In the community

Local officials set meeting to measure interest in a Boys & Girls Club for Vale

VALE – A public meeting next week will gauge interest in a Boys and Girls Club outlet for Vale.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Vale Elementary School cafeteria.
“It is more of a community needs assessment, to see what parents’ needs are and whether there would be any interest in having club services located in Vale,” said Dana Castellani, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley in Ontario.
The impetus for the meeting was a session in March, where Castellani met with several Vale officials, including Mayor Tom Vialpando, City Manager Todd Fuller and Alisha McBride, Vale School District superintendent.
Vialpando said the meeting at the Emma Humphrey Library was educational regarding the Boys and Girls Club mission. He said he had told Castellani he was interested in a branch for Vale.
Vialpando said that meeting included Mark Redmond, superintendent of the Malheur Education Service District, Mike Mahony, chairman of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley board, and Ted Martinez of the Malheur County Juvenile Department. The group decided to get input from the community about a local boys and girls club.
“We each talked about what we thought would be the impact of the boys and girls club in our area,” said Vialpando. “Though Vale is a sports-orientated town, not all kids are playing sports. As mayor, I hear a lot about the lack of activities for kids.”
He said a boys and girls club can potentially provide an array of activities for youth.
“I think it also eases the burden on households where both parents are working. Boys and girls clubs are not childcare but it gives kids somewhere to go until mom and dad get off work,” said Vilapando.
Castellani said an important piece of the meeting will be to “figure out how many kids could potentially be served.”
“We don’t open clubs for 20 or 30 kids. You have to have a place, money and community involvement. We don’t have a plan so to speak, nothing concrete. This is to see where parents are with the idea,” said Castellani.
Vialpando said he’s received positive feedback from local people about the idea.
He said the vacant Vale Grange Hall could be a good candidate to house a club. The local grange has been inactive for several years.
When a grange hall goes inactive, the state grange organization likes to hold onto its facility
for at least seven years before selling, said Jay Sexton, president of the Oregon State Grange.
“It depends to some extent on whether we think it is likely to start back up,” said Sexton.
The Vale Grange Hall has been vacant since 2018.
“It is probably to that point where there hasn’t been any activity where we might start to think we might liquate,” said Sexton.
He said the grange will “seriously assess whether it was likely a new grange would establish itself there.”
Vialpando said he doesn’t believe there is much interest locally in starting a new grange society.
News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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