Club expects to open in near future

Organizers of the new Fulton County Boys and Girls Club are optimistic the clubhouse door on the thi

Organizers of the new Fulton County Boys and Girls Club are optimistic the clubhouse door on the third floor of the YWCA will be open at the end of the month.

David Gibson, owner of Fulton Computer Co. and Fulton Book Store and the chairman of the club board, said the opening awaits finalizing a lease with the YWCA. The third floor of the YWCA offers a gym and basketball court as well as auxiliary rooms.

It only took about a year for the idea promoted by Gibson and a group of volunteers to come to fruition. Gibson, who said he was originally motivated by the announcement that the YMCA was moving out of downtown Gloversville, said Friday that he has since discovered the Boys and Girls Club offers a more wide-ranging and less-expensive offering of programs to area children ages 6 to 18.

With dues at $2 a year for younger children and $5 for teenagers, Gibson said the club’s recreational and educational programs are accessible to anyone. As low as the dues are, he said, if any area children cannot pay them he advises them to attend anyway.

“We’ll find a way for them to work it off,” he said. A study determined the new club may serve more than 200 area children, Gibson said.

The Gloversville-based club recently hired Johnstown resident Jaime Rulison as its new unit manager. The club will start its existence as an offshoot of the Schenectady Boys and Girls Club, which helped it obtain a $125,000 grant from the national organization.

The grant provides initial funding only, Gibson said. With the grant expiring in future years, he said fundraising will be an important part of maintaining the club, which he said will have an annual budget of about $200,000.

With Rulison hired to run the club, he said the board is now engaged in trying to fill the position of program director. A number of volunteers will fill out staffing needs. Gibson said there must be a supervising adult in every room used by members.

In the meantime, Gibson said the club can use donations, more volunteers (including those willing to serve on the board) and equipment and furnishings. As owner of Fulton Computer, Gibson has lined up a number of computers donated by his customers.

To encourage donations, a founders club has been formed. Founders, encouraged to give on a number of levels from $100 to $10,000, will have their names memorialized on a plaque.

Gibson said he is impressed by Rulison, who currently works for a local social services agency.

“She young, she’s intelligent and she’s full of energy,” he said. “I think the kids are going to like working with her.”

Rulison could not be reached Friday for comment. She starts her new job Monday.

The study that established a need for the club determined that in the census tract for potential membership 22 percent of families are at or below the poverty level, Gibson said.

The club should fill a real need in the community, Gibson said. “Let’s face it. A lot of kids today don’t have a proper upbringing.”

One of the programs that most excites Gibson is that youngsters can bring their homework to the club and receive help from volunteers.

Gibson said he wants to emphasize that while this club is located in Gloversville, it is open to youngsters throughout the county and region if they can find a way to reach the club.

Categories: Schenectady County

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