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BGCP Breaks Ground on Teen Club

Standing as a beacon of the future. a bright blue door faces northwest and looks to the gray sunset, along with an excavator and a ladder fire truck bearing the American flag behind it.


New expansion captures history of Boys and Girls Club

BY NICK CHIIDS


Standing as a beacon of the future, a bright blue door faces northwest and looks to the gray sunset, along with an excavator and a ladder fire truck bearing the American flag behind it. In the future, this door will be the entrance to a new teen center named after Jackie and David Abell known as the Abell Teen Club.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau's primary campus held their official groundbreaking Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the future teen center. Community members and leaders, Boys and Girls Club staff, contractors, and the fire department showed out for the ceremony. Representatives on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club stood in front of the door and spoke to the gathered

attendants about the history of the Boys and Girls Club, the invaluable support from the community, and the pressing need for the teen center. Joy Clark, board chair of the BGCP, said the building represents "wonderful possibilities'" for teens in the future. "On behalf of the 72 teens we have now and all the young people we have who are not quite teens. I want to thank you all for this very special gift." Clark said. "What this building represents for all these teens and for all of us are the wonderful possibilities for having even more fun memories, more opportunities to make friendships, to have wonderful adventures." After Clark came Jackie Abell, who Clark praised as instrumental in helping the teen center come about. Abell said she sees a great board and staff, great kids and parents, and a great community. Abell also said she sees a commitment to the Plateau's kids. Carmen Waite, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, then shared a few words about what the club will mean to the community's teens. " I'm not the only one who has expectations and

pride. Our teens do as well. They're proud to be members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau, but they also have dreams and expectations of us." Waite said. "They see the club as a fun, safe place where they can hang out with their friends, but they want and need time to decompress from the pressures they experience as teens today in this world." With the continued support of the community, Waite said the teen center will continue to exceed the teens' expectations and allow them to explore their interests, whether that be cooking, sports, video games, or otherwise. Finally, Nat Turner, former board chair of the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau, spoke about the club's history in Cashiers. Turner asked the audience

to turn around with their backs to him and like the blue door, face northwest. From there he told the attendees to look at the red metal roofs of the Cashiers community building, which currently houses the thrift shop. It was in this building the Boys and Girls Club got their start before constructing their primary location. "Over the past nine years, our membership has blossomed from 45 to 425 children and teens." Turner said. He then looked toward the future and the youth who hold it in their hands. "Over the next generations, literally thousands of children and teens will pass through these doors, each in their own way. They will learn, they will grow, they will have fun, they will prosper, and yes, they will be safe." Turner said. At around 5:20 p.m... ground officially broke. Three teens stood in front of the door, wielding

shimmering golden shovels plunged into the cold ground. The audience then planted acorns they had been given at entrance. These acorns will hopefully grow mighty, strongly rooted oaks to represent the importance of investing in a child's foundation. Then, a teen who had been taking some extra lessons climbed into the excavator, fired it up, and dug a small hole behind the door. The 4,500-square-foot

teen center will house a kitchen, art room, main room, project room, and homework room so teens can gain skills for success and engage their interests. The center will likely take 12 to 18 months to complete.

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