With Doors Now Open, Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley Moving Forward
After nearly three months of being closed to the public during the COVID pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley has reopened its doors to the communities it serves in Yerington, Silver Springs, Dayton and Hawthorne.
"(Coming) to the club daily and not see smiling faces and a bunch of kids is hard to get used to," said Travis Crowder, Chief Professional Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley.
But with the area's youth back in the building, things look a lot different. The clubs are following all guidelines from the Center for Disease Control. Temperatures are being taken at the door and kids have been grouped up and dispersed across the facility to practice social distancing.
"I happened to walk thru the club the other day, and I could hear a little girl in the distance yelling 'social distancing' to a little guy who was trying to tag her in the gym," said Crowder. "That's not a typical dialogue you have with kids. But it's their new normal now."
Despite their doors being closed, Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley continued to provide for its communities, offering online support and lessons as well as creating a daily meal service. They're still feeding over 300 families a day.
But while the clubs continued serving, they lost a major source of their funding. "Night in the Country", the giant, annual country music festival in Yerington, was canceled. The event, which brings in millions for the local economy, is responsible for a quarter of Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley's yearly operating budget.
"The last thing in the world we anticipated or wanted to do, especially in a sellout situation, is cancel it," said Crowder. "From our standpoint, and the community's standpoint, it is a heavy hit."
But the clubs have found new ways to fill the big gap left by losing NITC, exploring opportunities for grants and also taking advantage of government aid. Anything to keep the longstanding clubs changing the lives of youth in some of our rural areas.
"To see those kids chomping at the bit to come back thru these doors," said Crowder. "To see those smiling faces and appreciative parents means a great deal to us."