The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula hosted an After Hours community open house at the clubhouse in Kenai last week.
Hundreds of Chamber and community members turned out to tour the renovated facilities that was originally Kenai Elementary School, "I don't like to call it the Old Kenai elementary school, because I actually went to school here," said Betsy Arblovesky, who is now the executive director for the Kenai Peninsula Boys & Girls Clubs.
The first Boys & Girls Club was started 12 years ago in 1988. There are now 13 Boys & Girls Club sites with club houses in Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski, Seldovia, and Seward, "We have 1,700 members that we serve out of this Kenai facility alone, and last Thursday we actually had 116 kids here at the same time after school," said Arblovesky.
The community support for the Boys & Girls club programs has grown exponentially, "I am so proud to live on the Kenai Peninsula, the support that we get from the community is absolutely amazing. They see the programs at the Boys & Girls club as absolutely necessary. We do save kids lives here, give them a safe place to be, as well as helping them with their homework and other issues," added Arblovesky in the midst of getting hugs from a half dozen members acting as tour guides at the open house.
There have been many changes to the Boys & Girls club over the last decade, "My kids are out of high school now, but they came to the Boys & Girls clubs about 12 years ago, and there have been a lot of growth and changes in those 12 years, a lot more activities and things offered for kids here that are just awesome," said Michelle Glaves, a long time Board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs.
"I've been a member for about two years, the computer labs and the game rooms with the foosball tables are my favorite," said 8 year-old tour guide Devin. "This is the future work force and business owners of Kenai, and these kids take such ownership of their club, it's just very exciting to take a tour with them of their club," said Aud Walaszek, executive director of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.
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