Last week was no different as a brand-new, 26,000-square-foot site was dedicated in Yankton, South Dakota (population 15,000). Thanks to a significant partnership established in recent years with the local school district, the Club is attached to a middle school. What made this dedication extra special, however, is the fact that Yankton has a reputation as a “town of no,” where residents have rejected efforts to develop enhanced infrastructure, support systems and NGO projects. It took a real community effort, including significant donors, public partners, and investments from the state, city and school district to make this new Club a reality. Its existence is a testament to the leadership role that Clubs have in bringing communities together to provide great futures for young people.
The site will serve hundreds of youth every day, boosting average daily attendance. It also features a stunning new Teen Center to attract, retain and grow teen membership. South Dakota’s governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, members of congress and state elected officials, as well as 500 other attendees, were on hand for the
Congratulations to CEO Vanessa Merhib, her entire staff and board, and the very special Ness family (Larry, Diane and Rob), who made this dream come true.
Onto Sioux Falls
The trek through South Dakota continued with a community town hall meeting in Sioux Falls with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire, led by Rebecca Wimmer and board chair Jeff Jones. Sioux Falls is a bustling community, and the Boys & Girls Club is at the heart of the support system for youth and families there. Over the last few years, site improvements and outdoor enhancements have been key to the Club’s success in growing ADA, teen membership and overall membership. A meeting with key leaders in the community focused on the challenges and rapid deployment solutions to those challenges that Rebecca and the Club will lead to assist the community.
Final Stop, Pierre
We also heard a terrific progress report on a $500,000 challenge match endowment gift. The donor talked about his experience as an immigrant, and what America means to him, as well as the importance of Boys & Girls Clubs. Board Chair Tad Perry and Executive Director Becky Spoehr have their sights set on serving more youth at more locations and, eventually, constructing a new building to meet the tremendous need in the community.
Great things are happening on the Great Plains, and great futures are being created for many kids and teens. It could not have been a more special two days.