BGCC starts high-school dodge-ball league

Mike Fraher thinks his dodge-ball league will make the sport even more popular than the 20th Century Fox movie that came out last year.

He is picking teams for his upcoming high school group through the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, and he can't wait for the players to hit the court.

"This'll be a fun sport, and it's something they love," Fraher said.

Players will compete from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the BGCC. Teams of six to eight players, with at least two players of each gender, must be registered by April 15.

Games start April 19, and non--BGCC members must pay a $10 registration fee. Play will continue for six weeks, then teams battle in playoff competitions.

BGCC Program Director Rob Winn said the league is the start of Fraher's attempts to get more adolescents involved in the club. The organization serves youths ages 6 to 18, but staff members typically don't see many older children.

"We have a huge population from CIS and CMS," he said. "The only (school) we don't have a significant number of kids from is the high school."

Fraher also is organizing a second Teen Night at 7 p.m. April 16, featuring card games, music, gym activities and refreshments. The cost is $2 for members and $5 for nonmembers. Youths must be ages 13 to 18.

Jonathan Godes, executive dir-ector of club, said it is events such as this one that attract teenagers, who he hopes to include more in the organization's activities. BGCC has a "role modeling atmosphere," and Godes said younger members look up to high school students. So he wants to bring in teenagers who will set a good example. That is what Godes and Winn say Fraher is doing.

"The best part about having him here is having another adult who can sit down and think about the future, about what programs we can start here," Winn said. "The dodge-ball league would not have been done if it had been just Jonathan and I here."

Godes said adding Fraher to the staff is a good opportunity for the club as well as for Fraher.

"When he gets out, his resume should look a lot better than someone right out of college, or one year out of college," Godes said.

Fraher recently graduated from Houghton College in western New York with degrees in educational ministries and Bible studies.

Fraher is a part of the Colorado Promise Fellows, a division of AmeriCorps, and was matched with the club here. He and his wife, Laurie, a special education aide at Sunset Elementary School, moved to Craig in mid-January, shortly after their wedding in Indiana. He is responsible for organizing the club's 80 volunteers and getting new programs off the ground. He also leads the 12-week Passport to Manhood, a program for boys to learn about adult issues as they grow up.

"I really enjoy it," Fraher said. "It's a lot of fun working with the kids."

The club matches what Ameri-Corps pays Fraher for his 33 hours of work each week, and Winn said the club is getting a great staff member for much less than the cost of a full-time employee. The program pays Fraher a living stipend and a $4,750 educational stipend when he finishes his one-year stay at BGCC.

Then Fraher hopes to find a steady position at another Boys & Girls Club in the United States or as a youth or camp minister.

But for now, Fraher is focused on dodge ball.

For more about the dodge-ball league or Teen Night, call Fraher at 826-0411.

For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.org.

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