While 2016 has been a challenging year for many around the globe. For the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe it has been a great success.
The importance of the Club to our community, and the support that we receive, was shown by a sellout of our Annual Golf Classic, 20% growth in our membership numbers, a waitlist for our summer program, new project partnerships with LTCC Connect (STEM Camp) ; Valhalla Tahoe and Shakespeare on the Lake (Will’s Kids); and continued exceptional support from Vail Epic Promise, who gave us tickets for their summer Discovery Camp and also a grant to fund our 2017 summer snack program. Along with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association they awarded us ‘Epic Promise Grant of the Year’ for our winter snowshoeing and summer trail building programs that will take place in 2017.
Changes that occurred this year included Sierra House students completing ALL aspects of the afterschool program at the Club, and the main site breaking into grades, rather than schools, for their homework hour. This has proven very beneficial for the staff and members, allowed greater integration between the schools and more robust enhancement activities, as all the schools now finish homework at the same time.
All the growth in membership and programs means that the Club now needs to raise significantly more money in order to meet our expenses. Therefore, in July, Kili Ongoy, former Program Coordinator at Bijou, was promoted to the position of Development Coordinator, in charge of fundraising, grants and outreach. We are extremely excited to have Kili in her new role and you will be hearing more about her work and progress in 2017.
Our members also saw great successes in 2016. Mya Rossi, our Youth of the Year, was awarded the Hank Aaron Scholarship by Boys and Girls Club of America. Providing her with funding to attend a science camp in Hawaii next summer. We are very proud of Mya and her academic and sporting achievements. Kelly Giardina also had the pleasure of watching 4 of our alumni graduate from High School. All had been active members when she ran the Teen Program and it was wonderful to see them successfully complete High School and go on to continue their education at LTCC.
But perhaps the most amazing feat of 2016 was the campaign for and passing of Measure P in the election. For over a year we have known that our time in the old Al Tahoe school may be coming to an end. With growing numbers and a desire to offer programs and activities that this space does not allow, we were excited to start thinking about a new home. Then, thanks to inspiration from our President Terri Arnold, we got the opportunity to partner with the Lake Tahoe Lodging Association and the City Council in their campaign for a new City Rec. Center. With the promise of being able to access space in the new Rec. Center, the Club joined in the campaign and devoted our resources to assisting with PR and community outreach. As the Measure was restricted to funding purely for recreation, it required two thirds, or 66%, of the electorate to vote yes. Thanks to our families and community supporters it passed with 68% and now our members, and all children in the community, with have access to the state of the art recreation facility that they deserve.
But it doesn’t stop there. The Club still believes that to meet our growing needs, and to continue to provide secure and quality programs, we need a dedicated space of our own. And therefore 2017 will see the launch of our Capital Campaign and the first steps towards building our own Clubhouse in close proximity to the Rec. Center.
Thank you to all our families who have supported, championed and promoted the Club to our community during 2016. As ever, it is a privilege to serve you, and to work with the children of SLT. They inspire us, make us laugh, keep us on our toes, and ultimately reassure us that the future is bright with them in it.