Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Boys & Girls Club plans expansion

BROOKSVILLE — With new leadership comes new ideas, and the refreshed Boys & Girls Club of Hernando is taking bold steps such as setting up the county's second clubhouse.

Urged by parent organization Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand into public housing complexes, the local club is aiming to open a center this summer in Hillside Estates in Brooksville, interim executive director Joshua Kelly said.

Kelly said the Brooksville Housing Authority is enthusiastic about having the Boys & Girls Club come to its facilities.

"It is vital to open a club at Hillside Estates, where gang activity is just beginning to grasp a hold on the teenage boys and girls,'' Kelly said.

"It is a proven fact that most juvenile crime is committed between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. (The club's) programs will entice the youth to spend their time with us where caring and supportive adults are available to teach, coach and be a friend."

"We realize the east side of Hernando County needs some type of programs for kids after school," board president Linda Voelker agreed. "There are kids who need to hang out after school and have opportunities for other programs."

The Boys & Girls Club has a nine-year history at 5404 Applegate Drive in Spring Hill, where it serves some 200 members ages 5 to 17. Voelker, who took on the role of president formerly held by Kelly, has been a board member for nearly two years. Kelly has been on the job for almost three months.

Other planned initiatives include adding before- and after-school programs at Suncoast Elementary School and the yet-to-be-built K-8 Explorer School, both in Spring Hill.

At the original club, the curriculum is being revised and will be a prototype for the east Hernando project.

"We saw the club turning into a babysitting service (with) too much TV and video games,'' Voelker said. "We wanted a hands-on approach. From the board's point of view, we want to see it more structured."

Envisioned are tutoring, a language project, outdoor gardening endeavors, more instrumental music lessons, arts and crafts, and health and life skills programs, many with the aim of developing character and exploring careers.

"Working parents don't have time to do this after dinner (with their children)," Voelker said.

And the kids will get plenty of time to play outdoors. "They need some letting-it-out," Voelker said. To that end, the club will install a basketball court and playground equipment.

The Brooksville Housing Authority is donating space in a 1,500-square-foot building at 800 Continental Ave. along with a 900-square-foot activity center. Remaining on the site will be a deputy sheriffs' substation, staffed daily.

The building may require some tearing down of walls and paint, Kelly noted, but nothing extravagant.

And funding is coming in. First was a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Hernando County.

Notice is in hand that a $40,000 grant will be forwarded from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The club hopes for good news later this month on its application for $15,000 from My Hometown Helper, a program sponsored by the maker of Hamburger Helper.

Board member Barbara Sweinberg wrote the grant applications.

Startup costs for the center are estimated at $40,000, which will include outlays for renovations, tables, chairs and sporting equipment, Kelly said. But operational costs for the program, which is expected to attract 200 members, will run to about $115,000 a year. Staff is pegged at five paid employees plus volunteers.

The club envisions a $10 yearly membership fee for youths and a $5 to $10 weekly fee for before- and after-school programs with oversight and care in a safe environment. Voelker said organizers hope enough money will come in to provide a couple of monthly scholarships.

Brooksville Housing Authority executive director Ronnie McLean was excited about the prospect of having the club on-site. "This is really the beginning of a social service program with the Boys & Girls Club as a cornerstone," he said.

McLean envisions bringing in representatives from the state Department of Children and Families, Career Central and other social service agencies.

Beth Gray can be contacted at gray

Hernando Boys & Girls Club plans expansion

04/22/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse


    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30


    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge


    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”

  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments


    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.