It only takes one look at the shining faces of the young people who call the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County
their home away from home to be convinced how important the club is.
There are currently 600 kids signed up as members, and the average daily attendance hovers around 80.
On Tuesday, the club held a Be the One! breakfast and luncheon with two objectives - to honor those who have helped
the club thrive and to kick off its major fundraising campaign for the year. While it costs about $750 per child per
year for all the activities and staff, the club only charges a $15 per year membership fee so no child will be left
out because of lack of money.
Both delicious meals were catered by the DoubleTree Hotel courtesy of Peter Marshall.
At the breakfast, which was attended by about 130 early risers, Lauren Patterson was honored with the Service
to Youth Award - Individual for her many efforts in the community. She is an amazing woman who consistently has
helped build community by working on some of the big, heavy duty projects.
Among them are helping to bring the Children, Youth and Family Master Plan to La Plata County, helping create and
coordinate an annual Crisis Intervention Team with area law enforcement and serving on the core strategic-planning
team for Durango School District 9-R. As if she was not busy enough, Patterson is the adult leader of the Beaver
Creek 4-H Club. She does way more than this, but suffice to say, she so deserves this honor.
The tables were hosted" by board members and other supporters of the club. Table captains for the breakfast were
Karen Veals, Nancy Wharton, Patterson, Amy Kendziorski, Michelle Thom, Bobbie
Carll, Matt Kelly, Vaughn Morris, Sidny Zink and Terrel LaRoche.
At lunch, 170 attendees applauded honorees Jim Verwald as Volunteer of the Year Award winner and the Kiwanis
Club of Durango as the Service to Youth-Organization award winner.
Verwald has given countless hours to the club, which he said is allowing him a redo" from the joy he had raising his
three daughters. His favorite part is working with students who are out of their comfort zones, because one of the
great things the club does is expand those comfort zones - so a basketball player gets better at technology, an
artist learns how to play basketball and the computer guru nourishes his creative side.
Everyone should volunteer, he said, It keeps you thinking young."
About 15 Kiwanians were at the luncheon, but it's their ongoing projects to help kids that matter to the Boys and
Girls Club. Kiwanians both volunteer and donate all year long. It was Kiwanis' seed money of $25,000 when the Boys
and Girls Club was still just a glimmer in organizers' eyes that made the dream a reality. Andy Martinez
accepted on behalf of the members of Kiwanis.
The table captains at the luncheon were Marshall, Martinez, Don Freemyer, Kip Koso, Gina
Aspromonte, Pat Barrett, Marsh Bull, Anne Barney, Pam Miles, Kathrine
McClenny, Eileen Wasserbach, Rebecca Roller, Judy Duke and Robert Whitson.
The organizers were brilliant, seating one member of club at each table, so guests could hear first hand from the
kids how much they love the club. The students were Senora Robinson, Keenan DesPlanques, Maddie
Shepherd, Cameron CJ" Koso, Sam and Max Martinez, Sonya McGuire, Taylor
Morris, Aleashea Prescott, Jackson Berridge, Reagan Bennett, Travis Carlson, Molly
Matava and Will Brako.
I had the pleasure of sitting at the same table as CJ Koso. She had created a centerpiece including some of her
favorite things, such as a hula hoop, a clarinet, books pertaining to dogs (she loves 'em) and a climbing rope. As
all of the students did, she had created a thank-you card for each of the guests who sat with her.
Speakers included students, parent Thom, Morris, the chief professional officer of the club, and board members
Wharton, Veals (who along with Jessica Wheeldon chaired the event) and Koso. They also shared a slideshow with
all the activities provided by the Boys and Girls Club, including field trips, art, pool, basketball and the computer
room. I was gratified to see some of them reading that day's Durango Herald. We have to encourage the next
generation of newspaper readers!
Kudos also should go to the staff that works with the students every day to help make them into better and better"
kids. They are Megan Farr, Laura Hager, Matthew Sheldon and several Fort Lewis College students
and one Durango High School student part time.
Koso said, We want to make them into adults who care about their community as much as their community cared about
Tally to date is $33,000, but the checks still are coming in. If you want to support the Boys and Girls Club and the
phenomenal work it does, you, too, can Be the One!" Mail your contribution to the club
at 2750 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
Moving into March and counting the days for the onset of spring for their birthdays are Betty Perry, Nik
Stransky,Sandy Newman, Trent Pansze, Ken Seay, Connie Mahan,Nolan Waggoner, Ryan Phelps, Sean Franklin, Diann Wylie and Katie Thompson.
Happy 21th birthday wishes go out to Brian Govreau.
And lest they be forgotten, here are all those folks who generally only get to celebrate during a Leap Year -
Wayne Frisbe, David Smith, Mark S. Anderson and Robby Hoffman.
I feel like one of those I only visit for the fun" members (honorary in my case) of Tuesday Literary Club. I almost
always make it for the parties but miss the meat of the matter, the meetings where books and learning take place.
The pattern was broken this week as I managed to finally make it to one. It was held at the home of Grace
Jensen, who prepared a countertop full of savories, from artichoke dip to shrimp to kick off the meeting and
finished it off with cookies and a delicious chocolate-cherry bundt cake.
Suzanne Zerbe chaired the meeting on the behalf of absent President Kay Baker. The first order of
business was to induct new member Jonnie Greiner with a hysterical poem about not being lulled into the joys
of sisterhood, books and learning, because the responsibilities of holding a club office are lurking around every
After Bee Atwood reviewed Jeanette Walls' latest book, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, those who
so enjoyed her The Glass Castle: a Memoir, were duking it out" to be the first to borrow it.
The club has an interesting tradition. Each meeting, one member is assigned the duty of reviewing the program, so
those who missed it will get at least a taste of what happened at the next one. The review is also saved for
This year's theme revolves around food, and Sue Griffith's review of Betsy Pierotti's program on comfort food
had most of us longing for mashed potatoes, meatloaf and macaroni and cheese.
Then it was time for the main event, the program. I had a bit of a vested interest in
this program, as the presenter, Kathy Redford, had created it while going through my memoirs classes at Fort
Lewis College and continuing in a writing group.
It started so simply, a quest to pull together family recipes, and ended by becoming a two-year project that is equal
parts family history, photos, recipes and travelogue. (I have the Kahlúa cake recipe.)
The group enjoyed seeing the finished product, mouths watering over a few of the recipes and several, who had been
thinking about doing something similar, were inspired to make their own. Jan Scott, an avid scrapbooker, talked about how to incorporate these items into a scrapbook format.
Their warm welcome brightened a cold winter night.
In the He only has to remember roses once every four years" category celebrating an anniversary now are Kevin
and Denise Simonsen.
Special greetings go out to Reid and Sari Ross, who are celebrating their 60th anniversary Sunday.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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