The Mason Valley Boys and Girls Club of Lyon County, Nevada, is over 20 years old and provides services to 1700 youth annually, all for a $10 membership fee. But it didn't have to be. If not for the dedicated passion of a few committed community members the MVB&G Club might never have been formed at all.
Those 1700 children annually, at seven different school sites, might not have had an after-school or summer program where they can do homework, eat a nutritious snack, under the supervision of caring adult leaders.
Back in 1999, a citizens committee in Lyon County reviewed data on the issues in their community and they saw that unsupervised youth were becoming a leading demographic. Without changes, young people were going to be at risk. Their future and the future of the county were in peril. The Mason Valley Boys and Girls Foundation board approached USDA Rural Development, and in 2000 used a Community Facility loan and State Community Development Block Grant Funds to purchase their first club site - a used car storefront in Yerington. Only a few years later, the club was so successful they needed a new building and USDA Rural Development helped with over $971,012 in combined CF loans and grants for building improvements, a commercial kitchen, teen center improvements, a transportation van, and a refrigerated truck. Two years ago the Club completely paid off all loans to the government, The Pennington Foundation has assisted with significant financial contributions to support ongoing activities.
Over the years, the MVB&GClub has added specific programs to support community services. USDA Rural Development has been there to help, as has the community. Giving back is the Boys and Girls Club way. For instance, the club took over running the local movie theater, built a thrift shop to increase revenues, and even installed a commercial kitchen to support increased meal demand--86,000 meals are served annually through the summer meals at the MVB&G Club.
Night in the Country, a country music festival developed by the club's executive director, is now a major contributor to the operations of the MVB&G Club.
Over the years, the number of youth served has quadrupled and the additional sites, two in Yerington, three in Dayton, and one in Hawthorne have blossomed. The Teen Center is home to a Keystone Center for teenagers to volunteer for community service and that spirit lives on through their activities to support a food pantry and other service activities.
The model of community spirit is alive in Lyon County, and USDA is glad to be part of that effort.