In the community

Idea for a Boys and Girls club in Vale gains momentum

VALE – A meeting to gauge interest in a boys and girls club in Vale triggered a broad consensus but crucial obstacles remain before a facility could open.
About 30 people attended the recent meeting at Vale Elementary School to hear a briefing by Dana Castellani, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley in Ontario.
“I thought it went really well. The people who were there were very interested,” said Castellani.
Castellani said she delivered a “high-level overview” of the boys and girls club model to the crowd. She said she wanted the crowd to know “there are a lot of options.”
“It could be a free-standing location and plenty of clubs use school sites and that was something I wanted them to know. My first club was in the basement of a church. The dream is always having your own special club location but you have to work with what the community has,” said Castellani.
The two biggest challenges now, said Castellani, are confirming a Vale location and funding for a local boys and girls club.
The next step, she said, will be to develop a survey to gather more input from the community.
“Maybe with the help of the schools we can ask parents maybe four or five questions. We are working on those, on what exactly we want to ask them,” said Castellani.
Castellani said she will continue to meet with community representatives about potential locations.”
She said she is also pursuing grant opportunities to kick start a boys and girls club.
“People want something in their own community,” said Castellani.
Alisha McBride, Vale School District superintendent, said she was encouraged by the feedback at the meeting.
“The boys and girls club did a nice job of sharing information about what a club could offer a community like Vale,” said McBride.
McBride said a key point made during the meeting was the creation of a boys and girls club isn’t going to happen overnight.
“It takes funding and space. But, based on the feedback and interest, we intend to continue the conversation,” said McBride.
McBride said she believes a boys and girls club in Vale will enhance the community.
“A lot of our families work. Some of our children go home without supervision and it would provide our families with an option for their children to have a safe, supervised place to go after school,” said McBride.
Travis Johnson, Malheur County sheriff, also attended the session and said he is interested in the concept.
“I’d like more information. I need to educate myself on it,” said Johnson.
Castellani she will be working on finalizing a draft of a community soon.
“I would say I am inspired to keep the conversation going,” said Castellani.

New tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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