The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley now has a fourth location, opening its doors last month at Castaic Middle School, and is, according to the club’s CEO Matt Nelson, providing more programs and serving more youth when the need for such services has grown.
In a time when young people are struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, as recently reported by the U.S. Surgeon General, school leaders have said that increasing opportunities to connect the area’s youth with local extracurricular programs and caring adults is a high priority.
“I’m proud to have funded the expansion of this important after-school program,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley. “The activities provided by the Boys & Girls Club are engaging, high-quality and fun.”
According to Nelson, Barger was actually the catalyst who made the Castaic location a reality. She recognized, he said, how the need for youth programs and services has grown throughout the pandemic.
“Her support,” Nelson added, “is making it possible for the club to provide social-emotional support kids and teens need to realize their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens.”
The Castaic club was an idea in 2008 when, Nelson said, the governing board of the Boys & Girls Club conducted a strategic planning process and needs assessment of the SCV.
“With input from community leaders and a survey of Castaic parents and guardians,” Nelson said, “the need was identified and put into the club’s plans as an area for potential growth.”
The Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 eventually put a hold on plans, according to Nelson, and as activity gradually started to pick up again, the pandemic hit.
“The challenges of the last two years have seemed insurmountable at times,” Nelson said. “We knew the kids and teens would suffer the most throughout this.”
But now the wait is over, and the club in Castaic is up and running.
Castaic Union School District Superintendent Steve Doyle said he’s excited to partner with the Boys and Girls Club.
“This is an opportunity that has been needed for a long time,” he said. “We very much appreciate the financial support from Supervisor Barger to assist with modernizing our facilities to support the program. We look forward to this collaborative partnership with the Boys & Girls Club and are excited to have the program up and running.”
And while the club in Castaic opened last month, the community will celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a date that’s still yet to be determined, according to Nelson. But when it does happen, it’ll offer tours of the new clubhouse on the Castaic Middle School campus.
On the calendar, however, is the Annual Benefit Auction on Saturday, June 4, the club’s first in-person auction, Nelson said, in the last two years. He’s anticipating an amazing event.
The other three club locations in the Santa Clarita Valley include the James T. Ventress Clubhouse in Newhall, Sierra Vista Clubhouse in Canyon Country and the club at Wiley Canyon Elementary School in Santa Clarita. Members at all sites have access to homework help, leadership programs, sports programs, the arts and mentoring.
Annual membership is $60 per year. School break programs are $10 per day. Scholarships are available.
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley was formed in 1968 by a group of community leaders as a means to meet the growing need for high-quality, affordable programs and facilities for the area’s young people, which would support academic success and build future leaders. The local clubs annually provide a second home for more than 5,000 youth. Nationwide, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America have 4,300 clubs that serve almost 4 million kids and teens.
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of leaders in the community and staffed by a team of youth development professionals.
To learn more about the club, go to www.scvbgc.org. And for more about the upcoming auction, with theme details and other news to come, go to scvbgc.org/auction.