Boys & Girls Club Coming

Boys & Girls Club is coming
By DIANE WETZEL, The North Platte Telegraph
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The Boys and Girls Club of America is coming to North Platte, according to Nate Jensen, a board member of the organization.
Jenson announced that the club was coming at a meeting of the Original Town Association Tuesday night.
“The national Boys and Girls Club and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Brunning decided that North Platte would be a good place for the club to come,” Jensen said. “The board of directors was finalized on Monday.”
The organization plans to launch its program here in the fall.
Two-thirds of the annual funding of the program will come from state and national sources, while one-third would be raised locally. Bruning announced last year that $115,000 in start-up money would come from a court settlement involving a Lincoln County business.
Jensen told members the organization is looking for a “place to start.”
“We need a place where we can have between 30-50 kids while we get our feet wet,” Jensen said. “We would like to find a place within walking distance of Buffalo, Madison, Lincoln or Jefferson schools.”
The group has a site selection team working to find a location for the club, and the search for an executive director will start soon.
Boys and Girls Club will be a latchkey after-school program from 3:30 to 8 p.m.
“The program will be supervised and provide a hot supper,” Jensen said.
According to a news release, “The Boys and Girls Club is a national affiliation of local autonomous organizations together working to inspire young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Boys and Girls Club accomplishes this as a vibrant and fun, facility-based program for youth ages 5 to 19 that helps the youth make the right decisions through age-appropriate programs.
“The Boys and Girls Club is always led by well-screened and well-trained professional staff normally operating until 9 p.m. in the evenings and is open on Saturdays, when school is out, and all summer long – solving many concerns with after-school care and the lack of safe, supervised evening activities for teens. Boys and Girls Club has quality meal programs and a sense of community allowing the youth to feel ‘involved’ and to develop a healthy self-esteem and sense of belonging. One of the best things about the Boys and Girls Clubs is the club’s mission to be available to all – especially those from disadvantaged situations. To accomplish this, the membership fee averages only $5 to $20 per year.”
According to the news release, Boys and Girl’s Club alumni include Bill Cosby, President Bill Clinton, Derek Jeter, Neil Diamond, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Michael Jordan and Martin Sheen.
In deciding to begin a program in North Platte, the group circulated more than 1,300 community surveys to parents, youths and business leaders. According to the press release, “It was determined that both a need and a gap in services exists in the community, especially with the middle and high school youth. It was also determined that there was a significant need for safe, evening activities for the older youth and supervision and activities for our school-aged children on snow days, school breaks and summer vacations.”
The survey reportedly indicated that 94 percent of respondents support a Boys and Girls Club in North Platte.
The local board currently includes Lewys Carlini, KNOP-TV; Ella Ochoa, NAF Multicultural Human Development Corporation; Kimberley Stewart, TALX Corporation; Nate Jensen, Turning Point; Bob Blanchard, Wal-mart Distribution; Joel Krominga, NebraskaLand National Bank; Deanna Peterson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension; John Patterson, First National Bank North Platte; Renea Rush, Wells Fargo Bank; Michael Hook, Wal-Mart; Pat Snyder, North Platte Telegraph; Alicia Gutierrez, Tier One; Patty Engdahl, Coldwell Banker Preferred Group; and Robyn Phillips, Bill Summers Ford.

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