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Boys & Girls Club needs to expand | GUEST OPINION
The Arlington Boys & Girls Club has outgrown its facility at the Arlington Airport. When it was built with donated funds, services and materials 25 years ago, who would have thought we would see such a tremendous growth in our community? It seriously needs to be expanded.
When my two sons, now 38 and 36, were active in Club sports, it operated out of a store front in downtown Arlington. Rotarian Cal Kinney and others had a vision to build the existing facility. Arlington Rotary pledged $50,000 and then looked for a way to raise the funds. The idea, borrowed from a Club in British Columbia, of a rubber duck race was the answer.
The entire community got behind the effort. Besides the funds raised by Rotary, generous donors stepped up. With everyone’s effort, the dream became a reality. But that was 25 years ago, and we have a new need.
To see the need, one only needs to visit the Club on a typical busy Saturday. For a while it operated a satellite facility in the old Arlington High School. Because of issues with the facility, it is no longer made available by the school district. Gym space is used all over town and competes with school and AAU teams for practice and game times.
The answer to the increased demand is to expand the existing facility. Its current location makes it ideal for serving not only Arlington, but northern Marysville and Lakewood. Plans call for another gymnasium, an expanded teen center, and game and community rooms. The estimated cost is $1.5 million.
We all need to step forward to assist in raising the necessary funds, donating materials and services. The Arlington Rotary Club has pledged a minimum of $50,000 through funds raised by its annual Great Stilly Duck Dash, and we are seeking help from others in the community.
The programs offered by the Boys & Girls Club play an important part in making our community a great place to raise our families. After school programs give kids a safe place to hang out. When both parents work, or when there is only a single parent, such programs are essential.
Now that my sons are grown up, I want my grandchildren to have the same opportunities. Let’s all step up to this challenge. We got the job done 25 years ago — we can do it again. Join me in pledging your help.