Yelm to get its first Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County is taking the next steps to open a new location in Yelm, after signing a memorandum of agreement with the city.
The after-school care club will be located in the recently vacated City Hall building and new CEO Chris Woods said the goal is for the club to open by the start of next school year.
“We would love to start operating in the fall. But obviously that depends on generating funds and getting community involvement,” Woods said.
In April of this year, the Yelm City Council approved a plan to lease the building at 105 W. Yelm Ave. to house the Boys & Girls Club as well as a resource center for veterans. The Boys & Girls Club had been in conversations with the city and the school district for more than a year determining building logistics as well as need within the community, according to Woods.
“We were in talks with the district to determine that there was a need for outside-of-school care for school-age children,” Woods said. “And that need wasn’t being completely met.”
The Yelm club will be the sixth location operated by the Thurston County organization. There are currently clubs in Lacey, Olympia, Rochester, Tenino and Tumwater.
The next steps for the organization will be developing a committee of board members, staff and community members to discuss campaigns to raise money for the new club. The committee also will conduct a study on how many students the club will be able to accommodate. The results of both will determine when the club can open.
“That’s really where the community comes in,” Woods said. “We want community members from Yelm to weigh in and give their thoughts and ideas for a Yelm-specific fund-raising initiative.”
Woods said internal conversations about a branch director and staff have already begun, but decisions will be finalized after the committee conducts its research.
He also said the organization is hoping to be able to offer both morning and afternoon care for students but that will depend on funding and development within the community.
“We know that there are many kids not involved in sports or other activities before or after school and we believe the Boys & Girls Club can be a safe space for kids to come and have organized activities like working on homework, arts and crafts, and health and wellness activities,” Woods said.