Boys & Girls Club Offers Families Affordable Summer Fun

Crafts, games and sports activities all enrich the summer mornings and afternoons of local child...

Crafts, games and sports activities all enrich the summer mornings and afternoons of local children at the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley.
While summer has just begun, many Menifee residents are excited about the months to come, because the opening of the Boys & Girls Club of Menifee Valley offers a safe and friendly environment for children and teens in the community.

“It’s been a fabulous start so far,” said John Whann, executive director for the club. “We already have over 180 kids enrolled so far.”

The Boys & Girls Club, located on the premises of what used to be Menifee Elementary School on Garbani Road, offers youths in Menifee a variety of services and programs. These include a recreational room to play games, outdoor activities and sports, field trips, cooking classes, magic demonstrations and several hands-on activities that coincide with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs and other educational standards.

“The programs have been going fantastic,” said Whann. “We’ve had great participation. The children love the programs, and we’re getting great positive feedback from the parents as well, so it’s been a great success.”

Whann said that one of the camp’s most popular activities this summer has been the Bricks for Kids seminars, which use robotic Lego building blocks to help teach students engineering and technological skills.

The Boys & Girls Club offers reasonable prices for families, said Whann, with fees of $115 a week or $25 per day. The club also offers scholarships on rates to reduce a daily price to $6.25 if the family qualifies.

Hours for the Boys & Girls Club span from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but the club also has additional programs such as “Parents' Night Out,” where the club stays open later for parents to drop off their children to enjoy fun and entertaining activities while they enjoy a night out.

“It gives our families a place where they can bring their children,” said Whann. “It’s a positive place for them to come to and develop tools for lifelong skills.”

Jennifer Steele, a club counselor, said she enjoys working with the kids and counselors alike, and that the kids and counselors are very diverse.

“A lot of kids have opened up to us and that’s great," she said. "It’s amazing hearing their stories. Everyone here has a heart for kids. We all care about them.”

According to Steele, the Boys & Girls Club has really helped a lot of the kids gain responsibility and a positive sense of self.

“We’ve definitely seen a change in the kids, especially with the older ones,” said Steele. “They’ve really stepped up and help out with the smaller ones.”

Frankie Keith worked with the Boys & Girls Club in Temecula, teaching sports, and now does the same for the club in Menifee. Keith said that the kids love playing new sports and learning to play as a team.

“I’m trying to teach them how to be competitive as well as have good sportsmanship,” said Keith. I want to teach the kids that’s it’s not all about winning or losing; it’s about being fair.”

From sports to educational activities, the Boys & Girls Club offers many programs for the young community members of Menifee and gives them a safe place to spend their summer.

“We give our children a diverse opportunity for different programs and we try to find things they love,” said Steele. “There’s always something different going on … there’s at least three different things going on each day.”

Whann said he hopes to see the Boys & Girls Club grow and would love to see more families taking advantage of the opportunities the club has to offer.

For more information on the Boys & Girls Club, visit their website.

Magician and entertainer Mr. Porkpie engages the children in fun activities.
Volunteers and staff members interact with club members in games such as foosball and table tennis.
Children build projects using Legos and other craft materials.



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