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Dreams do come true

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By: Pat McKee
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Fifteen years ago, a group of citizens had a dream that Auburn would have a Boys & Girls Club, with its own clubhouse, in Auburn. This week that dream came true. On June 22, the new clubhouse at 679 Lincoln Way, in Downtown Auburn opened the doors to 270 kids for a six-week summer camp and this is just the start. The club purchased the building in February of this year and with a very aggressive construction schedule, completed the renovation in record time. The new clubhouse is four times the size of the old firehouse and has a “converted warehouse” gym and art center to serve our members. The kids will be fully involved this summer in fun and learning activities all day in a safe environment. Since summer school had to be scaled back because of budget cuts in Auburn, the school district is providing two credentialed teachers at our summer camp for those kids who need some extra help with their schoolwork, once again proving that Auburn takes care of its own. The new clubhouse features a performing arts room, newly equipped computer lab, kitchens, a teen center, and of course the gym. We will be able to expand our youth development programs in character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts and sports, fitness and recreation. Our goal is to develop responsible, caring and productive citizens for Auburn’s next generation. There are three basic elements that are necessary to establish and support a Boys & Girls Club: • A core group of visionary citizens who are committed to the cause for the long term. • A great staff of employees and volunteers who are equally committed. • And, most importantly, there must be ongoing community support for the Club. Auburn is blessed with all three elements. It is tough to grow up in today’s world. Kids have many pressures and opportunities to take the wrong path. We have helped thousands of Auburn’s youth to make the right choices over the past 15 years. We have steered them away from gangs, alcohol, drugs, tobacco and premature sexual activity. We show them the benefits of scholarship, citizenship and community service. We have had a positive influence on them and their families. In the past few years, we have been running a capital campaign to raise money for a new clubhouse. The total campaign is for $1,875,000, most of which has been raised. The final funding necessary to pay off the $1,875,000 project is $375,000. We need the entire community to help us raise the remaining $375,000. In the coming weeks we will be celebrating our new clubhouse opening and our 15th anniversary as a Boys & Girls Club. The celebration will be on July 18 and will be held at the new clubhouse site. Call the club at 889-2273 for details. Also, you will soon be receiving information in the mail that tells you more about the club, and how you can help. Please do what you can to help the youth of Auburn develop into the kind of citizens we will want to be the leaders of our community in future generations. Pat McKee is the chief volunteer officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn.