I am writing this letter to the community with my thoughts and comments regarding the sudden closure of the Boys and Girls Club of the Long Beach Peninsula. I am one of the founding members as well as a current board member of the club. A small group began working towards opening a club in 2006, with the thought that we needed to create a safe space for youth. A place where they could grow, be active, be encouraged to try new things and have an opportunity to have their lives enriched by caring supportive adults. For the past 11 years this is what we have provided.

I would like to assure the entire community that the reason for the closure had nothing to do with any kind of theft or illegal activity. Our current expenses are over $16,500 per month, (approximately $200,000 per year). The majority of the funds come from donations of one type or another, much of it from those who live and work on the peninsula, who also believe there is a need for a strong after-school program.

I would also like to assure our supporters and the families who have entrusted their children to our care that the plan is for this to be a very temporary closure. The board has had to make very hard choices in this last month. We realized that we could no longer continue to raise the kind of money needed on a month-to-month basis. We had to be realistic in our fundraising efforts and how to keep the doors open with dwindling funds to support our staff. Throughout all of our conversations the impact on our families and children was of utmost concern. I apologize for the short notice of closure but the board honestly believed we could come to a solution before having to shut down the club. The thought of closing club has been painful. I can tell you that personally I have felt like a failure in closing club and losing the trust of the families we care for. I am hoping the board can win back that trust as we move forward.

We, as a board, felt the need to step back and create a sustainability plan on how to raise enough funds to keep the doors open for the foreseeable future and we did not feel we could do that while also trying to run the club. We are in the process of creating a plan, especially in trying to create a broader base of funding options.

Also, as a part of sustainability we are planning a local forum to determine what the community would like to see in a program as well as aligning with the schools needs for an after-school club.

We understand there are so many people who are willing to assist us in this endeavor. I hope you believe me when I say we are working on a solution and understand the hardship this has placed on each of you. Some of the community members have started a fundraising effort through the South County Foundation. If you would like to contribute to this effort please go to https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1060 or mail to South Pacific County Community Foundation,(SPCCF) P.O 75, Nahcotta, WA 98637. If you would like to become a board member or just a volunteer please contact myself or one of our other board members. I believe in our community, in our club and in the future of our youth. Thank you and please reach out to me if you would like to discuss further.

MARY GOELZ

Long Beach

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