Boys & Girls Club to celebrate a decade of service
Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson
Thirteen-year-olds Jazzamyn Benson, from left, Claire Worm and Clifford Lenhardt make tie-dies T-shirts for Havre Special Olympics athletes during the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line's HELP Camp in the Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building Wednesday afternoon. This year's theme for HELP Camp is the Olympics. For a community service project, campers wrote inspirational messages and decorated cards and gift bags, and made shoelaces and friendship bracelets that will be given to Havre Special Olympics athletes during their winter and spring games and during their basketball season. During the three-day camp, campers learned about sportsmanship, being fair, living a healthy lifestyle, how to cope with peer pressure, setting goals and bullying.
After 10 years of year-round after school programs, helping parents and the children, the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line want to show their thanks for all the support that made the anniversary possible.
From 11 a. m. to 3 p. m. Saturday, the club is holding a barbecue in the Gary and Leo's Fresh Foods parking lot and the adjacent block of 2nd Street.
Along with burgers for donations and complimentary cake-slice coupons, the barbecue will offer games, activities and a raffle for half of a beef.
Looking back on the successful history of the club, Director Tim Brurud said he's proud of their accomplishments.
"It's been kind of fun to watch it grow, " said Brurud, who has been director of the club since the beginning. "When we started, we hoped to get 250 kids enrolled. Last I checked I think we've had 2,700. "
Brurud said the club was started to provide "a safe place for kids after school, " during the time in which most juvenile crimes are committed, from 3 to 6 p. m.
"That's been real successful, " Brurud said.
According to statistics from the Hill County Juvenile Probation Office, in 2001, the year before the club opened, there were 177 status offences and 626 underage drinking citations. Five years later that had decreased to 105 status offenses and 466 underage drinking cases.
In the latest data, from 2009, those figures were down to 57 and 375.
The club has been so important to children that when they are no longer children, many come back to help the next group.
Brurud said six or seven of the club's staff were a part of the original group 10 years ago.
Tia Drew joined the Boys & Girls Club when it opened and she was 10 years old.
Now a senior at the University of Idaho, she still comes back in the summer to help out at their summer camp program.
She said her 6-year-old sister just joined recently and "loves it. "
"I think it's a really positive place for kids, " Drew said. "I learned that education is important, being respectful of yourself and others is key to a happy life. "