Boys and Girls Club gathers community

PARKERSBURG – The Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg brought together families and organizations that could benefit from its services during a Back to School program Thursday.

The club, at 1200 Mary St., hosted the community fair and open house from 3-6 p.m. to celebrate the end of the first day of school in Wood County.

“We want to show off our facility and let people know what is available in the community,” said Ben Shuman, executive director for the Parkersburg Boys and Girls Club. “That includes our programs and what we do as well as the services of around 30 other community agencies from around Parkersburg and the Wood County area.

“These organizations are talking to people about the things they can do for families in this community.”

Organizations were Habitat For Humanity, Boy Scouts of America, Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library, 4-H, YMCA, WIC, the ARC of Wood County, Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, Family Crisis and Intervention Center and Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

“We are letting people know what is available in the community,” said event organizer Beth Middleton. “It showcases the Boys and Girls Club at the same time.

There are services available to help meet the needs and interests of families, Shuman said.

Organizers thought it would be a good idea to tie the event in with the first day of school in Wood County as many families would be out and about Thursday.

“We want to make sure all of our kids in this community have academic success,” Shuman said. “A lot of what we do at the club is academic success based and many of the agencies we are working with help with that.

“We want to tie all of that together and make sure these kids are prepared for school.”

Diane Hutson of Parkersburg brought her sons, Steven and James, down for the program as they were members of the Boys and Girls Club.

Heather Phillips of Parkersburg came with her son to learn about the community organizations.

“This is beneficial,” she said. “It is good to have different resources that you can reach out to.”

Timothy J. Rupert, senior district executive with Allohak Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said he has been able to make connections Thursday.

“There are a lot of kids we are trying to reach,” he said. “We are trying to grow in this part of Parkersburg.

“Our council has had seven years of growth in Scouting and we really want to keep it up.”

Rupert was able to interact with other organizations.

“I have gotten a lot from talking to the different groups and organizations,” he said. “It is good to know about everything that is offered throughout the community.”

In addition to the open house, the Boys and Girls Club dedicated its community garden. The garden started with grants from the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

The garden was planted in early July and fruits, vegetables and flowers growing in it.

“It is an educational garden so we are teaching gardening to our members and connecting them with their own resources in the community to do their own gardening,” Shuman said.