eetering on the edge of insolvency, the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley would have slipped into the great abyss where so many youth programs go for lack of care and funding if not for the massive effort of the local community.
Many people in the Gila Valley had already begun speaking of the program in hushed tones and in the past tense. Granted, the program was less than two months away from complete extinction, and some parents had performed last rites and were looking around for a different solution for their children. That was when a few people and local businesses decided to breathe their own will to live into the program.
Those few talked to their friends and neighbors, and soon hundreds of people embraced the news that the youth program was going to make it after all, and they were going to be a part of its revival.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, almost 200 people showed up at Discovery Park early in the morning — not in black to mourn the death of the Boys & Girls Club — in the greens and reds of the celebrated chiles for which the walkathon was named.
It looked like a rather spicy pilgrimage of hope!
The combined efforts of businesses and individuals resulted in more than $18,000 raised, more than any other year in the history of the event. There were also more teams and walkers than in any other year.
Now that Graham County has agreed to be the fiscal agent for the club until it attains nonprofit status, the club is gearing up with new goals and programs to serve the youth of this county.
Excitement is once again evident in the meetings and conversations regarding the club, and we all know this wouldn't be so if it wasn't for this amazing community.