YERINGTON - Diane McCoy has gotten to know the kids on both sides of the Pine Nut Mountains.
For 12 years, she ran all the youth programs as program coordinator for Douglas County Parks and Recreation. Now she's executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Mason Valley in Yerington.
McCoy has served as the fledgling club's acting executive director since leaving Gardnerville in November but only got the full title Oct. 7.
For the moment, the boys and girls club is still a vision and an empty former garage that once housed the Old Pizen Switch Motors auto parts and repair shops. McCoy said she hopes to start the transformation into a youth complex in November and have the center ready in February.
Even in an acting role, McCoy played a pivotal role in taking a board of directors' idea and translating it into $900,000 in donations and a design that will give the Boys and Girls Club a gym, teen center, recreation center and computer lab.
"When I was hired in November, the board was still in a conceptual stage of what it wanted. I wrote the bylaws and I have written 67 grants."
Fifteen grants have been funded and another 15 are pending. McCoy expects many of those to materialize once the center opens.
"I can't say enough about how supportive this community has been," McCoy said. "It's amazing the amount of money this community is able to raise."
McCoy, a self-proclaimed "curb-and-gutter girl," took a quick liking to small-town life in Yerington and negotiating a 3.5-mile dirt road to get home.
"To be honest with you, I was apprehensive at first," she said. "But I love the ruralness. I love the quiet. We have pheasants, doves, quail, turkeys, deer. I almost hit a mountain lion the other day."
McCoy and her husband, Doug, live in the Mason Valley Management Area because he works for the Nevada Division of Wildlife, which oversees the area.
"Yerington is so community oriented," she said. "That's what's so wonderful. When you cross the street, people still stop for you."
Diane McCoy, 44, was raised in the Sacramento suburb of Fair Oaks and she married her high school sweetheart. She and Doug moved to Wyoming for five years.
A road trip to visit family in Sacramento led to the McCoy's moving to Gardnerville in 1980.
"We decided to go home through Tahoe instead of Reno," she said. "Carson Valley was so beautiful and we wanted to live closer to family."
They moved to Douglas County with their toddlers, Jennifer and Brian, now 22 and 20, and Doug built chairlifts for Lift Engineering.
Along with her job with recreation programs, Diane McCoy also served as a Douglas County School Board trustee for her last four years in Carson Valley, 1994 to 1998.
"All my life I've worked with kids," she said. "That has enabled me to do what my passion in life is. Every day there's something new with them. They have such a passion for life and it rubs off on you. For the kids coming here, I may be the only smiling face they see that day."