OAKHURST — The board of directors of the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club made it official Wednesday night: After being shuttered for more than three months, the club will formally reopen in late October.
Doug Macaulay, president of the organization’s board of directors, confirmed Thursday the club’s first day back in operation will be Tuesday, Oct. 22.
“It’s been a long summer but we’re about ready to reopen and get back to business,” Macaulay said. “I’m not happy that we had to close the club but it was the right thing to do while we got our finances in order. We’ve got a lot of great new momentum moving forward now.”
Macaulay said the club initially will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for regular after-school activities.
“Fridays we’ll start off with just club activities and Saturdays we’ll be having our basketball league,” Macaulay said. “We’re hoping to be open five days a week for regular [after-school] activities by the first of the year as long as we have the budget for it.”
The club’s recent woes started in late June when Macaulay announced the facility would have to temporarily close “due to a lack of funding.”
An emergency “Call to Action” meeting was held a week after the closure and in the past three months, members of the community and many of the area’s service organizations, have stepped up, donating tens of thousands of dollars to the club’s coffers.
The club, located adjacent to Fresno Flats, actually operates under the umbrella of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County, which runs 16 clubs in the Central Valley. All of the facilities are located in Fresno County except for the Oakhurst club, whose finances are actually administered by its own separate board — the Mountain Area Youth Organization (MAYO).
Doug Macaulay’s father Archie founded MAYO, partnering with the Fresno County Boys & Girls Clubs to start the Oakhurst club in 1999. Local residents Angie Pizelo and Todd Miller were also instrumental in getting the club off the ground.
The Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club serves a many as 80 kids a day, with more than 400 mountain area children ages 6 to 18 taking part in club activities throughout the year.
With the recent outpouring of financial support from the community, Macaulay said the nonprofit has raised about $50,000 since the club’s closure in June.
The recent donations are being used, in part, for some much-needed repair and renovation work on the clubhouse.
And as early as next week, several new employees are expected to be hired. All must undergo background checks before being cleared to work with children, Macaulay said.
Jennifer Simmons, the longtime manager of the Oakhurst club, will continue to oversee day-to-day club operations.
“I’m really excited to get back open,” she said this week while preparing to act as grand marshal in Saturday’s Mountain Heritage Days parade, in which the Boys & Girls Club will have a float.
Earlier this week, Macaulay was on the receiving end of a generous gift from Smokehouse 41 restaurant, which donated more than $8,000 to the organization after holding a fundraiser last week. The restaurant’s owners donated all of the proceeds from last Friday’s (Sept. 13) restaurant sales to the club. And employees also donated their wages for the day.
At least one of the restaurant’s employees has a child who participates regularly in after-school activities at the club.
Foothills Hospitality Group also contributed $500 — and volunteer labor — to last week’s fundraiser at Smokehouse 41.
Last month, the Rotary Club of Oakhurst Sierra presented the Boys & Girls Club with a $10,750 donation.
Macaulay has also added a number of new members to the organization’s board of directors, infusing new energy and fundraising muscle into the club’s community profile.
Nearly 100 percent of the club’s annual operating budget comes from community support and donations from area service clubs and businesses as well as from private individuals.