". . . The club is the place where you go to meet new friends. We play games, go on trips . . . and that's really fun. The staff here at the club are great at times, they teach us to do the right things."
Kami Logan makes no secrets about it. She enjoys her time at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club.
Kami, 14, along with several other children at the club recently wrote essays on "What My Club Means To Me." Organizers held the contest to raise club interest and participation, and to attract more members into the club.
"The essay contest was held to find out how the kids feel about the club," said Lisa Parsons, a staff member at the club.
"We have about 276 members and we're trying to reach a goal of 300 by the end of May," she said.
The local essay writing contest also was held in conjuction with National Boys and Girls Club Week, which began Monday.
"This is a great place for kids to come and meet friends. We're trying to get the message out to parents and kids who don't know a lot about the Boys and Girls Club," Parsons said.
ABOUT 70 children from age 6 to 18 take part in education classes, field trips, games, personal development talks and other activities each day at the local Boys and Girls Club.
To be a member, children must have a medical form signed by a parent, and pay a $5 annual membership fee. However, the membership fee can be waved for anyone who can't pay.
"A lot of these kids are from low-income areas," Parsons said. "We provide opportunities for a lot of them that they may not have if they didn't have the club."
Winners of the first-ever "What My Club Means To Me" essay contest were Scresser Turner, 8; Memarie Wilson, 10; Tara Edwards, 12; and Kami Logan.
Memarie, Tara and Kami said they had been participating in activities at the local club about five years.
"MOST OF THE kids are from New York (Elementary) and Central (Junior High) schools," Tara said.
"A lot of kids like to come here and meet friends, especially if their parents are at work and there's nothing to do at home," she said.
The Lawrence Boys and Girls Club was opened in 1974 as part of the Boys Club of America.
In 1988 the organization allowed girls to join and the name was changed to the Boys and Girls Club.
The Lawrence club has five staff members and 13 volunteers to help coordinate activites and give children one-on-one attention.
Club hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, when school is in session.
Summer hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Anyone interested in particiapting in club activities may call 841-5672.