Mt. Shasta area children will soon have access to affordable summer programs and afterschool programs through the newly formed Boys & Girls Club of the Siskiyous, which has plans to open its doors in June.

The Club will be utilizing currently empty classrooms at Sisson School, said executive director Noam Zimin. After school programs will be rolled out in the 2017-2018 school year, he added.

The effort to form a local Boys & Girls Club was born a few years ago, Zimin said, when two concerned citizens saw a need for after school programs that are affordable and accessible to all children. They contacted the Boys & Girls Club because of the organization’s longevity and great reputation.

Zimin was hired in September and since then, the local club has been chartered by the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods, which is based in Eureka. To become a legitimate Boys & Girls Club, a fledgling organization has to be chartered by an existing club that has been successful for more than 50 years, Zimin explained.

B&GCS has entered into an Memorandum of Understanding with Mount Shasta Union School District to use classrooms at Sisson for the program, said Sisson Principal Kale Riccomini. They’re planning to use former Strawberry Valley classrooms in the library wing.

B&GCS is planning to serve 100 children in first through eighth grades this summer, said Zimin. A survey will soon be coming out for local parents, so the club can gauge the wants and needs of the community as they’re forming summer programs.

All of the club’s programs will be affordable, and “no child will be turned away,” Zimin said.

The B&GCS is collaborating with the Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District, the Mount Shasta Library, the Siskiyou Land Trust, and the Mount Shasta Community Resource Center, and will use a combination of paid staff and community volunteers to run their programs.

So far, grants totaling $160,000 have been obtained; $100,000 of that came from a foundation in Chicago that grants money to Boys & Girls Clubs, said Zimin.

Zimin is excited about what the future will bring. The club has plans to open a teen center next year, and to branch out to other Siskiyou County communities as they’re needed. They are also working on things like providing transportation for parents.

According to Boys & Girls Club of America, nearly four million youths are served annually in more than 4,000 clubs. The Club’s mission is “to enable young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Many celebrities and athletes grew up in the organization and advocate for its success, including Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Martin Sheen, Mario Lopez, Shaquille O’Neal, and Magic Johnson.

Before B&GSC can open its doors in June, there are several things that must be accomplished, said Zimin, including the expansion of its board of directors, creating awareness and a website, hiring staff and locating volunteers, providing training, and requesting donations (both monetary and in-kind).

From the larger steering committee, four subcommittees have been formed: resource development, marketing development,program development, and staff development.

The next subcommittee meeting is tomorrow, March 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Shasta Library. If you are interested in attending or getting more information about the effort, contact Zimin at noamshastayouth@gmail.com