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With new programs and higher attendance, Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst is on the rise

Andrew Pence, left, president of Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club, hands over a check for $5,200 to Bob Macaulay, president of the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst at a recent Rotary meeting. The $5,200, which will go to the club’s general operations, was raised through the annual Evening at Erna’s fundraiser at Erna’s Elderberry House.
Andrew Pence, left, president of Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club, hands over a check for $5,200 to Bob Macaulay, president of the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst at a recent Rotary meeting. The $5,200, which will go to the club’s general operations, was raised through the annual Evening at Erna’s fundraiser at Erna’s Elderberry House. Mark Evan Smith

The Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst is thriving, and its increased daily attendance has it seeking a new staff member as it adds new programs and continues to be among the top 5% in membership out of more than 4,300 clubs nationwide.

Bob Macaulay, president of the club’s board of directors, gave a quarterly update to the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club earlier this month.

During his presentation, Macaulay noted out of 22 clubs in the Fresno charter organization, the Oakhurst chapter has the highest number of members.

“Some people think of the Boys & Girls Club as a daycare,” Macaulay said. “But it’s much more than that.”

Macaulay said thanks to the hard work of Jennifer Simmons - recently named Director of the Year for the entire organization - and her accompanying staff, the club has programs for everything from the Power Hour reading club to the Healthy Habits Cooking Class, Career Launch to help kids build resumes and learn about the workforce, and SMART Girls to help young women build self-esteem through exercises in fitness, health, and prevention education.

“The club is in great hands with Jennifer,” Macaulay said. “Membership is up, activities are up, there’s a lot of good things happening there.”

The club is also seeking applications for a new fall basketball league, Macaulay said, and continues to plan field trips for its summer program to places like Blackbeard’s Family Entertainment Center and Island Waterpark in Fresno.

Macaulay said with the recent departure of program assistant Lori Garrett, the club is now seeking not only her replacement, but a fourth staff member due to the increased attendance.

At latest count, the club counts 235 children in its membership, with an average daily attendance of 135. The high point was 166 members attending in a single day, with a low of 22 during the Spring Break week, Macaulay said.

The club is budgeted for about $70,000 - $75,000 a year, Macaulay said, with about 90% from community donations, and the rest through club memberships ($25 a semester, $100 in summer) and grants from the Fresno charter.

Thanks to a successful Evening at Erna’s Elderberry House fundraiser through the Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club last month, the club was gifted $5,200 of the proceeds, for which Macaulay said the club was “extremely grateful.”

To sign up for programs at Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst or learn more, call (559) 642-4600.

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