Murray Boys & Girls Club recognizes City for 50th anniversary
Murray City Council Members Blair Camp, Diane Turner, Brett Hales, Council Administrator Janet Lopez and Deputy Mayor Janet Towers pose with kids from the Boys & Girls Club after receiving recognition during National Boys & Girls Club week. (Bob Dunn, Boys & Girls Club).
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By Mandy Ditto | email@example.com
National Boys & Girls Club week was celebrated from March 27 to April 1 and the local Boys & Girls club specifically honored the mayor’s office and Murray City Council during the celebrations.
“Every individual club could choose, and for the 50th anniversary it was very easy to choose: we chose Murray City because of their support when we started 50 years ago, it was started by Murray City,” said Bob Dunn, vice president for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake. “We had a little celebration and we had some treats and everyone invited community members out.”
The club recognized many Murray City entities as being supportive of the club throughout the years.
Janet Towers from the mayor’s office and the City Council Administrator Janet Lopez, as well as three council members attended: Brett Hales, Blair Camp and Diane Turner, Dunn said. Some community member donors for the Club also attended to meet some of the kids and show support, he said.
“The kids were able to give a nice plaque to the council members and the mayor’s office that were there, and the fun part was the council went in and mingled with the kids and talked to the kids,” Dunn said.
Councilwoman Diane Turner’s favorite part of the recognition event was meeting the kids and learning more about the after-school programming.
“I loved seeing the kids…getting to see the artwork,” Turner said. “I think that the administration is doing a great job and I think it’s a really valuable resource for us…we really do appreciate having them in our community.”
Councilman Blair Camp felt the same way about meeting the kids, high-fiving them and posing for pictures.
“It was really nice of Bob to recognize the city and our partnership,” Camp said. “I’d encourage others to go over and take a tour. Bob is always very welcoming to anyone taking a tour and always happy to show what they’re doing there. He’s pretty humble, but what he is doing is nothing short of miraculous.”
The Boys & Girls Club has grown since they were first on State Street in the old city hall building, Camp said. The city is looking forward to a continued partnership to make a difference for youth in the community.
Murray’s Boys & Girls Club was the first in the state 50 years ago, and now gets around 250 kids per day during the school year, and 300 to 350 during the summer, Dunn said.
During the National Boys & Girls Club week, the local kids in the club took bags of treats to the Murray Police Department and Fire Department to thank them, did park clean-up and went to senior centers to sing and visit.
“The kids who completed some of their projects were able to decorate some of the staff with whipped cream pies and with ice cream. So we made ice cream sundaes out of some of the staff and that was fun,” Dunn said. “The kids just loved that.”
This year the club has also been honoring the top 50 people in their organization over the last 50 years by putting something on their Facebook page to recognize those who’ve made a difference, Dunn said. The first one was Mayor Lynn Pett, who helped to start the club in his 20s and served as Murray City’s mayor from 1990 to 1998.
“Just an amazing community man, I love that he’s still around and has celebrated with us,” Dunn said. “He comes to all of our events and he started this, so he has a great legacy.”
They have also honored some former students from the club, one student, Perry Bankhead, went on to be on the police force in West Valley, before working in the Secret Service and guarding several presidents. He was on stage with world leaders when Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s president.
“Here’s a kid from Murray, Utah, head of the Boys & Girls Club, and now he’s on the stage with world leaders and there for the swearing in for Mandela,” Dunn said. He has since moved back to Utah, and has been a board member for the club over the years.
“Even though I’ve been doing it forever, I love it. Every day going down and talking to the kids, it’s the most incredible thing, these kids who are so resilient and overcoming obstacles, and the things they achieve are incredible,” Dunn said. “We have a young lady this last year who was able to meet President Obama and has received some scholarship funds.”