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Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Sultan Boys & Girls Club settles in at new site

  • The VOA site temporarily serving as Sultan's Boys and Girls Club has an outdoor playfield, where adult supervisors and kids can organize a game of Wif...

    Dan Bates / The Herald

    The VOA site temporarily serving as Sultan's Boys and Girls Club has an outdoor playfield, where adult supervisors and kids can organize a game of Wiffle ball or soccer.

  • Dan Bates / The Herald
The VOA site temporarily serving as Sultan's Boys and Girls Club has an outdoor playfield, where adult supervisors and kids can...

    Dan Bates / The Herald The VOA site temporarily serving as Sultan's Boys and Girls Club has an outdoor playfield, where adult supervisors and kids can play a game of soccer or Wiffle ball. Photo taken: 021011

SULTAN -- When the Sultan Boys & Girls Club burned down on Christmas Eve, the first question was, "Where would the kids gather after school?"
They found a new home quickly.
They have adapted well to their new site.
"It has been pretty awesome. We have all the stuff we need and all that we want," said 16-year old Ben Monteleon of Sultan.
Volunteers of America quickly offered its facilities after the fire.
Because of that, the activities held by the Sultan Boys & Girls Club, like child care for kids between kindergarten and fifth grade and a place for teens to gather, have not been interrupted.
The old Sultan Boys & Girls Club burned down a month and a half ago. The cause of the fire is undetermined.
Since the fire, the club moved to the Sky Valley Family and Community Resource Center located at 617 First St., just down the street from its former site.
Last week, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County said they will rebuild in the city, even though it is still unclear how much it will cost. The city has access to federal grants for the club and insurance money.
It is also unclear if it will be rebuild at the old site at 705 First St. or move to another location.
Monteleon was one of five teens at the center this past Thursday. Their new site is upstairs in a large A-frame building, which consists of three rooms. It is smaller compared to the old teen center, which teens helped build years ago. During the fire, kids not only lost their center, but many lost personal possessions like computers, game systems and musical instruments.
When asked if he misses anything lost by the fire, Monteleon said no. Fourteen-year-old Dan Netherton of Monroe put it this way: "Items are gone and we have less space, but we are still here."
Downstairs last Thursday, 12 kids between the ages of 5 and 12 sat at the tables eating a snack. They have toys, table games and books at their disposal, but their caretakers took them outside to play soccer and baseball, taking advantage of a rare sunny February day.
The community has shown support by increasing donations since the fire. The children have benefited from the donations they have received, Boys & Girls Club unit director Kami Prutsman said.
The children have to share space with the senior center but the groups use the facilities at different times. There are plans to build a community garden and seniors want to recruit the youth to help them do it.
"They are looking for ways to do an activity with the kids," Prutsman said.
Volunteers of America has offered its facilities to other groups in the past. It gets around $4,000 to $5,000 from rent, but it's not charging the Boys & Girls Club anything, director of services Dave Wood said.
"We knew it when we made the commitment. It's not a big deal," Wood said.
There are 14 Boys & Girls Clubs in Snohomish County. The one in Sultan is among the smallest, with about 250 kids affiliated with the Sultan club, said Paul Seely, director of community development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.
Even though the organization has lost from $45,000 to $60,000 every year since it was established in the city in 1991, it says it won't abandon kids in the community.
"If we went away, the kids wouldn't have anything to do," Seely said.
The old building belonged to the city. The 15,000-square-foot, two-floor building was insured by the Boys & Girls Clubs. Under the terms of the lease agreement, the money from the insurance has to be used to rebuild. Seely said they are expecting a damage estimate from the insurance company this week.
The building also housed the city's public works department, which had historical documents. Most of the documents only suffered water damage and could be restored, city administrator Deborah Knight said.
To plan the creation of the new Boys & Girls Club, Mayor Carolyn Eslick wants to create a blue-ribbon committee and a youth committee. The city has received 11 letters of interest to join the blue-ribbon committee. The first meeting of the advisory board is scheduled for the middle of March.
Those interested can send letters to Sultan City Hall or e-mail Donna Murphy, volunteer coordinator at donna.murphy@ci.sultan.wa.us. The deadline is Friday.
There are no preconceived ideas of how the new Boys & Girls Club will look.
"It's a clean slate," Eslick said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » SultanFire

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