The Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island will be having a Grand Opening on October 22 to celebrate the completion of two phases of renovations to their headquarters.
“We just went through two of four phases of renovations and would like to share it with our current and former members,” Kalani Silva, Chief Professional Officer BGCBI, said.
The $1.8 million spent has transformed the centers headquarters on Kamakahonu Street in Hilo into a more modern and Americans with Disability Act complaint facility.
“We renovated the game room and kitchen, changed the library into an art center and made the woodshop into a teen area with a small game room,” Silva said.
Besides the renovations made to the Hilo Clubhouse the organization has added a variety of play tables to their game rooms. “We have a couple of pool tables, ping pong tables and a foosball table,” Silva said.
The upper mezzanine area has been transformed into a climate control area where 26 computers will be housed. “The computers were donated to us by HELCO,” Silva said.
Most importantly the facility has become ADA complaint with wheelchair lifts being installed in both the upstairs and downstairs areas. “We should be pretty much complaint now with the addition of those lifts,” Silva said.
The Open House will be to showcase the many changes that the club has undergone. “We are giving the Grand Opening a theme called, Boys and Girls Club Hilo Reunion, Uniting the past with the present,” Silva said.
The BGCBI has six clubs which are located at Oceanview, Pahala, Pahoa, Keaau and Hamakua with the bulk of the athletic activities taking place in Hilo. The main organized sports featured at the club are baseball, boxing and basketball, and recently the Hilo Clubhouse has included table tennis with the formation of a team.
“We’d like to bring back flag football and we would like to do more alumni events,” Silva said.
The BGCBI has also teamed with the Positive Coaching Alliance to help guide children in a positive direction through sports, while getting away from the “win at all cost” mentality.
Over the years the club has serviced more than 50,000 youth from the Big Island and today their six clubs work with 800 youth members, with 300 to 400 of them belonging to the Hilo facility.
Silva has only recently been added to the BGCBI staff coming on board in July of this year. As a result he has inherited the clubs 2004 Master Plan which includes the four phases of renovations.
“The next two phases will cost us around $3 million as we need to redo the ball fields, parking lot, pool and gym,” Silva said. “Fortunately we already have a part of the cost committed to us and we’ll need to raise an additional $2 million.”
According to Silva the gym is already 30 to 40 percent complete as new lighting is current being installed. “We received a paint donation and will be getting volunteers to paint the walls in the gym. The (gym) floors also need to be resurfaced and we have some people committed to helping us, but we are always looking for additional volunteers to donate their time to getting various projects done,” he said.
BGCBI is also trying to attract older teens back to the club and they are in the process of making a “big push” at the Hilo, Keaau and Pahoa facilities.
“We will be hosting six teen dances, two geared at the middle school kids and the other four for high school kids,” Silva said. “We are working with helping to put on a Halloween dance in Pahoa as we make a big push to try and get the older kids back to the club.”
Silva and his staff have been trying to get the word out to its former members in order to stay connected to current and future alumni on events at the new Hilo Clubhouse.
“We want past members to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order for us to form an updated directory. Most importantly I want to make sure everyone is informed of our Grand Opening on Thursday, October 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at our Hilo Clubhouse,” Silva said.
Besides showing off the new Clubhouse, Silva will also use the Grand Opening to honor the BGCBI Youth of the Year and to recognize current and former supporters of the organization.
“The Youth of the Year award is a program that builds character and leadership skills in our youth, which we are very proud of,” Silva said.
Silva welcomes the public’s input and says, “Any thoughts or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on my cell at 557-9001 or via email at Kalani@bgcbi.com.”