BONIFAY – Remembering days gone by is something many do when passing the recreation center in town. When parents dropped their children off for the day to partake in all kinds of sports leagues and just playing outside with friends.
Those days are long gone, but there is hope for some like them in the future as leaders in the community pursue opening a popular children's organization in Holmes County. With the support of local officials and the community, Holmes County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rebecca Prince is eyeing the vacant rec center as the venue for a Boys and Girls Club.
"The Boys and Girls Club has a track record I as a parent am looking for," said Prince. "They are an established organization with proven results."
Prince recently met with Mayor Eddie Sims and Councilman Travis Cook to discussing reopening the complex to local children. The meeting led to a July 31 meeting between members of the Emerald Coast Boys and Girls Club and local business leaders.
Emerald Coast Boys and Girls Club CEO Shervin Rassa said Bonifay is ideal for a new club.
"We want to be in Holmes County and expand our clubs," said Rassa. "This is an ideal situation complete with facilities to host the club.’
The club is looking to serve 50-100 kids per day with activities that are designed to help academically, physically and mentally. By using what is referred to as the ‘youth development strategy,’ which emphasizes usefulness, belonging, competency and influence, the club touts its program's success in lives of children.
Cook, who is also the recreation liaison for the city, said kids need something to do after school and when on breaks.
"Our kids need productive things to do between getting out of school and going to bed," said Cook. "Boys and Girls Club is proven to provide productive activities for kids to do."
A community council of 10 members is needed to start raising funds to make this dream a reality. As of press time, there were five members on board.
Rassa presented a sample budget of funds that will be needed to operate the first year, and will be needed in order to open the doors. Most of the roughly $93,000 will be used to pay staff, the rest will be operating costs.
If anyone is interested in donating or volunteering on the community council contact Rebecca Prince at the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce at 850-547-6155.