This year is a special one as the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows (BGCTM) celebrates its 40th anniversary of serving kids in northern Nevada. When the Club was first chartered in November 1976, it was known as the Truckee Meadows Boys Club. Over the years, the breadth and scope of the Club has expanded exponentially. While it was visionary for the founding group to realize the need in the community and start the organization 40 years ago, no one could have envisioned the kind of growth the organization has experienced since that time.
What began in a warehouse on Terminal Way has grown into an organization that works from 20 sites and annually serves nearly 14,000 school-aged youth. In northern Nevada, the Boys & Girls Club influence did not stop in Reno. Today, you will find Clubs in Yerington, Elko, Carson City, Fernley, Dayton, Cold Springs, Sparks and soon Winnemucca. While not all these Clubs are run by the BGCTM, all have been influenced by the founders of the Club.
Over the history of the Club, it has had exceptional leadership at the board level. While conventional wisdom has many boards in the profit and nonprofit world setting term limits for board members, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows has not done that. The Club’s board room walls are filled with pictures of past and present Reno legends who, over time, collectively did whatever was necessary to keep the Club viable for generations of kids.
Many of the Club’s board members have been involved for more than 20 years, and they continue to come back every year with a renewed passion to serve kids in the community. The Club is very fortunate to have men and women who have given so much of their time and resources over the years to benefit the kids.
The Club is also very fortunate to attract highly qualified and motivated staff. Those in key programming leadership roles are staying with the organization longer and longer, which provides more consistent and impactful services to kids. What started with five people in 1976 has grown to a staff of more than 200.
Finally, and of equal importance, the Club is fortunate to have a community that works so hard to provide the resources and support needed to meet the ever-growing demand for youth services in northern Nevada. Without the support of local foundations, businesses and individuals, the Club would not be what it is today.
Help comes in so many different forms, and you cannot mention the Club’s wonderful donor base without mentioning its signature fundraiser, which is right around the corner. The BGCTM team is working diligently to put on the 36th annual Jack T. Reviglio Cioppino Feed and Auction on Saturday, February 27. This year promises to be another successful one for this key fundraiser that brings in nearly 15 percent of the Club’s annual operating budget.
The Next 40 Years
With 40 years under the belt and tens of thousands of youth impacted, one might think the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows has reached its pinnacle. But that is not the case. The organization is constantly looking for ways to bring the Club to new neighborhoods and new kids. Unfortunately, there is always another need waiting to be addressed. But leadership in the organization remain intentional about growth and is diligent to ensure every new growth opportunity makes sense and is sustainable long-term.
One such growth opportunity occurred in 2014 as the Club opened the new William N. Pennington Facility. Located on Foster Drive in Reno, the facility has been open for 18 months, and it consistently operates near capacity, serving more than 300 youth every day. It is clear from the site’s high level of use this facility is filling an important need in this neighborhood.
Another significant growth opportunity is now in the works for a Boys & Girls Club on Bresson Avenue in Reno. The Club first started working at the Bresson site in 2014, and since that time, attendance has skyrocketed. The site now serves 75 to 100 youth every day. But the aging, dilapidated facility is in need of major improvements to better serve the community.
The Club is in the process of completing major upgrades at the facility, which would allow the Club to serve even more of the local six to 12-year-old population as well as further develop a teen program to serve students from nearby Vaugh Middle School. With approximately 2,000 school aged youth living nearby, and 95 percent of them qualifying for free or reduced lunch, this is the place in Reno for a Boys & Girls Club.
Once this project is complete, it is hard to say where the Boys & Girls Club will head next, but there is no doubt growth will continue. The Club’s ultimate goal is to put itself out of existence. Once every single kid in the region has everything they need to thrive, there will not be a need for the Boys & Girls Club. Until then, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows has plenty of work to do.