue his legacy, and as a way to honor those in our community who go above and beyond! Past recipients include Lucile Hays, Maureen Hackett, Chuck Geschke, Robin and EJ Harvey and Richard Glidden. We are thrilled to present this year’s award to Zona V. Tanner-Butler in honor of her unwavering commitment to the Club. Zona was on the Board of Trustees for 14 years — a portion of that time serving as Treasurer — and has spent countless hours enthusiastically volunteering for the organization.
N MAGAZINE: For the ladies and gents out there planning on attending and worrying about to wear, what attire advice would you give?
MARTTILA / MITCHELL: Something you can dance in! Bonus points if it’s brightly colored and “groovy.” Girls, bring a ruana from Milly & Grace in case it’s a little chilly at first, and gents bring those suit jackets! But be prepared to shed those outer layers as the dance floor heats up!