JWR Center: A decade of providing opportunities for kids

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a decade since the Jack, Will and Rob Youth Center opened its doors to the Camas community.

Wanting to honor her three sons, Jack, Will and Rob Warren, after they died tragically in a small plane crash in November 1999, Geri Pope Bidwell began an intense and determined fundraising campaign for the facility in 2000.

From the get-go, it was clear that this place was going to be something special. There were many times when people questioned whether a community building of this magnitude could be built in a small town like Camas. But Bidwell never seemed to waiver from her mission and never gave up.

Even when faced with adversity, she was determined that this youth center was something that her boys would have wanted for their community and its children. Eventually, the right partnerships were formed and people of all levels of financial means contributed to the effort and made it happen.

From the ground breaking in 2001 and the opening in 2002, to the coming celebration of its 10-year anniversary, the milestones of this effort have been inspirational to watch.

Today, the Jack, Will and Rob Boys and Girls Club continues to serve children of the Camas and Washougal communities, offering them access to the arts, technology, athletic activities. Maybe most importantly, it is a place where kids can feel comfortable and safe and learn to make positive contributions to society. It has been a true asset to our communities, and will hopefully continue to be for many more decades to come.