Council Member Kristjansson Heads Effort to Bring Boys and Girls Club to Menifee

One of the first actions Sue Kristjansson took following her appointment to the Menifee City Council...

One of the first actions Sue Kristjansson took following her appointment to the Menifee City Council last August was to suggest the creation of a Boys and Girls Club program in town.

Simply put, she believes the youth of Menifee need more options in choosing how to spend their free time.

“What we have now is organized sports,” Kristjansson said. “If kids are not athletic, they are stuck for what to do. We need to pull in different aspects (of youth programs) in our community.”

Although it has taken several months to begin the process, Kristjansson is optimistic about the chances of starting a Boys and Girls Club program in Menifee. To explore the possibility, she has formed a committee of prominent civic leaders:

-- Rob Johnson, Senior Manager of Community Improvement, Outreach and Communication for the City of Menifee
-- Ryan Sharp, pastor of Generations Church
-- Bob Duistermars of United Way
-- Dr. Jonathan Greenberg, superintendent of the Perris Union High School District
-- Dr. Linda Calloway, superintendent of the Menifee Unified School District
-- Captain John Hill of the Menifee Police Department

The committee is preparing to meet with officials of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest County, which has clubhouses in Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore. Committee members will tour the Temecula facility, to which some Menifee youths are bussed for activities. They will also meet with Maryann Edwards, a Temecula city council member and Chief Executive Officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest County.

According to Kristjansson, her group has two options for forming a Boys and Girls Club in Menifee. It can move forward with plans to create a charter club in the city. More likely, she said, is that Menifee would create a club under the umbrella of the Southwest County organization, at least at first.

"We could open as a satellite of that organization and still work toward getting a charter someday," she said. "Southwest County has what I understand to be a fantastic program."

In order to qualify for such a club, Menifee would have to meet several criteria, including population, socio-economic standards and many other factors.

"Getting a charter would probably take a couple years," Kristjansson said. "We hope to have something by the end of the year."

Part of the process would be finding a suitable location in town for the clubhouse, where boys and girls could participate in many activities after school and on weekends.

"I've heard, over the course of the years I've lived here, people talk about having something like this," Kristjansson said.


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