PENINSULA - The Peninsula now has the approval to proceed with a Boys and Girls Club under the organization auspices of the national entity, the Boys & Girls Club of America (B&GCA).

On June 28, the original steering committee members held the community kick-off at the Peninsula Church Center. The focus now shifts from meeting the initial B&GCA community requirements to developing a board of directors and fundraising. Once a board is in place, other critical areas such as site selection and the hiring of full and part time employees, can proceed.

Mary Goelz, steering committee member, stated, "The board is the driving force of every club. It's a working team that needs to represent a good cross-section of our community. We hope to have a board in place by this fall." Persons who are interested in being considered for the board can contact Mary at home at 642-4504 or during business hours at 642-9349.

At the community kick-off, fundraising got off to a rousing start. Approximately $4,000 or 2 percent of the new club's projected annual operating budget was raised or pledged. Several items were donated, including a computer, a fax machine and a printer-scanner. While clubs are locally run, there are many benefits to being part of the B&GCA family. This includes access to many grant opportunities that a standalone youth program may not qualify for. But, as Penny Treat, fundraising chairperson said, "Every dollar counts! It's the individual donors that give out of their pockets or with an annual pledge that make the difference. And we are already planning many fun and creative special events to help fill our club piggy bank."

Donations can be made directly at either the Long Beach or Ocean Park branch of Great Northwest Federal Credit Union or by mail to 6407 V Place, Long Beach, WA 98631. Checks should be made payable to the Coastal Alliance for Youth (now doing business as the Boys & Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula). All donations are tax deductible.

To be able to open the doors of the new club, there is a requirement to have one year's operating budget in the bank and years two and three in progress. That is an example of the B&GCA's focus on sustainability.

Martha Murfin, another steering committee member, commented, "We need to open the doors - and keep them open! Now we have a road map to get there. This is the 100th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs. It's a proven program for kids. It doesn't compete with our other youth programs. It compliments and strengthens our work. Our community needs this. We are going to open our hearts, our pocketbooks, and make this happen!"

The fall of 2007 is the projected date for actually opening club doors. To get there community support in many areas is being actively sought. A database of volunteer interest and support is being developed. To add your name and area of interest and support or to ask questions, contact DeEtta Lorente at 642-3577.

The steering committee wants to extend their thanks to the following businesses that provided the facility, refreshments and supplies for the community kick-off: the Peninsula Church Center, the Buzy Beez Copy Center, the Cottage Bakery, Cranguyma Farms, Long Beach Coffee Roasters, and Ric's Sign Shop. Thanks also to the community residents who attended the kick-off and gave generously in many ways.

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