Kids club leaves Granite Falls

GRANITE FALLS – After months of debate and tense meetings, the Boys &Girls Club of Snohomish County has pulled its staff and resources out of Granite Falls.

On Monday, the organization canceled transportation that had taken Granite Falls children to Lake Stevens for club services. The organization also moved the Granite Falls director to Monroe and isn’t looking for a replacement, said Paul Seely, the club’s community relations director.

He said he’d love to reinstate the Granite Falls chapter but won’t do so unless a building is donated for club use. A fire damaged the former club headquarters in June.

In previous years, around 350 children participated in the Granite Falls branch of the Boys &Girls Club. This year, 11 to 14 kids rode to Lake Stevens each day for club activities such as basketball games, craft projects and homework help, Seely said.

The club can’t find a “reasonably priced,” reliable driver who is at least 23 years old to transport club members, he said.

“I know in some haunts I’m considered the bad guy,” he said. “We were there for almost eight years. We budgeted nearly $1 million to support that Boys &Girls Club. We voluntarily lost about $425,000 – and we did that because we thought there would be a permanent solution and there’s not a permanent solution and we need to move on until there is. That’s really the crux of it. Nobody’s happy. I’m not happy.”

Granite Falls kids can still attend Boys &Girls Club functions eight miles away in Lake Stevens if they can find transportation. But many parents who enrolled their children in the before- and after-school programs work and can’t take off four times a day to shuttle their kids.

Julie Henderson said she found out about the transportation issues just two days before the service was canceled. Luckily, she had family and friends willing to watch her two daughters, ages 9 and 7. But many parents were left scrambling.

“I talked to my youngest daughter today and said, ‘How are you doing without the club,’ ” she said. “… And she misses it. She had several close friends she used to get excited to go and see. Now she can still have play dates and that sort of thing, but it’s different and it’s very disappointing.”

Reporter Kaitlin Manry: 425-339-3292 or

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