By Kay Lynn Roberts-McMurray

The Ely Times

The school bell rings and for many children the experience of going home to mom or dad, and after school snacks is just a dream.

Many kids end up home alone or better known as a “latch-key” kid, left to their own devices because their parents are still at work. Many parents try to juggle their schedules so that one of them is home, but there are many single parents who have no choice.

That is where the Boys & Girls Club comes in.

Caroline McIntosh along with a Steering Committee of community leaders has made this their  mission and goal to have one opened and operational by the first day of summer in 2017.

With several community leaders like school board members, Lori Hunt, and Mary Kerner, White Pine County School, Superintendent, Adam Young, and elected officials, Assemblyman, John Ellison, County Commissioners Richard Howe and Laurie Carson, and City Councilwoman, Pat Robison and several influential members of the community present, Mike Wurm, Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club in Truckee Meadows gave a presentation to explain how effective a Boys & Girls Club could be here in Ely.

Mike Wurm and Caroline McIntosh had previously discussed what would be the quickest and most effective way to bring the Boys and Girls Club services to Ely.

That is by operating  under the Boys & Girls Club Truckee Meadows program, and by utilizing the space at the White Pine County Schools, David E. Normal Elementary, McGill Elementary and the White Pine Middle School.

David Wurm said, “Being able to work with the kids right where their at when school gets out is a very integral part of the program”.

McIntosh said “We need services here for the kids before and after school, but especially during the summer months.”

What is the Boys and Girls Club? The Boys & Girls Club of America had its beginning in 1869 with several women in Hartford, Connecticut. Believing that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, so a club was born, as they organized their first one. In 1906, several Boys Clubs decided to affiliate.

The Federated Boys Club in Boston was formed with 53 member organizations and this marked the start of a nationwide Movement. Today, with over 1,100 clubs nationwide, even worldwide with some clubs residing at military bases that’s the kind of support this club has.

Their mission is to Enhance the quality of life for children ages 6 to 18. They are committed to creating healthy children in body and mind, with a sense of competence, usefulness, responsibility, belonging and influence through diverse programs and community involvement.

They focus on the 5 Core Program Areas of Arts, Character & Leadership Development, Education, Technology & Career Development, Health & Life Skills, Sports, Fitness and Recreation to teach young people the skills they need to succeed in life.

So what will a club like this cost to start here in Ely? A $100,000. To date, $14,000 has been raised. McIntosh has already reached out to quite a few clubs and has received several donations. Patty Caffereta was one generous donor, who happened to be present at the meet and greet last Friday night. Patty was representing Attorney General, Adam Laxalt who is in full support of this program. A recent donation came in this week from the All Class Reunion Commiteee. They presented a check for $500.00.

A Steering Commitee has been put together with the following members:  Judges Gary Fairman, and Steve Dobrescu, Lynette Gust, Megan Pekuri, Mike Wheable, Ronda Bishop, Gretchen Derbidge, Steve Bishop and Caroline McIntosh to bring a Boys & Girls Club to White Pine County.  Partners for the Club so far are the White Pine County Library, the co-operative extension program and the CACHE program. Having a place for food distribution in the summer was another key asset to this program said Caroline. “It doesn’t matter if it’s only 1 child, that child needs to be fed”.

Getting this club off the ground will take a lot of community support. and Mike Wurm reassured everyone that any money that is raised in the county will stay in the county. “We’ll open up the doors, get to know the needs of our community and then build a boys and girls club that will meet the needs of White Pine County”.

McIntosh said, “Every single dollar helps. We have a very generous commuity.”