Boys & Girls Club Opening Doors for Siskiyou County Youth

“It’s about relating to kids with a lot of respect,” says Noam Zimin. “The people involved in Boys & Girls Clubs really, truly care about youth.” These values drew Zimin, a teacher and clay artist with 25 years of worldwide experience working with children, to the Boys & Girls Club.
In the last seven years, Zimin has helped bring art back into schools in Siskiyou county by “putting clay in the curriculum,” and offering pottery camps after school and during the summer. Recently, Berry Deal, a 35-year veteran of the Boys & Girls Club, inspired him with her dream of a Club for the youth of the Mt. Shasta area.

The organization provides Zimin with a tried-and-true avenue for making a difference in children’s lives. “Denzel Washington, Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Lopez – these are just a few of the famous Boys & Girls Club alumni,” Zimin says. “For so many, this program has enabled achievement and actually saved their lives.” Motivated by the organization’s century-long record of lifting youth to higher levels of citizenship and personal success, Zimin accepted the executive director position with the new Club.

Anna Baker supervises and joins in on fun times with clay alongside youngsters Arielle (left) and Aaliyah (right). “It’s all about community collaboration and wholesome things for children,” says Anna.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Siskiyous will open its doors on June 12 at Sisson Middle School in Mt. Shasta. The school’s principal, Kale Riccomini, has enthusiastically made room for the program to welcome 100 members. The Club will initially open to 1st-6th graders, with a leadership program for 7th and 8th graders.

This summer’s theme, “building,” incorporates everything from clay construction to building friendships and community. “We’re building this Club so the members feel it belongs to them,” says Zimin. “We want them to take pride and ownership in it – to say, ‘This is my Club.’”

Members will participate in programs like “Brain Gain,” featuring educational information about everything from dinosaurs to local wildlife and vegetation. Zimin plans to take full advantage of the Mt. Shasta region, incorporating hikes, trips to the lake and other outdoor adventures.

As part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national organization, local Boys & Girls Clubs give kids opportunities to connect inside and outside of their counties. Members may participate in Boys & Girls Club events across the country, such as Youth of the Year.

Zimin hopes the junior high leadership program will facilitate opening a Teen Center next year and has initiated discussions with high school students about what kind of Club would meet their needs. “We want to expand to different age groups and different towns in Siskiyou county. We are here to serve those who need us the most.”

In order to meet such needs, the Boys & Girls Club relies on community support. To make it accessible to everyone, the organization charges a very nominal membership fee and offers scholarships to anyone in need. Thus far, Mt. Shasta Union School District, Mt. Shasta Recreation and Parks, Siskiyou Land Trust, Berryvale Grocery, Banner Bank, Mt. Shasta Community Resource Center, District Attorney Siskiyou County, Mt. Shasta Edward Jones, Mt. Shasta Library and the Mt. Shasta City Police Department have all collaborated to support this positive endeavor.

As Zimin says, “Community collaboration makes Clubs happen. Donations, in-kind gifts, staff and volunteers help make this a safe, affordable, enriching environment for kids.”

For more information visit the Boys & Girls Club of the Siskiyous Facebook page, or call (530) 220-5055. The local club’s website is http://www.bgcsiskiyous.org, and the national website is http://www.bgca.org.  

Jenna Christophersen
About Jenna Christophersen

Jenna Christophersen is a Chico native who loves her community and can never get quite enough of the arts. She supports fostering creativity in any venue, especially as a part of young people’s daily lives.

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