Boys and Girls Club opening soon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005

The Greenville-Butler County Boys and Girls Club is drawing closer to its grand opening, says Jason Taylor, director of the local club.

Taylor spoke to the Greenville Lions Club on Monday and shared details of the progress the organization has made since it took over the former YMCA building at Beeland Park at the beginning of the year.

&uot;We’ve asked everybody to be patient," Taylor said. "We decided to get all the things done to the building before we brought the kids in, so we wouldn’t have them here a week, and then have to close for a week to carpet floors, for example."

Taylor said both the upstairs and downstairs had been painted, new tile put into the first meeting room and new carpeting installed downstairs.

&uot;Once we get some floors stripped and waxed, we will be ready for business,&uot; he said.

&uot;We expect it to be sometime in mid or late April when we have our grand opening, but we don’t have an exact date yet,&uot; Taylor added.

He said the pool would be &uot;open as always&uot;.

&uot;Because [YMCA Director] Amanda Phillips has always handled and knows how to deal with that 70-year-old pool, she will continue to handle its maintenance and operation. It’ll be used by the YMCA, also,&uot; explained Taylor.

The new club will also have a game room with ping pong, Foosball, air hockey, pool table, video games and more to entertain the club members.

Taylor also spoke to the Lions about the positive benefits the new organization will bring to youth ages six to 16 in the city and county.

&uot;The Boys and Girls Club is a positive place for kids to learn about life and how to become better people and better leaders. It’s all done in an atmosphere that is safe, friendly and fun – you’ve got to include some fun,&uot; he explained.

The Boys and Girls Club breaks the groups into ages 6-9, 10-12 and 13-16. During the school year they meet 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and during the summer, they are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

&uot;We offer four core areas and we rotate the children in and out of them somewhat like classes at school. Our four areas are Education, Prevention, Arts and Crafts and Character and Leadership.

Education involves helping kids with their homework, providing tutoring in areas where they have trouble and so forth. All the children are expected to bring schoolbooks with them when they come to us after school each day. We also encourage them to bring their report cards so we can see where their weak areas are and then help them improve in those areas,&uot; explained Taylor.

&uot;Prevention deals with the usual pitfalls young people face today – drugs, alcohol, sex, teen pregnancy. All the materials used are also age-appropriate. Arts and crafts provides a fun activity that keeps kids interested and livens things up for them.

And Character and Leadership helps the children and teens learn what being a person of good character, being a dependable person, is all about,&uot; he added.

During the summer, Taylor said a fifth core area would be added to the program, Sports and Fitness.

&uot;We will have different sports teams. Often when you get the kids involved in sports, then you can push the other core areas,&uot; stressed Taylor.

The director said he plans to meet with the principals of all the schools in the county as they push to get area youth enrolled in the program.

&uot;We do want to point out we are not interested in only lower income children or those of a certain ethnicity – all are welcome,&uot; he told his audience.

The cost is just $10 a week per child, Taylor said, and there are a limited number of scholarships available for &uot;the truly indigent kids.&uot;

&uot;We also will have the Summer Feeding Program in place, which means all the kids will get a sack lunch daily at no additional charge,&uot; said Taylor. He anticipates 150-200 area children and youth getting involved in the summer program.

The Greenville-Butler County Boys and Girls Club is looking for one additional team member to teach Prevention, the director said.

&uot;If you know of anyone who would be interested in filling this position, please let me know,&uot; said Taylor. For more information on the organization, call 382-0799.