New projects at Boys & Girls Club

Facility closes for building renovations, staff training

— Dana Duran, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, is not the club's master.

The members own it, she said.

"This is not the Dana Duran Club," she said. "That's why we ask for the $10 membership fee, so that the kids have to invest in it themselves and they can feel some ownership over it."

The Boys & Girls Club has about 650 members this year, and usually sees more than 100 of them each day of the school year, which begins Tuesday.

To prepare, the club closed for one week Monday to allow for building renovations and staff training.

"We tried hard to let parents and kids know (we were going to be closed)," Duran said, "It's important to have the staff trained adequately and be able to remodel without" endangering the children.

The club moved some walls around to create a new art room with a sink out of an oversized hallway.

Boys & Girls Club Unit Director Mike Fraher scraped old paint off metal doorjambs Friday afternoon, and will be doing whatever it takes for the members before and after opening Tuesday, he said.

"When (the club) moved into this building in 2004, (they) completely remodeled it," he said. "We do something every year about this time, big or small."

What used to be the art room is planned to have a couple of different activities, possibly including "power hour."

Duran and Fraher are eager to refocus on "power hour," a time when members take one of a number of different activities.

"We give the kids a chance, when they first get here, to do an energy burn, like play pool, basketball, whatever," Duran said. "The power is more about learning."

The Boys & Girls Club has 15 returning staff members. That includes eight high school students, who are invaluable in providing mentorship and being able to reach the younger children in ways adults often cannot, Duran said.

Duran also wants to kick-start a volunteer program open to the community.

"I think we have such great talents in the community I'd really like to tap into those for the kids," she said. "People can come and share whatever they want with the kids, whether it's sewing, computers, sports or even something I haven't thought about yet."

Prospective volunteers need to coordinate their plans with the Boys & Girls Club in advance, Duran said.

"Anyone who wants to come and hang out with the kids, play pool or talk is more than welcome," she said. "If they would want to come and do basketball drills, then we need to know in advance."

Residents interested in the volunteer program should call the club or Duran at 826-0411.

The Boys & Girls Club is open to all children ages 6 to 18. The cost for a one-year membership is $10.

Members are bused from their schools to the club in the afternoons, and can bring friends once as a guest.

Duran was hired in June, and said she is happy about the community's involvement since that time.

"We're a small nonprofit, but I don't feel like we're limited," she said. "We have a great facility and great community that is willing to support us."

Duran described her feelings and why she is energized for the coming school year.

"I'm thrilled to be here," she said. "To see the changes in the kids and how we can impact the youth in our community and augment what the schools do for them. The kids are different everyday. You know how when you were a kid, and you had that club or a group of friends that really made you feel like you belong? They belong here. We want to serve all kids."

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