Club provides fun, safety for youths

Editor's note: Moffat County United Way will distribute funds to 27 agencies with nonprofit status in 2005. From now through the end of the United Way's fund-raising campaign Nov. 19, we'll profile some of the agencies that strive to make Moffat County a better place to live, work and play.

Excitement, opportunity and a huge challenge are some of the things that attracted Jonathan Godes and Rob Winn to take jobs with the Boys and Girls Club of Craig.

Both men are passionate about positive and healthy youth development.

As one of Craig's newest United Way agencies, the Boys and Girls Club presents unlimited possibilities for the future of area youths, they said.

"Boys and Girls clubs are a lot more than urban rescue missions or daycare facilities," Godes said. "They are safe places for youths 6 to 18 to grow, learn and have fun."

Boys and Girls clubs are not supported by taxes and are dependent upon community involvement and volunteers.

There are more than 3,500 clubs in the United States, with an average of one new club opening per day.

Godes is now on the job full time, coming from a Boys and Girls Club in Colorado Springs. As executive director, he is responsible for screening and cultivating volunteers as well as all other facets of the club.

He also is busy with renovations to the old Armory Building that was purchased recently by the city of Craig through a grant awarded by the Department of Local Affairs. Club officials expect it to be completed by the end of October.

"When the remodel is complete, we will offer a full gamut of activities for youths (ages) 6 to 18," he said.

Beginning today, the club will offer after-school programs for youths from first through fourth grade from three elementary schools.

"We had such a successful summer with the younger group ---- we did not want to lose that momentum," he said.

He said also that the cooperation with Moffat County's alternative high school program, along with several other youth agencies, will help the club be successful.

"There are no guarantees of our success," he said. "It really takes the whole community together to make something like this work."

Godes acknowledged that club members have to work hard to attract the 14- to 18-year-old group. He expects that it will take some coaxing to get some to join.

"That is where Rob comes in. We are so lucky to have someone with his expertise as program director," Godes said.

Winn grew up in Rifle and became a teacher, working the past three years as director of an alternative high school in Commerce City.

He is an avid outdoorsman and recently moved to Meeker.

Aside from outdoor sports, Winn's passion is working with youths.

"I know we'll have to work hard to get some kids in the door, but I am confident once they come, they'll find something of interest," Winn said.

He said the club had unlimited programs at its disposal through the national organization.

"Anything computer, music, art -- you name it, we probably can find it," he said.

Along with the gym activities and a game room that includes a pool table, there is a range of creative art opportunities available.

"We just have to find what their interest might be and tap into something that works for them," Winn said. "We have lots of carrots."

According to Jim Dodd, one of the five founding board members, the group received some United Way money to get started.

"It helped us move forward," he said.

The local club gained nonprofit status in October 2003.

"We've come a long way in less than a year," Dodd said.

Godes said that those giving through the United Way could designate the Boys and Girls Club, and he encourages people to choose it.

"We are a great value and depend on people's generosity (with) both money and time," he said.

"We certainly appreciate anything we receive, and we'll put it to use," Godes said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.