INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It was designed as a safe place for Boone County kids ages five to 18 to learn and grow. But now, the Lebanon Area Boys and Girls club has closed it’s membership and started a waiting list.
The club has been in it’s Main Street building since 1983.
Steve Carr, program director for the club, says for $40 a year, a member gets transportation to the building, full access to the facilities and a free hot meal at dinner. Growth in the need for the club, he says, has been unprecedented in the past five years.
“In 2009 we were seeing an average of 33 kids a day. Right now, that daily average is above 170,” Carr says.
So for safety, and to insure availability of space and service, the club has stopped accepting new members. Anyone who wants a membership is put on a waiting list – a list that in the first week includes five families.
“The likeliood of us expanding is 100 percent, we have to. The timeline for that, we don’t know. We’ve never had a capitol campaign here at the club, so this is going to be a learning curve for us,” says Carr.
The Lebanon Area Boys and Girls Club gets about 10 percent of it’s $530,000 budget from the United Way. A spokeswoman for the United Way of Central Indiana said, “we are aware of growth in the area and the agency is evaluating options.”
She pointed out there is a United Way Capitol Improvements Fund where clubs can apply for assistance.
In the meantime, Carr says the Lebanon club is hustling to find alternatives for families on the waiting list.
“We realize that hardship is there. This was not an easy decision. But it is a decision we have to make right now in order to insure the quality of our services remains as high as it is,” says Carr.
Carr says the board of the club is working to figure out if they will expand or find a bigger building. At the same time, they have to start the process of raising the money that will be needed to do that.
Carr says since they’ve never done this before, it will take time to get it all worked out.