Learn how BellXcel is helping customers take programs to the next level with Arly.
In the coastal South Carolina community best known for its bustling summer season, a new YMCA program is providing local kids with engaging experiences that instill confidence, curiosity, a mindset of collaboration and leadership, and dreams that go far beyond the bright lights of the nearby boardwalk. At the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, children come to the afterschool program from homeschool, public and private schools, and from widely varying economic means. Even in its short tenure, the program has gone above and beyond your typical afterschool experience.
Kelsey Evans, the youth development and academics director, wanted to simplify her operations to keep the focus where it matters most — elevating the potential of the kids enrolled in her program. It was this desire that connected her with BellXcel.
“Working with BellXcel has taken our afterschool program to the next level,” said Evans. “The analytics and tracking Arly provides has been so beneficial. I have also been really impressed with the ample number of digital tools and resources that not only I can use as an administrator, but that my staff can use to feel supported in their daily work as well.”
Their story is one of many that drives national nonprofit BellXcel to continually innovate solutions that strengthen youth programs.
For the past two years, thousands of users from YMCAs, community and faith-based organizations, camps, and schools across the country have experienced earlier versions of BellXcel’s software solution. This spring’s release will include expanded features and functionality like ecommerce, along with a new name for the software — Arly.
“Leveraging three decades of experience running youth programs ourselves, along with extensive research and evidence by independent third-party organizations like RAND, Arly has been purpose-built to be a complete youth program management software unlike any solution on the market today,” said Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D., the CEO of BellXcel. “Complete means something different to us than it does to other software companies. It means having all the essential elements for high-quality programming unified at your fingertips.”
With Arly, Dr. Sanchez Gilbert added it isn’t just about creating organizational efficiencies — though it does that, too — it’s about program outcomes. “That’s what drives us daily and is why Arly includes such robust tools, professional development resources and program content,” she explained. “Arly also includes dashboard analytics to help program providers track their business, surveys to gauge progress and marketing tools to increase participation, all to amplify results and increase revenue potential.”
This spring, Arly’s functionality will expand even further to include ecommerce to help programs strengthen their financial outlook with streamlined payment collection and account processing. Specifically, a few key areas Arly can provide support to community recreation leaders include staffing, creating partnerships with schools, funding and highlighting your impact.
Recruiting and training staff are huge pain points for community recreation leaders. With Arly, leaders can support their staff with a consistent onboarding and training experience through Arly’s online professional development courses. Staff can also access resources and tools related to all aspects of running a high-quality youth program — such as how to launch and manage a program, create a strong culture and climate, work with English language learners, and strengthen family engagement.
Long-term BellXcel customer and Arly user, Rebecca White, the executive director of youth development at the YMCA of Central Virginia, shared the learning resources are key to running a program smoothly. “It provides so much support for staff as they can find everything they need to support them in their roles throughout the program,” she said. “The platform allows for all of your staff to be on the same page and the ease of access allows them to view materials on their own time.”
Staff can also download certificates of completion to bolster their list of professional proficiencies on their resumes and LinkedIn, gaining benefits that go beyond their paycheck.
Creating Partnerships with Schools
Dr. Sanchez Gilbert knows schools need help expanding their capacity beyond the school day but fear compromising quality. With Arly’s evidence-based approach to program planning, providers can prove their ability to partner with schools and expand enriching opportunities for the kids in their community.
Additionally, a common concern in the community recreation industry is establishing a program to be measurable from the start to prove money well spent. With Arly’s analytics, surveys, and quality assessment and improvement tools, it’s easy for Arly users to prove the impact they’re having to their funders and community. They can ensure they’re delivering engaging experiences that keep staff, families and kids coming back for more.
Highlighting Your Impact
When it comes to staying aware of customer concerns, BellXcel understands the power of surveys. Arly provides customers with the ability to survey staff, families and even kids. Dr. Sanchez Gilbert believes when we know better, we do better. Feedback — both qualitative and quantitative — has long been part of BellXcel’s continuous improvement model.
“We also continue to seek independent third-party validation to ensure our solution supports what the research shows drives the best outcomes,” said Dr. Sanchez Gilbert. “We will continuously test with customers and power users to further innovate our solutions given shifts in their needs and industry trends.”
“Out of school activities are essential to the success of our youth. When you recall college applications and job interviews for example, what makes you stand out is the sum of your experiences beyond school. There is a real opportunity and need for community-based organizations like YMCAs, JCCs, and parks and rec departments who share that same passion for improving the lives of the children in their communities, to step into the gap with high-quality youth experiences that can lead to life-changing impact. Our mission is to make those opportunities easier and more affordable to implement.” — Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D.
Produced in Partnership with BellXcel.
Photos by Bobby Altman, and courtesy of BellXcel.