Milestone: Boys & Girls Club of Kingman turns 20
Bill Ward, the chief professional officer for the Kingman Boys and Girl Club, and Scott Kern from Kingman Regional Medical Center, cut the ribbon in the celebration of the club’s 20th anniversary.
12/27/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
The Kingman Boys and Girls Club celebrated a major milestone Saturday - its 20th anniversary.
The club was incorporated on Dec. 21, 1993, and opened for business in the old Kingman High School gym on First Street in January 1994, said Bill Ward, the chief professional officer for the club. The original founders of the Kingman branch were Terri Holloway, Brad Rucker, Kent Hoagland and Kathi Wright. The club provides a safe place for kids to learn and play after school and during the summer.
"Our annual membership over the past 20 years has been approximately 200 per year," Ward said. "This year we reached 263 members. Our average daily attendance is nearing 100 kids per day."
The club's mission is to provide a safe, fun, positive atmosphere for the kids, he said. At the same time, the club helps kids focus on their homework, develop good character, learn to have a healthy lifestyle, develop good relationships with others and explore the possibilities in life.
"We achieve this through four key program areas focused on youth development - The Learning Center, The Arts, ClubTECH, and Triple Play Daily Challenge," Ward said. "In addition to these programs we have monthly and weekly volunteer ran programs, such as the Cerbat Garden Club, the University of Arizona nutrition (program) and more coming in 2014."
The Learning Center helps kids focus on their homework and expanding their knowledge beyond their schoolwork, Ward said.
The club's Arts program offers daily art projects, board game tournaments and an artist of the month.
The Triple Play Daily Challenge focuses on health and exercise. Activities include relay games, a Hula toss, a jump rope challenge, and a Hula Hoop challenge.
"Our future is bright, we are diligently working on adding computers to our Learning Center and creating ClubTECH," Ward said.
"Nearly 50 percent of our members are from low income families who do not have the means to provide computers and the Internet to their family," Ward said. "ClubTECH will feature a state-of-the-art center with computers, digital imagery hardware and software that will enable our members to learn basic computer skills all the way to advanced web design."
The club will also teach students about Internet safety and responsibility, he said.
Frontier Communications has already offered to provide the necessary networking equipment for the computers and UniSource Energy Services has donated four computers. The club only needs 10 more computers, Ward said.
The organization is also adding the Torch Club to its roster, he said.
The Torch Club is a mentorship program for middle-school students, Ward said. Students in the program mentor younger children, learn basic money management skills, how to provide a service to their community and social skills.
Twelve students have already signed up for the program and completed their first community service project - ringing the kettle bells for the Salvation Army, he said.
"As we continue to grow with members, we will customize our programs to ensure that we are offering activities for all age groups," Ward said.
It costs $85 for a child to become a member of the club.
"While many families can afford this fee, others cannot," Ward said. "To ensure that no child is turned away, we offer scholarships."
The scholarship money is provided by a grant from the River Cities United Way.
The club also provides low-income students with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the school year, he said. Children from low-income homes may also be eligible for free glasses with an eye exam every 12 months.
The organization is always looking for volunteers or donations, for more information call Ward at 718-0033 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.