Boys & Girls Club to host carnival

Open house event is at 4 p.m. Tuesday

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For more information about the Boys & Girls Club, call Heather Martyn at 846-7710. For more information about the city of Steamboat's youth activities programs, call the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department at 879-4300, or visit http://steamboats...

— The Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs has come a long way since opening its doors June 8.

This week, people can see for themselves. The club is holding an open house at 4 p.m. Tuesday at its location in the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street.

"It's just to give the community an idea of what we're doing," said Heather Martyn, a Steamboat resident who worked with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to start the club, a branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

Martyn said the open house, with a carnival theme, will offer live music, hamburgers and hot dogs, and games and prizes for children.

The response to the club since it opened has been positive, Martyn said.

"It's been better than I could have hoped," Martyn said. "That's kind of the icing on the cake. It's one thing for (the kids) to come to the program and another for them to actually like it."

The club, which provides activities for children ages 6 to 18, has grown considerably since opening its doors about six weeks ago. On its first day, 37 children showed up. Now, the club boasts 362 members and averages about 75 children a day, Martyn said.

Boys & Girls Club activities include sports and recreation, arts and crafts, and educational programming. Leadership training, health and life skills instruction and teen programming also are available. Children can earn "Club Bucks," which then can be used to purchase prizes. Pizza parties, for example, cost 500 Club Bucks.

By comparison, the city's summer program, for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, has served 207 children, about 87 a day, said Jennifer Travis, youth program coordinator for the Steamboat's Parks, Open Space & Recreational Services Department.

The city's summer enrollment is down from 110 children a day last year and 116 a day in 2007, Travis said.

Travis said she didn't know whether the Boys & Girls Club had affected enrollment in the city's program, which has been offered for about 20 years. But she said feedback the city has received from parents indicated the lower enrollment was a product of the economy.

"People are losing their jobs or having their hours cut back," Travis said. "Parents are able to stay home more with their kids, which is fantastic."

Like the city, which offers an after-school program from 3 to 5:45 p.m. at a cost of $10 per day, Martyn said the Boys & Girls club also will be available in the fall.

She said they're planning the after-school program, which will be available from 3 to 7 p.m. Martyn said it likely would be similar to the summer program, with a variety of activities for children in addition to homework help. She said the cost for the fall program hasn't yet been determined.

Martyn said many parents who have taken their children to the Boys & Girls Club this summer have expressed excitement for the after-school program in the fall.

Until the school year starts in August, the Boys & Girls Club will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It costs $1 per hour or $10 per day.

The city's summer program is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and costs $32 per day.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club, call Martyn at 846-7710. For more information about the city of Steamboat's youth activities programs, call the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department at 879-4300, or visit http://steamboatsprings.net/rec.

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