Valley Journal
Valley Journal

Future Boys & Girls Club site opened up for fundraiser

RONAN – The Boys & Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County is close to having enough money to start remodeling their new location.

They opened the doors at their new location for a few hours last Wednesday for the fourth annual Great Futures Breakfast. The event brings community members together and raises funds for the club. Several hundred people from community leaders to club members were in attendance.

Aric Cooksley, the club’s executive director, stood on stage and announced that the club needs less than $800,000 to start a remodel project on the building, which was recently purchased. In about a year, the club was able to raise most of the $2.4 million needed for the entire project, minus the last remodeling chunk.

The building the club currently utilizes, just down the road from the new one, is too small for their needs. A year ago, Cooksley looked at the kids packed into the current facility, all age groups tripping over each other, trying to do activities in one small space, and he decided they needed something better. 

Cooksley said the club is a place where kids of all backgrounds can come together for a safe place to socialize, have a meal, participate in activities, and develop a sense of belonging. He asked people to imagine what such a place can do for a child’s future. He added that a safe supportive environment impacts all aspects of a child’s life from emotional well-being to academic success. “This is a place that saves lives,” he said. 

Several different speakers addressed audience members in support of the club. Christian Weaver has worked with the Boys & Girls Club of America and said the club gives kids a place to feel welcome. University of Montana football legend Chase Reynolds said in small towns places like the Boys & Girls Club give kids opportunities to thrive. “The influence a community can have on a child shouldn’t be taken lightly,” he said. 

Polson club member Rainn Brisbin said to the audience she was able to work on her spelling at the club, and she improved so much that she is looking forward to her future success in the book publishing industry. 

Club member Luliana Brown took to the stage to share a fancy shawl dance with the help of drum group Yamncut. Her mom said Luliana loves attending the club after school and was honored to share her culture. 

The people acting as foster grandparents at the club were acknowledged as a great help including Cherri Rowbury and Evonne Wall. Gordon and Audrey Granley, former building owners, were thanked for their support as were Anderson Broadcasting owners Dennis and Nila Anderson. 

After the speakers were finished, club member Shay Morin, 10, walked around the new building. She said she couldn’t wait for it to be remolded. She said she enjoys the current club, but it gets pretty crowded. She also said the new club looks fantastic with possibilities.

The Boys & Girls Club is still accepting donations in any amount to help them meet their goal. 

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