Today (Thursday, Oct. 18) is the day the entire community has the opportunity to check out the new Nevada site of Boys & Girls Club of Story County.


A gathering will take place at the Presbyterian Church on Fifth Street in Nevada, where the site is located. People are asked to meet in the basement of the church first. A ribbon cutting will take place around 4:45 p.m., followed by tours of the upper-level rooms that Boys & Girls Club will utilize.


The Nevada site of Boys & Girls Club officially opened last week, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, with two “Shelbys” at the helm.


Shelby Brewer, a student at Iowa State University, is the program coordinator for Nevada’s site. Shelby Smith, a student at Des Moines Area Community College, is youth development professional with the Nevada site. Both positions are part-time.


For Brewer, who is majoring in elementary education, the position fits perfectly with her future goals of becoming a teacher.


“For this (job), I interact with parents, which I’ll have to do as a teacher. And I’m making plans (for the club), which is kind of like the lesson plans I’ll be doing as a teacher,” she said.


The goal is to enroll 25 middle school-aged kids in the Nevada Boys & Girls program, which like the Ames site, is a place these young teens and pre-teens can go after school to get help with their homework, enjoy time doing things with other kids their age and take part in service projects. It’s also a nice program to put parents’ minds at ease about where their kids are after school for a few hours each day, while they may still be at work.


By its third day of operation last week, the Nevada site already had 14 kids come through its doors, and 12 of those kids were enrolled by the end of week one. The enrollment fee for the school year is only $25 per student (and there is financial assistance available if families need it).


As the program coordinator, Brewer, a 2017 graduate of Nodaway High School in Greenfield, said her main responsibilities will be to serve as the day-to-day contact person for parents, the planner of all programming and field trips, and the person who reviews the activities that Smith prepares to be sure that everything the club does is “high-yielding” in terms of its value.


“There are three priority outcomes (for Boys & Girls Club),” Brewer said. Those are academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and citizenship development.


To meet the academic success outcome, Boys & Girls Club will offer help to students with their homework every day.


To meet the healthy lifestyles outcome, Brewer said they are hoping to set up a little room to the side of their main room as a “calming room,” that will provide space for yoga and meditation.


Finally, to meet the character and citizenship development outcome, Nevada’s program will introduce a Torch Club. “This is where we will sit and talk about a community service project,” Brewer said, and then that project will be completed by the members of the club during the year.


Smith, of McCallsburg, who is a 2018 graduate of Colo-NESCO, is studying criminal justice in college. Her main duties at the club will be to help Brewer watch over the kids and to do programs with the kids. “We (Brewer and herself) hope to bounce ideas back and forth,” she said.


Smith said she’s used to being around kids because she previously worked at a day care. “It’s an important life skill to have, working with kids.”


As for the middle school “age” of the kids the two staff members are working with now, they both say they are up for the challenge.


“I like how energetic about everything that they can be,” Smith said.


Brewer said that while she hopes to teach at about the third-grade level someday, she’s appreciating that kids of the middle school-age group are more independent. “They really like to do their own thing, and even though they’ll go along with the plans, they always want to put their own spin on it.”


Nevada’s Boys & Girls Club is planning to be open during the school year every day after school on days that school is in session.


For more information about Nevada’s program, email: nevada@bgcstorycounty.org, or stop in at the site after school.