After 14 years as the JWR Boys & Girls Club, the Camas School District will take over operations, effective June 1.
The center will be closed during the summer, allowing the school district to make $65,000 in renovations, including roof repairs, painting and technology upgrades.
The JWR Center will operate under the Camas Community Education umbrella when it reopens Sept. 5. The Camas School District Extended Day students in kindergarten and first grade will continue to be located at the district administration building, while Extended Day students in second through fifth grades will be served at the JWR site at 2033 N.E. Ione St.
“We intend on building and expanding the program students have enjoyed for many years,” says Mary Weishaar, director of community education. “Highlights of the plan include an increased focus on the arts and growing the teen club. We will also bring with us many of the activities kids have enjoyed most while attending the current Extended Day program such as Lego tables, gaming stations (Wii and Playstation), bumper pool, air hockey and ping-pong.”
Full-time after-school care will cost $150 per month for students in second through fifth grades, and $75 per month for the teen club. Before-school care will remain at the Extended Day campus, at $175 per month. Financial assistance is available.
The district also plans to fully utilize the center throughout the day. Helen Baller Elementary students will use the gym for physical education classes and the senior community will be invited in for coffee hour and movement classes such as Zumba, pilates, line-dancing and yoga.
Another new component will be a staffed family resource center to benefit families in need. It will include a washer, dryer, phone, computer and printer.
“We are also hoping to work with school counselors and make this a real hub for families who need help,” Weishaar said.
Plans are in the works to add a food pantry someday, too.
In preparation for the transition, Weishaar sent out 3,000 emails to current JWR and Extended Day families, surveyed parents and talked to current daycare attendees.
A legacy fund of $70,000 exists to support center operations. An advisory committee will determine what additional funding is needed.
“We have immense pride in having had the privilege of serving families for the past 14 years at the JWR Boys & Girls Club,” Erin Hubert, Boys & Girls Club CEO, told the Post-Record in April. “Over time, it’s become increasingly apparent that it would be more productive for a Clark County-based organization to oversee the club.”
That change is mostly due to the hike in minimum wage, which will be fully implemented to $15 within three years. The Boys & Girls Club would be unable to sustain operations in Camas given the rate of current memberships, which are $25 per month for youth and $5 per year for teens.
Jeff Snell, Camas School District superintendent, has called the relationship between JWR and the school district a “great partnership.”
“Although we’re sad to see the partnership end, we understand the priority of focusing on the Portland area,” Snell said. “We appreciate the legacy the Boys & Girls Club helped start with the Jack, Will, and Rob Center and are excited about carrying the legacy on to the future. We trust this transition will ultimately provide a stronger sense of community for the club, as well as access to more local resources.”