By Edna Clark
6 to18 year old children of Van Horn will once again have a safe place to go to after school and during the summer afternoons. Van Horn Recreational Center opens Monday, May 9 at 102 E. 2nd Street at the former Boys & Girls Club of Rural West Texas (BGCWRT) building.
BGCRWT closed after state funding requirements changed and former CCAISD Superintendent, Marc Puig, received money from a grant that had been intended for the BGCRWT. Apparently, after Puig moved on, checks were found in his desk that were intended for the club. This money could have sustained the club for at least another year while alternate funding was secured. Puig also curtailed a school bus stop on an established bus route which prevented student access to the club. Mr. Puig singlehandedly took the former and much needed club away from the Van Horn community.
According to Culberson County Judge, Carlos Urias, the Van Horn Recreational Center will be funded by the taxpayers of Culberson County under money allotted in the current county budget. During upcoming budget planning sessions, Judge Urias anticipates more funds being allocated to the Recreation Center to pay one fulltime and one part-time employee. Current funding allows for two part-time employees who are Center Coordinator, Melinda Baeza, and Program Director, Chasitty Carrillo.
According to Ms. Baeza, the Van Horn Recreational Center reopens at 4:00 p.m. on Monday and will be open until 8:00 p.m. These hours will remain until after high school graduation and school lets out for summer. From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, children will be tutored by Ms. Baeza, Ms. Carrillo, and community volunteers. Structured activities are next from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., followed by free time from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Summer hours will be from 1:00 p.m. tol 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
Cross Fit instructor, Mr. Paulo, from Alpine, has been using the building for adult fitness classes. Ms. Baeza’s summer plans include having Mr. Paulo provide agility training for next year’s football players. She is also planning for the SNAP program which provides for healthy snacks for the children.
When asked how the community can help the children of the Recreation Center, Ms. Baeza asked for volunteers to assist in tutoring, crafts, career training, presentations, and any other needs that may arise. Forming a chess club is a special dream of Ms. Baeza’s, as the game of chess garners concentration and strategy which is a special need for young people today.
The recreation center will work with the Van Horn Youth Association as a registration site for sports activities. Baeza related that the number of children who registered for summer baseball/softball teams has doubled from last year’s numbers because the parents had a central place to drop off registration forms.
Ms. Baeza, Ms. Carrillo, and Judge Urias are encouraging our community to become involved in the new Van Horn Recreational Center. Please plan on being there from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for evenings of safety, fun, and growth of our young people.