by Kirby Lindsay, posted 23 May 2012
On Friday, June 1st, from 6p – 8:30p, the Wallingford Boys & Girls Club (WB&G) will hold its Annual Celebration – a evening of food, silent auction items, performances, and awards presentations, and everyone is invited!
“This is just a down-home-spun event,” admitted WB&G Club Director Meghan Sweet, “it’s a very family, neighborly event.” The Celebration gives everyone connected with the Club – people that rent the facility, the families served, alumni, community supporters, neighbors and the frankly curious – a chance to gather together for a free meal and spirited, heart-warming entertainment. “Our reach is a little bit farther than most people realize,” Sweet acknowledged, and this evening is for, “pulling together the whole community to celebrate.”
Help With Membership Scholarships
While called ‘Wallingford,’ this Boys & Girls Club serves a large section of Central North Seattle, including Fremont. In 2011, WB&G had over 1,100 members, and “I would be very surprised if we didn’t hit 1,200 this year,” Sweet said. Each week WB&G serves 500 kids, with a variety of programs – some entirely entertaining, and nearly all providing a stable foundation to the daily life of area children.
The Annual Celebration raises money for a membership scholarship fund. Membership costs $36 a year, but WB&G does offer a lowered rate based on income – usually for those kids (and parents) who need the tutoring/childcare/after school support the most. “We made enough last year [at the Annual Celebration] to cover the scholarships for everybody,” Sweet explained. “We’re not going to turn anybody away,” she acknowledged, “but this means we don’t have to pull the funds from elsewhere.”
With A Dessert Dash & Silent Auction
The Annual Celebration has many different components, with only two money makers. “We want to make sure all of our families can come,” Sweet explained, so admission is free. However, the silent auction and dessert dash provide options for those able to give.
The silent auction opens at 6p, in the WB&G gym. “We will have people that come in just to bid, and go,” Sweet admitted. She can’t encourage that behavior – she’d rather everyone stayed and joined the celebration – but the bidders do give, and the support does good.
This silent auction won’t feature fancy trips and extravagant, five-figure intems. The Boys & Girls Clubs of King County holds the high-ticket auction in September, from which they fund all the clubs. This silent auction Sweet described as more neighborly, featuring items and services from community businesses and supporters. The items reflect the community surrounding WB&G.
The second fundraising facet is the extremely entertaining Dessert Dash. With a preponderance of families in attendance, (“we like to keep the program short,” Sweet observed, “so people can bring their kids,”) the kids really do race to get their preselected heart’s desire among the cookie plates, cakes, pies or piles of Ding Dongs. The results are both delicious and highly diverting.
What Else Is Available, For Free
“Very kid friendly,” Sweet agreed, “Bring the kids.” The dinner/presentation will begin at 7:30. Club teens cook the meal (supervised by adults,) with this year’s menu being a taco bar! “We kind of go back and forth between pasta and taco bar,” Sweet laughed. This menu isn’t particularly complex or gourmet – and those on restrictive diets may want to eat before coming – but it gives the teens a way to contribute to the evening.
WB&G alumni Eric Radovich will emcee the presentation which includes awards to featured donors (including Fremont businessman Phil Suetens,) the Board Member of the Year, and three staff members. Childcare Directors Christine Taylor (at the Daniel Bagley Elementary School site) and Julia Troutt (of the B.F. Day Elementary School site,) will be honored along with a surprise recipient (hint: the person has strong ties to Fremont.) The evening’s entertainment also includes club members singing, speaking and/or dancing.
The entire presentation should be easy to hear and see, as Sweet praised the generous donation of world-class audio-visual equipment and know-how from Fremont Studios. Additionally, in-kind and monetary donations from Seneca Group, Colaizzo Optical, 56th Street Market and Fremont Brewing Company help underwrite the celebration – such as the generous loan of chairs by St. Benedict’s School.
At the Annual Celebration, Or Anytime
“Absolutely everyone is welcome,” Sweet invited, often. “Show up and take a look around. We really want people to come,” she said of the party, “or anytime we’re open, to see what we’re up to.”
This summer the WB&G offers its regular drop-in program at main building, on N. 45th Street. From Noon – 6p, for free, trained staff offer activities for kids in pre-K through 12th grade (they also offer extended care from 7a – Noon for $25 per day, or $95 per week.) The ability to offer a free drop-in program, something many clubs have done away with, is one reason the scholarship program is so important.
WB&G also operates programs through five school sites, and four of those will have weekly Summer Adventure Camp programs, this year called ‘Summer-paloza.’ The summer camps are open to children in pre-K to 6th grade, at a cost of $190 per week – find out about vacancies through the website or contact the school sites directly (at Bagley, B.F. Day, View Ridge Elementary, or Sacajawea Elementary School.)
In addition, WB&G offers a free, counselor-in-training program for 14 year olds. The kids receive service hours for their work, and learn valuable leadership skills. It isn’t a summer camp, however, as the kids do work and, “honestly,” Sweet said, “we couldn’t run our programs without them.”
The strong connection between the kids – the almost-familial connection the club fosters with programs like the counselor-in-training – make the Annual Celebration feel like a giant family reunion celebration. Come enjoy this warm, welcoming celebration on June 1st and get a free meal, a few rare items off the silent auction, a delicious dessert – and support our own Boys & Girls Club!
- Wallingford Boys & Girls Club Provides For All Youth
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 18, 2011
- Fremont Summer Camps Offer Kids All The Fun
- by Kirby Lindsay, April 12, 2010
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.