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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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5/23/2013 12:57:00 PM
Boys & Girls Club selected as part of National Parks Foundation grant
Standing outside the Club are (from left) Club Director Connie Dedrick,  Max Castillo of Arizona State Parks Verde Greenway and Deb Decovis of the National Park Service. VVN/Jon Hutchinson
Standing outside the Club are (from left) Club Director Connie Dedrick, Max Castillo of Arizona State Parks Verde Greenway and Deb Decovis of the National Park Service. VVN/Jon Hutchinson

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

COTTONWOOD -- The Northern Arizona Boys and Girls Club will share in a grant with students from Mingus Union and Camp Verde High Schools in a program to establish native tree plants and to restore native lands along waterways in the Verde Valley.

The project is funded by the National Parks Foundation 2013 Best Idea Grant Program. The program is worth $14,750. The Boys & Girls Club will receive $5,875 of the money. It includes Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monuments and Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Connie Dedrick, director of the after-school program, said a growing area will be established on a shaded back patio at the Clubhouse near the Old Town Activity Park. A future shade structure at the front of the club will also provide an area for establishing seedlings.

Deb Decovis of the National Park Service said children will learn about growing plants from seeds gathered locally.

"If you don't get kids excited about planting a vegetable, they won't be excited about planting a tree. So the kids will learn all about planting over here and then take field trips to Dead Horse State Park," said Decovis.

An existing riparian nursery was established a number of years ago at Dead Horse, planted with native cottonwoods and willows. Many of the starts were never trimmed back sufficiently and eventually became permanent residents there. Max Castillo of Dead Horse says a new nursery will be established that can be maintained as nursery stock to replace invasive species being removed.

"It won't be just cottonwoods and willows," said Decovis. "It will also have sycamores and ash, perhaps."

Castillo said the back porch of the club is an ideal setting because it opens onto a wash that is choked with ailanthus trees, the Tree of Heaven, an invasive species that the program wants to remove and replace. He says the Friends of the Verde River Greenway and the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition might be of some help with a grant to rid invasive species.

Dedrick said the Summer Camp program will take education to the next level and they hope to also plant a plot at the Community Garden.

The Summer program starts June 3 and costs $55 per week or $220 per month. The Summer program can attract as many as 250 kids and comes with a free lunch at the school.

The Boys & Girls Club is bouncing back from a financial shortfall. A fundraising campaign March 1 through April 15 raised enough to qualify for a matching grant from the national program, raising $55,000. The City of Cottonwood helped meet the goal with a contribution of $10,000.

The club just completed a Purses and Wine fundraiser Friday in cooperation with the Pillsbury Wine Company. Dedrick is planning a Verde Valley Taste during 2014 similar to the successful fundraiser formerly held at Sedona.

Dedrick said the club has re-organized and become more efficient and is cultivating new partnerships. She will be working with a regional team for two years to fine tune the operation.

For more information contact Connie Dedrick at 928-300-7256 or

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Article comment by: THE Boys & Girls Club Standard

The term "daycare" does not exist with the B&G Club organization, so comparison to other daycares in this area is invalid. I do get your point, however, but B&G Clubs receive so much support and have such a strong history across America & Internationally that it is unfair for any citizen to categorize them as a Day Care. Big No-No amongst Club Loyalists! Great point by Disgusted Citizen-the costs at this site use to be much lower than they currently are, and just a few years ago. I once worked at a Club that charged $15/month - yes a month. Read the White Paper on Boys & Girls Clubs, provided by BGC National Headquarters: It HIGHLY encourages Club Leaders NOT to increase Monthly Dues in challenging times!!! It's not even an option. Another big No-No. Just as National is encouraged to not shut down sites when They are struggling. This site should follow the lead of the National Heads. My years of experience at BG Clubs across the country has been that Clubs thrive with great leaders who believe in and stick to the script (or standard) provided to them by the National Heads. Do this and Donors will Donate. These people/leaders have a Tough job! But sadly, my experience has also seen clubs fail when the leadership is inefficient. The big money donors, the shakers and movers and the source of 80% of Club funding, are well educated with this Organization and its National Standards. When they are approached by a site that does not demonstrate these National Standards they will not contribute. I too hope that the Board Pres is not receiving a salary that would be a first and is not how BG Clubs are structured. I am hoping to defend this National Org. with this input, because it truly is great and beautiful, but i'm afraid it's name and identity are being tarnished by this site. BG Clubs are a prime example of: When you do things the right way, good things will happen. Kickball is a great game, but BG Clubs are ALL ABOUT PROGRAMMING, not unorganized free play. There are tons of programs provided by National, format and training included. Pick one, Do It, report back to the National Office, and they will fund it. Grants are provided by National to run these programs. I'm not talking about bailout $$. Program Funding. No excuse for a struggling BG Club. They have the most recognizable Name and Logo amongst non-profits across the world yes World, they are international! Stick to the script and LIVE their values and everything else falls in place.

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: This is what is wrong with people

Wow! This is crazy. $55.00 a week, in the "day care" world is a great deal! That averages out to about $1.00 an hour, if the child attends the camp daily and all day. Yes it includes lunch but also includes many more things not mentioned in the article. Field trips, arts and crafts, swimming, and a host of other activities to keep kids off the streets and busy during the day, while parents work.
As far as the kids becoming involved in the creating of a "growing area", oh my god, really, lazy parents raise lazy kids. What would be the worst thing a child would learn from the experience of planting and cultivating trees or plants or building something with their own two hands. To be a part of something constructive and to have a sense of pride. Would it be better to have all the kids on the streets, sitting at home alone, watch TV, playing video games all day, no activity or would you rather have kids doing something positive? If not, offer your day care services (for less than $1.00 an hour) and have at it.

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Program Gets $$ Kids Do Work

Using kids for free labor to replant questionable "native" plants in the National Parks is a scam on the kids.
First, how "native" do we want the Parks to be? 50 years ago? 100 years ago? 500 years ago? Nature goes through natural plant secession. What era are we calling "native"?

Second, and more troubling, is that we are charging to kids an exorbitant amount to be a part of Boys and Girls Club ( lunch is included? what a joke). We are charging them for the opportunity to perform free labor for the Park Service. It is not easy work. I have seen this program closer than some. It is nothing more than adding hands to pull weeds, dig holes, grow plants and plant plants.
I have some acreage if your child really wants to be be agricultural and I'll pay for the labor, not steal it under the guise of a non profit organization and grants.

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

No where is it written or enforceable that
non profits can't pay the upper crust payrolls
that would make your head spin.
$220 a month? Somebody has to pay the big
Greater standards?They write the standards.
That's not to say the kids don't get activities
they just do it outdoors more.Get a kick ball
and get after it.
Hate 2 be neg but I've seen State Receiving
home kids with no parents sat down in a dayroom after school and the care workers
put a pile of VCRs on a table to watch as the staff worked overtime.

Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013
Article comment by: A Disgusted Citizen

$220 a month?? Wow!!! This summer program use to cost $60 month!!!! Hiking the costs up on the families was the solution that these people came up with to off-set it's financial shortfalls?? That is disgusting. It's the responsibility of the Board members (if there are any still remaining) and program director to generate funds. Challenging?? Yes, it is a challenge. Boys & Girls Club is perhaps the top non-profit in the country, and should be supported by all community members. And good for the City and whoever else made contributions, but we are putting money in the hands of irresponsible individuals. STOP giving this club money! The kids need a place to go, we all agree on that. But the people in charge need to demonstrate greater responsibility with these funds. How many more times will we hear about this Site struggling and how they will have to shut their doors?? Just disgusting these families deserve a stronger effort from the leaders of this Org, if you even want to call them leaders. I wouldn't dare question their commitment or their morals, or anything like that. But it is sick to hear that this club is now charging $220 a month!!! Other clubs in the country in similar and even much smaller communities charge WAY LESS monthly dues. These organizations need to be held to greater standards. And why is the board president now the director? is it even legal to be a Board President of a non-profit and Program Director?? I hope to God that she is not receiving a Salary on top of it!!

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