Group looks to open Boys & Girls Club in Rhinelander
By Eileen Persike
Efforts have been underway behind the scenes for several months to bring a Boys & Girls Club to Oneida County (BGCOC). The steering committee, led by Rhinelander Police officer Kyle Parish and Boys & Girls Club of Langlade County CEO Angel Zimmerman, will hold an informational meeting 6-7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9, at Nicolet College Northwoods Center room 207. The national Boys & Girls Club organization requires new clubs be partnered with an existing club. Zimmerman is not only acting as a mentor to Parish and the steering committee, but will become the CEO of the Oneida County club once it opens.
Parish saw a presentation on the club while attending a conference last summer on Drug Endangered Children (DEC), a task force he is involved in locally. That’s when he began thinking of the possibility of opening a Boys & Girls Club in Rhinelander.
“We’ve been working on the medical aspect and investigation aspect with the DEC program, but we don’t have any other resources,” Parish said. “Once the investigation is over and their health is taken care of, there’s nothing else for us to do for them and so I feel like we’re missing that last component and this would be that last component that could really help out.”
The next step for the steering committee is to begin a capital campaign to seek local donors as well as grants. The organization would need to raise three year’s worth of operating funds before the doors open.
Parish said he is looking for a centrally located building in Rhinelander with at least 5,000 square feet to house the BGCOC. Building requirements include a gymnasium for physical activity and a kitchen to provide snacks and dinner for all members. Additionally, the building will include such things as space for programming including arts and crafts, STEM activities, computer space and a game room. Parish said he has a building in mind that would cost an estimated $400,000 in renovations to fit the organization’s needs.
The BGCOC’s vision is to “create a safe and fun space for youth of Oneida County where they can grow into productive young adults with the life skills necessary to succeed in an ever changing world.”
Youth in grades 1-12 would be welcome to join the BGCOC at a cost of $25 for the school year and $100 for the summer. Hours would be 3-6:30 p.m. weekdays with extended hours in the summer.