Big changes at Boys and Girls Club
Next week there will be a lot of "new" going on at the Girls and Boys Club of Carbon County.
New executive director.
And hopefully a new direction in terms of funding.
"There are a lot of rumors out there about the Club that need to be dispelled," said Megan Marshall, president of the club's board. "One of those is that the county or the city funds us."
It's true that the Club has received money from Price City and Carbon County in the past, but that was seed money to get the programs off the ground. Funding doesn't come from grants either.
"It comes largely from donations to the club," explained Marshall. "We are completely non-profit."
And those donations and help from individuals and businesses have added up to the new stuff that is going on.
On Monday Toni Bettino took over as the new executive director of the club, replacing Mckell Warburton, who, according to Marshall, "did a wonderful job and helped us get the dream of the club off the ground years ago."
Bettino can't stand still on the past because what is happening now is coming on quick. Recently an investment company from Salt Lake purchased a building at 130 North and 200 East in Price and then leased it to the club as their new home. Over this weekend's Utah Education Association break, she and others will be moving everything the club has into the new building from Mont Harmon Junior High.
"I can't say how great the school district has been to us," said Marshall, referring to the fact that they have been operating out of a classroom donated by the district at the school for the last three years. "Carol Wells (principal) at Mont Harmon has been awesome and Kerry Jensen from the transportation department has been so willing to help us with transport of students, using activity buses and other transportation."
The new facility opens next Monday.
The dream of the club came from Marshall and a few others in the area about six years ago. Marshall, who grew up as a child in Missouri, was active in the club where she lived. Then when she was moved to Carbon County she wondered why there wasn't a club in this area. So when she got the chance, she helped to start a movement to get one going here. After a lot of work, the club started up about three years ago with Warburton at the helm.
Without a county or city recreation center the club is the closest thing kids have for activities. But for anyone who ever went to a club as a kid somewhere else, it isn't just about playing basketball or doing some crafts or activities, it is about much more.
"We want to focus on the whole person," said Marshall. "We help kids with homework, teach them about money, about life and there are a lot of opportunities for kids to earn scholarships from the state level all the way to the national stage. In fact the youth of the year for the nation that comes from the club system gets thousands of dollars in scholarships and it is awarded to them at the White House by the President."
But there is a pall that hangs over the club at times, fueled by myths about its operations.
"First some people think the club is only for troubled kids, but that is not true at all," said Marshall. "It is for any and all kids. They pay $20 a year to participate in the club. Again we do a lot of things to help kids grow. Our computer lab is being set up and it is state of the art. The machines were donated by Emery Telcom and the Kiwanis Club. A lot of what we have has come to us through local businesses."
Presently the membership of the club is 100, of which daily attendence is about 30 kids.
"Right now the club is for kids 12 to 18 (years old) because we don't have the staffing for younger kids, but when we can get the funding we will establish programs for that age group," said Marshall. "The new building has two floors. We are using the first floor for the the older group. When it happens the younger members will use the second floor."
Another rumor is that the national association funds the operation. They provide guidance and programs but no real money comes to the Club from them.
"We need steady money to run the Club," stated Marshall. "That needs to come from the community. One rumor around town is that Tony Basso is funding the entire operation. That is just not true. We need help from a lot of people."
The Club has a number of fund raisers each year, but this last year some of them have not provided the money that board members had hoped they would. The support from the community has been great according to Marshall but it can't stop and if the Club wants to expand its programs more support is needed.
The board also wants more kids to join and enjoy the Club.
The new building has taken a great deal of work to get ready for the opening next week. Marshall said that a number of businesses have donated materials and some contractors have either donated their time for the remodel or greatly discounted the cost of their services.
But the new building also poses some problems. In the past the school district didn't charge rent and there were no light bills, telephone bills, etc. Now there will costs that will show up so donations are more important than ever.
"We hope to have a grand opening for the new Club before the end of the year." said Marshall.