Boys & Girls Club renamed for county-wide goals

Auburn chapter looking at more locations
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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Pleased with its current locations, the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn has set its sights on the rest of Placer County.

Officially renamed the Boys & Girls Club of Placer County as of last Friday, the club is in the early stages of an expansion into what its leadership calls “underserved” areas of the county.

CEO Randy Tooker said Auburn’s three locations – the Mullin & McAdams clubhouse and its E.V. Cain and Rock Creek extensions – are the Boys & Girls Club’s only chapters in Placer County, aside from a single club in Kings Beach by Lake Tahoe. After gathering information from people in other communities over the past few years, he said, the local chapter is in a position to change that.

“It’s something we’ve thought about, and we wanted to make sure we were in a very good situation in Auburn, and the club was doing well and strong, before we even looked at something like that. So that’s why it germinated for a while and we’ve been talking about it, and thought it was time to start that process now,” Tooker said. “We’ve been talking with county leaders and starting to reach out to city leaders and just see where exactly the needs are and what resources are already in place and where the gaps that need to be filled are.”

Katherine Miller, president of the club’s board of directors, said the name change is the first step toward an expansion process in its infancy. She named Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville as potential sites for new club locations but could not guess exactly where or when one might open.

Because the club is funded by a state grant, individual pledges, fundraisers, sponsors and other miscellaneous community sources, Miller was confident an expansion would only benefit the 300-plus kids already attending Auburn’s clubs.

 “It’s important to know that our club will remain strong and dynamic if we do an expansion. It will not effect our club in any kind of negative way,” she said. “In fact, it may have a positive effect because it will open the doors to further fundraising in south Placer County.”

Miller was also optimistic about the implication of raising the club’s profile and presence in surrounding communities. She recalled getting involved with the Boys & Girls Club as a volunteer, working a few hours a week and being immediately impressed by what she saw as an “invaluable” opportunity for kids to learn and play in a nurturing environment. In addition to homework help, she said, the club reinforces safe and respectful behavior, cooperation and other values that help kids get along in school and at home.

Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner agreed with Miller.

“I think it’s a marvelous club, a marvelous model … It provides young people with an opportunity to, quite frankly, get off the streets between 3 and 6 p.m. That’s the most dangerous time for kids, when they’re likely to, without parental supervision sometimes, to go astray,” he said. “The other thing it does I think is so important is, they have the ‘Power Hour.’ They help them with homework, they help them succeed in school, and I think that translates to success in life. Again, if you’re successful in life, you can avoid criminal behavior.”

Bonner has been a strong proponent of the Boys & Girls Club’s local chapter since its inception in 1994, and he has high hopes for what it could do in other areas of Placer County.

 “You have 300 kids participating in that in the Auburn area. They’re busy, they’re engaged, they’re receiving mentorship from adults that aren’t family members sometimes,” he said. “It’s a very positive thing, so I’m excited about taking that model to other communities that could use it.”