Ferndale Boys & Girls Club Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony and Shifts Into Community Campaign

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The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, Ferndale Branch lost their facility to a fire on January 1st, 2007. Since then, the Clubs have been raising funds to rebuild the Ferndale Facility. September 23rd, 2008 the community rallied to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Ferndale Clubhouse.

We ask a tremendous amount from local community members, and we know this is yet one more time that we need a contribution, but this time it's different

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County was honored by a large crowd that gathered in Pioneer Park on Tuesday, September 23rd, for their Ceremonial Groundbreaking for the New Ferndale Clubhouse. Over 140 people gathered in and around a small white tent to view the facility design and witness community leaders tell the tale of the Ferndale Clubhouse.

Present at the ceremony were local business leaders, community, county and state leaders and Club representatives, including kids, staff and Board Members. County Treasurer and Ferndale Board President Steve Oliver, and County Prosecutor and Board Member Dave McEachran both spoke to the attendees about the importance of the project and the key individuals who have made it happen. Mayor Jensen extended a hand on behalf of the City of Ferndale as he delivered a warm yet humorous speech, along with a personal anecdote. Mr. Jensen also presented a Key to the City of Ferndale on behalf of the City Council and Administration, for the Club's commitment to kids and community. The plaque will no doubt be hanging in the new Clubhouse once a ribbon is cut in December of 2009, when the Clubhouse doors are opened to serve the community.

Local Architect, Douglas Landsem, was on-hand to unveil the design, site plan and model of the new Clubhouse. Landsem has spent considerable time and donated generously toward the Club and the Campaign. This design, his fourth and final concept, is respectful and representative of Ferndale's rich history as well as the location within Pioneer Park. Pottle and Sons have been selected as the General Contractor while Reichart & Ebe have generously donated the civil engineering.

The event which lasted close to an hour marks the $3.4 Million mark for the Clubs in their $4.5 Million "Campaign for Kids", with a centerpiece of the campaign being a New Ferndale Clubhouse. Helping the Club reach that mark was the Rotary Club of Whatcom County North, with a check presentation by Club President Tim Villhauer in the amount of $250,000. The contribution is the Club's tribute in honor of the late Dick Metcalf, a longtime member of WCN Rotary who devoted his life to youth in Whatcom County, especially those in Boys & Girls Club and the Boy Scouts. "As soon as he (Metcalf) passed, the Rotary Members knew we needed to contribute to the Boys & Girls Clubs' Campaign. Dick was so passionate about kids, so this contribution toward the Teen Center in the new Ferndale Clubhouse is a perfect memorial to a great man," noted Villhauer as he handed a large foam core check to Corporate Board President Bill Unrein and Steve Oliver. Mr. Metcalf's surviving family, including his wife Shirley, was on hand to assist with the presentation.    

Over 20 community and project leaders, including Rep. Kelli Linville, Rep. Doug Ericksen, Don Imhof of the Old Settlers Association and Linda Harkleroad of the Heritage Society, joined several Boys & Girls Club Members in pushing golden shovels into the ground to cap the celebration. Many smiles, hugs and handshakes were exchanged, none warmer than those of the kids present at the event.

The Boys & Girls Club will take the next several weeks to shift into the Ferndale Community Campaign, as they take to the streets to ask for support from residents and local businesses. "We ask a tremendous amount from local community members, and we know this is yet one more time that we need a contribution, but this time it's different," commented Ferndale Branch Director Josh Wilund. "This time, they're building a facility that will benefit an entire community for the next five decades." The new Clubhouse will finally place the Club and programs in a permanent facility. The Ferndale programs have been housed in an interim site since they lost the former Clubhouse to a devastating fire on January 1, 2007.

To make a contribution to the Capital drive or find out more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County and the Campaign for Kids, contact Josh Wilund at 360.384.0753 /jwilund@whatcomclubs.org or visit http://www.whatcomclubs.org.

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