Steamboat Boys & Girls Club registered 2,000th member since 2009 | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Boys & Girls Club registered 2,000th member since 2009

Teresa Ristow

— The Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs continues to grow in popularity, registering its 2,000th member last Monday.

And registering member 2,001. And member 2,002. And, well, you get the idea.

"The growth has just been constant," said Executive Director Dana Duran, who began working with the Boys & Girls Club in Craig eight years ago, before a club in Steamboat existed.

When Steamboat's facility opened as a branch of the Craig club in summer 2009, club organizers knew they would need 100 kids to sign up that first summer to keep the program running. They were surprised when instead 500 signed up that summer.

"There was definitely a need for it," said Celina Taylor, development director for the Northwest Colorado Boys & Girls Club, the umbrella name for both the Craig and Steamboat clubs.

Children at the club, housed in the historic Steamboat Springs School District building between Seventh and Eighth streets downtown, are able to stop by after school, during school district professional development or teacher conference days and summer break.

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Students receive homework help, have access to a computer lab and have plenty of opportunities to get their energy out in the gym or game room.

Taylor said the club is a great addition to the community, and that her own children are regular attendees.

"It's really important to have a space where children are cared for, and cared about," Taylor said.

She said the club emphasizes character building and healthy lifestyles, while giving students a safe, structured environment outside of school.

The Steamboat club employs four full-time program staff, five part-time adults, and between 12 and 15 high school students who begin as volunteers and are able to progress into paid staff.

Typically the club serves about 100 to 150 students per day, and last year 50 percent of Steamboat youth age 6 to 14 visited the club at least once.

By Tuesday, another 12 members had joined the club, bringing the total registered to 2,012 since the club opened in 2009.

"We feel really lucky to be a part of the Steamboat community," Duran said.

Despite being part of a larger organization, Boys & Girls Clubs including the Steamboat club are each independently operated and funded, gathering grants, individual donations and raising money through special events.

Only 15 percent of the club is funded through membership dues of $25 annually and $1 per hour for summer and school inservice or conference days, though no families are turned away due to inability to pay.

Donations can be made to the club during Yampa Valley Gives Day on Dec. 8 or by visiting bgcnwc.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow