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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news August 27, 2015


8/19/2014 12:36:00 PM
Northern Arizona Boys & Girls Club finally dissolves
The Boys & Girls Club in Cottonwood was established with the help of former Cottonwood Police Chief Pat Spence over 15-years ago. VVN/Vyto Starinskas
The Boys & Girls Club in Cottonwood was established with the help of former Cottonwood Police Chief Pat Spence over 15-years ago. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD -- The Cottonwood-based Boys & Girls Club of Northern Arizona will end operations effective immediately, according to Barbara Stricker, Operations Manager of the Pacific Region of the national after-school organization.  

"Like other non-profits, the Club has experienced increased demand for services due to challenging economic conditions at the national, state and local levels. At the same time, these conditions have also resulted in reductions in charitable giving and grant availability. The board regrets having to make this very difficult decision," said Stricker.   

The Boys & Girls Club in Cottonwood was established with the help of former Cottonwood Police Chief Pat Spence over 15-years ago. For $1 per year, the organization was given a former clubhouse used by the American Legion on City of Cottonwood land behind the Old Town Activity Park.

The Club had already built a following in Sedona. At one point, the club operated a program in the City of Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and also operated the Teen Center in Sedona.

In February, the Club gave notice that it would close for six months to regroup financially. The organization administrator Connie Dedrick had been working for the past year to cut back the club's debt and build a revenue stream and has encouraged donations while also attracting grants.

The organization first severed its operation of the Sedona Teen Center and then closed the Sedona branch. The Village of Oak Creek operation had already shut down.

Dedrick announced that the Boys and Girls Club was working to re-establish the "Taste" event, which had been a dining fundraiser along with another non-profit. Formerly called the "Sedona Taste," the event was the club's major fundraiser for years, but lost its following when the clubs were closed in Sedona.

Dedrick said it was better to close the doors for a period rather than build up even more expense. But the club could never get ahead.

The two organizations are not directly related, but the Boys and Girls clubs that serve Prescott and Prescott Valley also closed temporarily in February.

The Central Arizona Boys and Girls Club closed the clubhouses to straighten up its books. That organization has now re-opened.

Cottonwood Administrative Services Manager Rudy Rodriguez attempted to get financial records from the organization dating back to 2009 and 2010. Rodriguez also said the club had unpaid employment taxes and they were asked to bring those up to date in order to qualify for an annual city subsidy.

City officials tried several times to make contact with the organization, but calls were not returned.

-- Contact the reporter at jhutchinson@verdenews.com

Taylor Waste
Related Stories:
• Editorial: Tight-lipped Boys & Girls Club did not win any friends this year
• Boys & Girls Club national spokesman talks about "what's next' for Cottonwood assets


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Article comment by: William Seeley

It is interesting to note that both Connie & Jeff have responded to this article. Over the last couple of months neither has answered my attempts to contact them. The Club has an outstanding loan that is in default and they appear to have no interest in dealing with the matter.
Thank you.


Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2014
Article comment by: So, MS Dedrick, what EXACTLY did you do YOUSELF to fix the problem?

Your comments were pretty non-committal as to YOUR efforts to bring the club back into operating shape. You "were" the administrator, should you not say something to the effect of "the buck stops here?". It was a paid position ,I believe, and maybe you should have dedicated ALL of your efforts to the reorganization of the "failing" club. You seem to voice your "opinions" readily when challenged, shouldn't YOU be contacting the city officials PERSONALLY? And why would anyone want to pay for an audit of an organization's books, when the "administrator and crew" come out snarling and snapping and throwing the blame and accountability on everything but the kitchen sink? Seems like the doors got closed and the bait was set for the "bigger fish".............

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Is there really a Condo in Sedona that the Boys & Girls Club payed for?????

Please, someone tell me that ain't true!!!!!

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: @ Connie Dedrick

Your reply to me when I wrote as natural cycle says volumes as to why this club failed. The Verde Valley is not one big city, nor should it be. The comment about PV corporations supporting this out dated club also speaks volumes.
Children and teens don't need a hangout. They need a place to do homework. They need chores or a job or sports or music or whatever. They don't need their parents paying for an afterschool babysitter under the guise of some club. lp


Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Connie Dedrick

To John Public - you should get your facts straight before you go making allegations. The history of the organization has been one of volatility like a roller coaster if you have reviewed the history from beginning to end. Where have you been over the last 5 years in a hole? The recession/depression cost millions throughout the US their jobs, homes, and livelihoods.
To Follow the Money: It would have been nice if the organization had that much money. Did you know that it took $500K just to operate both clubs? If you would like to pay for the audits, I can get you in touch with the auditor who has previously done them. I have had many discussions with her. The cost will be 30K there is nothing to hide.
To Experience Needed: Many of the donations came from Sedona, but the fact of the matter is that it shouldn't matter because it was one organization. The Cottonwood Club always suffered because of it. The reason why Prescott Valley was revamped is because the Prescott area has corporations that are of interest for the larger donation pool. If you would like more information I would be more than happy to explain.
To Loyalties Divided: For your information the club was already closed and you are misinformed.
To Natural Cycle: There is a need but until the entire Verde Valley shares resources for one cause, one location and to make it great nothing will be in place for our children/teens.
To Kay Public: I made 35K a year down from 2006/2007 ED 100K/yr and 2009/11 ED 50K/yr.
Rise Above: Not all correct. Agree with you about the condo.
To Hey: City officials have my email and phone.

If anyone would like to know the facts please email cdedrick@apositiveplace.org


Posted: Friday, August 22, 2014
Article comment by: Hey

I think city officials are trying to get hold of you, Jeff, Connie and "other" board members..........Since the rest of us have to read "between the lines" and only "wonder" and speculate, why don't ALL of you stand in a public forum, present your books with ALL pertinent documentation and corroborating documents and set the "uneducated" population minds to rest...............And as to not "seeing" any misappropriation of funds I really don't think any organization has a column heading for that in their "books". Skilled "misappropriation" of funds generally means using funds or resources for other than intended or directed. Statements and indignation are just that, hollow and without a foundation. Transparency and factual documents and evidence, are the only way to justify and refute accusations and explanations..........

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: @ Kay Public

Good Question KP. But, the better question is why was she a board member/paid employee??? How does that work? And what does that say about the rest of the gang?

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: Stan Strait

No wonder they folded, seeing how that building is about to slide down the hill.

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: Rise Above

Unpaid taxes, lack of insurance, poor busniness plan. BGC owned and paid for a town home/condo in Sedona for years to benefit the kids???? Hard to throw good money and support at this one.

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: Kay Public

My My I enjoyed what others had to say.
When I first read about the club and Connie I think I thought her pay was high but I could not find that info.
Does anyone know what she was paid ?


Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: Just a Natural Cycle

Many clubs and organizations go through a natural cycle of birth, vibrant life, struggles and then gone. To the few who belong when demise occurs, it is upsetting and news. I won't accuse anyone of mismanagement of funds as I have no clue. What I see is just another social club that is no longer really needed.
Grange, many 4-H clubs, many Freemason and Eastern Star "clubs", have all gone away. They were needed and important at one time. I see the Boys & Girls Club the same way. It just isn't really needed. lp


Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Article comment by: Methinks the loyalties were divided

The time frame of the final demise of the LOCAL organization serving LOCAL kids is very interesting..............Ms Diedrick was heavily involved during that time promoting the agenda of Camp Soaring Eagle, (the "other" non-profit) . To not dedicate complete time and energy to a struggling hometown haven for OUR kids, funded by hometown donated dollars, and wax poetic about another group that to my knowledge has not served ONE local child, smells of opportunism and neglect. YES, the Club's mission is good and wonderful and local, but now it is gone, along with the donated dollars and time and effort expended by volunteers. I am sure the organization WILL be back, it needs to be here, BUT.............as with detritus in the ocean, it always floats to the top. CLEAN HOUSE, START ANEW, and listen to every carefully parsed "spiel" with a jaundiced ear......................

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Article comment by: Clell Banners

So what happens to the building now that the Boys and Girls Club closes!

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Article comment by: Experience Needed

Cottonwood has never been able to sustain their Club. Even during the good days, Sedona was the primary benefactor of the organizations budget, and accounted for close to 80% of the income through the Sedona Taste and the generous Sedona city grant which was close to $50K. This organization thrived during the most challenging days (2008-2009) - attendance and special events were at an all time high during that period. It wasn't the recession or lack of resources The Sedona Club didn't go under until staff from Cottonwood took over daily operations, actually. Daily operations is the foundation of a successful BGC. When Daily Club Programs aren't run well and families are not treated properly, bad things happen. And that is what happened here. Who wants to contribute to a Club that is inactive in the community and does not operate like a true Boys & Girls Club?? I'm not sure if there was misappropriation of funds - that is bold...but I am sure that most people involved with this organization were very unfamiliar with what a Boys & Girls Club truly is. It's not enough to care about the cause and to just Want to be involved. Times have changed and Cottonwood hasn't kept up...The non-profit world is too competitive and skilled. This Club Chose to Not Acquire skilled Staff. BGCCAZ (Prescott&PV) is now doing very well...What did they do to turn it around??? Hired staff with actual BGC experience and re-built from the ground up.

Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Article comment by: Follow the money

All you have to do is follow the money. It was clearly mismanaged. You don't go from having almost $500,000 one year to nothing the next year. Someone should seriously audit that place.


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