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Boys & Girls Club opens brand new facility in Bryan

Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 21:12:52-05

BRYAN, Texas — It’s a place where children can discover their passions, make new friendships, and receive mentorship that could change the course of their lives.

For generations, the Boys & Girls Club of the Brazos Valley has been serving Aggieland’s kids. This Tuesday, the doors were officially opened to their brand new location on Beck Street in Bryan.

“This is a full-size regulation gym, "said Rhonda Watson, CEO of BGCBV. "We have an art and design studio where we’re going to bring in painting, crocheting, whatever they’re interested in. And we’re going to really work with the kids on fulfilling whatever they’re interested in. We have a teen room, obviously the gym, a computer lab, and library.”

The old building on WJB Parkway has been in operation since 1964. The new building, the result of a ten-year and $5 million fundraising campaign, doubles the former property in size.

One major new feature is the kitchen, which will allow children not only to partake in cooking classes but will also facilitate meals for those children; something not offered at the old location.

"I grew up in the community. I grew up in the Boys & Girls Club from an early age," said Roderick “Coach Ghost” World Harris Jr., athletic director for BGCBV. "I’m a Boys & Girls Club kid. It was everything for me. It was how I started to socialize, and how I met a lot of my friends... A lot of the friends, we started out not liking each other from the other sides of town. It was an east side west side thing. But we just grew together.”

Harris’ introduction to football and basketball while playing at the old building in the 90s shaped him, starting him on his way to play college football in Kansas. Now, with the new facility, Harris wants to share the joys of his childhood with other kids, and open the doors to more sports than what was available before.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of things," he explained. "Even right now with basketball, we started with our basketball clinics, which allowed us to brand our basketball program. And we’re going to do the same thing for football, same thing for track. We’ll have cheerleading coming, and I've been tapping in with the schools to see if we can get some gymnastics going.”

Harris said that if children at the club aren’t interested in sports, he wants to be able to encourage them in their pursuits of cooking, art, theater – whatever it is that drives them and develops their character.

“I encourage every parent that’s out there too, even if your kid doesn’t want to play sports, that’s fine," Harris said. Sign them up, let’s get some tutoring going, let’s try to figure out what makes those kids tick because we’ve got a lot of opportunities.”

Anyone interested in volunteering or signing their child up for a membership can visit bgcbv.org.