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More kids, more fun: Attendance jumps at Boys & Girls Club

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com
Teri Vance/Nevada AppealKennedy Harris, left, and Yesenia Sencion, both 6, play games Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada. Membership is soaring at the club this summer.
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Krysti Reynolds, 8, is attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada’s summer program this year for the first time.

“There’s lots of nice people and friends to make,” she said.

Bailee Hartmann, 9, agreed.

“Krysti was the first friend I made here,” she explained.

With the new $5.5 million, 12,600-square-foot center at 1870 Russell Way, membership is rapidly increasing.

“The numbers are going through the roof,” said Diane McCoy, the club’s director of operations.

While membership increased by about 75 to 80 kids per day during the school year, McCoy said, the summer program has grown from about 760 members last June to 1,067 this month.

“It’s a big difference,” she said.

Club director Hal Hansen attributes the growth to the new center, as well as the sluggish economy.

“The new club has been very well received,” he said. “It’s cleaner. It’s larger. It’s much, much nicer.

“We’re seeing a lot of people who had gone to other programs. We’re much more affordable.”

The new club was completed in August and opened to students on Aug. 26, the first day of school. It replaced the 7,000-square-foot building on South Stewart Street.

Timmy Kelley, 11, attended two years in the former club, which he describes as being “all torn up.” He said he’s much happier in the new location.

“It’s nicer and cooler,” he said. “We didn’t have as much air conditioning over there. We have new fields and a few more games. The teen center is bigger and we have more computers.”

Hansen said more staff has been hired to accommodate the increasing membership, and he’s pleased with the growth.

“There’s less kids being left home,” he said. “When they’re left unattended, that’s when they get in trouble or trouble finds them. They’re kept busy and safe here at the Boys & Girls Club.”