Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore purchase new youth Clubhouse
Youth and teens at the Boys and Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore (BGCML) will soon have a new place to call home. The BGCML board voted unanimously last week to purchase what was previously the Muskegon Community College’s Lakeshore Fitness Center, with plans to turn the space into a rennovated clubhouse for the organization.
The move is part of the Clubhouse Capital Campaign Project, which has already raised more than $4M. It's goal sits at $5.5M.
"The clubhouse campaign isn’t so much about a brick and mortar space. It just happens to be the programs that we do and the programs we reach kids needs a building. It takes a building to run academic programs, it takes a gym to run sports programs," Chief Professional Officer Dakota Crows said.
Since opening in 2015, BGCML has used spaces in local school buildings to serve the estimated 1700 youth they see annually. Crow said by opening the new facility, the organization can double the number of children served.
"Our goal is to make those kids feel loved and cared for. Like they have a home, a welcoming home a safe place," he said.
According to a release from BGCML, property rennovations will include, "a new secure entrance and teen zone funded by Shape Corporation, industrial kitchen and cafeteria thanks to support from Hines Corporation, a state-of-the-art STEM Lab inspired by Howmet Aerospace, administrative offices provided by Mike & Kay Olthoff and a world class art studio brought to fruition by Tom DeVoursney."
Other features will include game rooms, academic study areas and lake-front, outdoor recreation areas.
In a 2018 report, the National Youth Outcomes Initiative found more than twice as many Boys and Girls Club members in the U.S. consumed the daily recommended amount of vegetables and fruits as their peers. The same report found program members 16 and older were 41% less likely to get into a physical fight, 40% more likley to be on track to graduate high school on time and 18% more likely to go to college.
"Muskegon County’s always been at the bottom of that overall childhood wellbeing factor that the school count data comes out with. We’re here to change that. We’re really there to stop and help those that you may call statistics. However, they have names, they have faces, they have families they’re kids," Crow explained.
The club said it hopes to begin safely serving youth in the building within the next 90 days during rennovations.