The Carson Valley site of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada launched nine new programs this week, encompassing everything from money and finance to softball and football.
Site director Taylor Lambert said staff members were asked to develop programs that align with Boys & Girls Clubs of America educational pillars including sports and recreation, education, the arts, health and wellness, character and leadership and career development.
“Our staff was very excited to develop programs based on their own interests that provide learning opportunities for our members in a fun, but structured way,” Lambert said.
New programs were launched at a program fair event held in the multi-purpose room at Pau Wa Lu Middle School, where the Carson Valley Clubhouse currently exists. Most programs are open to all ages, with a few exceptions for programs geared to ages 10 and up.
“Our membership is growing so fast we will rapidly outgrow our rented quarters at Pau Wa Lu,” Lambert said. “By using creative programming, we are making the most of the limited space we have.”
Katie Leao, chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, the parent organization for Club sites in both Carson City and the Carson Valley, said the Club has existed in the Valley for over 10 years at Pau Wa Lu, and has significantly outgrown the space.
“We’ve had a great partnership with the school district because they’ve allowed us to make changes and spread out, but what we need is a space of our own,” she said. “Our board of directors and community council are now working on our vision for the Valley and the kind of community support we can garner.”
Leao said securing funding to build a new facility is typically not a problem, as many donors are happy to provide naming gifts for legacy projects. The problem, she said, is in securing on-going funding for operations costs.
“Everyone is excited to support brick and mortar, but people don’t know it costs $250,000 per year to run a site at a school and that is just to keep the lights on and support the staff,” she said. “As we develop more programs and the number of kids we serve increases, we are going to outgrow it. In two to three years we will be out of space.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada raises money throughout the year to support programming in six sites — the Carson Valley Clubhouse, the Carson City facility and three 21st Century Learning sites at Carson City elementary schools. The Carson Valley Clubhouse serves more than 340 kids in Douglas County.
“We are one club serving many communities,” Leao said. “Spanning a county line does not mean we treat any one child differently. We want people to understand that their dollar is going toward making sure as many kids as possible have a safe, fun, educational experience at the Boys & Girls Club.”
Leao said the new programming introduced at the Carson Valley Clubhouse serves to complete the Club’s mission — to help kids become positive members and contributors of the community.
“We are in the business of creating the next generation of contributing citizens, people who are going to go on to raise kids here, go to college here, work here, live here and give back to this community,” she said. “If we can teach them these skills through the Boys & Girls Club, then we’ve done our job.”
New programs available at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada Carson Valley Clubhouse:
Science Club — Objective: To educate kids on different types of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses such as: chemistry, physics, and geology, and to promote STEM involvement in a fun, educational way. STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learn rigorous academic concepts that are coupled with real world lessons as member apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in labs, contests, and fun worksheets. Taught by Sophia Saenz Mondays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Billiards Club — Objective: Learn techniques on how to play and compete against other members. Teens will learn the basics of how to play pool and to work as a team with one another and compete monthly. Taught by Zachary Ramirez on Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. to ages 10 and over.
Green House Planters — Objective: Educating members on the life of plants and the study of them. Influencing members to get more involved with nature and their surroundings. Studying what plants grow best in our environment and when they are best to grow, members will each select something to grow over a course of time. During that time, they will be drawing pictures and writing small paragraphs on how their plant has changed and why. While doing so, they will also learn the basics of how plants grow and what is needed. Taught outside by Dylan Sullivan on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Reading Buddies — Objective: Enhance our younger club members’ reading and homework skills as well as teaching teens many leadership attributes. Teen members pair up with one or two younger members to assist them with their reading skills during Power Hour to allow them to teach members techniques to expand their vocabulary. Taught by Megan Kerrigan on Wednesdays from 3:15-4:20 p.m.
Track and Field — Objective: To teach kids the different techniques and events of Track and Field, promote physical fitness and encourage youth to join more sports and activities. Members will learn different events within the sport and compete against each other in their respective age groups. Coached by Vincent Anderson Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Softball Club — Objective: To educate kids on Softball rules and techniques. As well as teach the kids sportsmanship, team building, good character, and respect. Softball basics will be taught during weekly practice. They will learn to work as a team and have good sportsmanship whether they win or lose. Club members will scrimmage against each other once a month. Coached by Mikayla Scaramella Thursdays from 3:45-4:45 p.m. on the Pau Wa Lu baseball field.
Torch Club — Objective: As defined by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Torch Club is a “club within the Club”, a small leadership group and service club for boys and girls, ages 10 and up, helping to meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their lives, giving members a foundation of good character, leadership, accountability, and integrity. Torch Club members elect officers and work together to implement projects in the four focus areas: service to Club and community, education, health and fitness, and social recreation. Torch Club members are involved in the community to raise money as well as volunteer our time to those in need. Led by Melissa Scaramella Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Money Matters — Objective: Allowing members to review finances with engaging activities and presentations, Money Matters teaches techniques in finances and managing and saving money, and promoting financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13 to 18. Money Matters helps young people learn financial literacy, so they can make good financial choices as adults. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses and pay for college. Taught monthly by Eamon Webb Fridays from 3-4 p.m.
Football League — Objective: Promoting a healthy lifestyle for the members to influence them to be more active by teaching kids cooperation, character, humble attitudes, and sportsmanship while learning the rules of flag football. Using flag football as an approach to learn rigorous play concepts coupled with real world lessons, members will learn stance, runs, catches, flag techniques. They will also learn good character, respect, and team building skills that they can apply on and off the field. Coached by Eamon Webb Fridays from 4-5 p.m.