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Boys & Girls Club serves 1,800 youth
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Club members play wall ball at the Manteca Boys & Girls Club. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The Manteca Boys & Girls Club offers a place where kids ages 6 to 18 can have fun while learning at the same time.
Mark McCool, the Director of Operations for the club, calls it “fun with a purpose.”
According to McCool, the Boys & Girls club is “the only full time place where a kid can go, feel safe, have fun, and learn how to become a productive member of the community.” McCool oversees all programs offered at the Manteca location. This includes the nationally recognized five core programs.
The first of the core programs, Education and Career Development, helps kids master “educational disciplines” and technology, including their application to everyday life. Its activities include Club Tech and college speakers.
The Character and Leadership program builds a positive self-image and respect for others through community involvement. Examples of its activities are Youth of the Year and the Junior Staff Program.
Health and Life Skills teaches kids the skills and goals to live self-sufficiently. This program includes cooking classes and the Garden club.
Sports, Fitness, and Recreation encourages fitness, lower stress, and social skills through physical activity. Field trips and sports leagues are a major part of this program.
The Arts encourages creativity through visual and performing arts. This program includes creative writing, photography, and a talent show.
So far this summer, the Boys & Girls club has held activities catering to kids of different ages and interests. A science camp and science fair was recently held. Those involved had the privilege to get a tour of the Perry’s and Sons farm to learn how it is run. The garden club, which meets weekly at the club’s own garden, harvested onions for a casserole which was fed to all the kids. The club also brought teenage members on college field trips.
The Boys & Girls club serves children from first to twelfth grade. Around 2,500 kids use the club each year, 1,800 of whom are members. Membership costs $60 a year and makes every activity in the club free, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks. For members, the club is “like an all inclusive resort” McCool said.
Throughout this summer, free karate, game room tournaments, an arts center, and the garden club are all available. Remaining events for the summer are:
uFree hot dog barbeque July 14
uWork experience day for teenagers at Old Navy July 19
uWatermelon eating contest July 20
uTalent Show July 27
The Manteca Boys and Girls Club is located at 545 W. Alameda Street. During the summer, it is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional cost, the sunrise program will open doors at 7 a.m. During the school year the hours shift to 3:30 to 8 p.m. The location can be reached at 209-239-5437.