Keys for Kids – Recap 2015

K4K-LaCF-BGCSC Event 44jpg_19262548389_oThe singing carried out into the night, and the smiles were plentiful, as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County presented “Keys for Kids”, a unique event at La Conner Flats that featured Dueling Pianos, great food, and an opportunity to invest in the lives of more than 1,500 youth. The evening, purposefully designed as an intimate gathering, filled a tent with just over a hundred guests on the picturesque grounds, raising more than $30,000 to support the operations of Clubs in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley.

A kaleidoscope of musical genres, from rock to country, patriotic to pop, kept guests entertained as they bid to have their favorite songs played, or in some instances to stop the performing of another song, by the incredibly talented duo of Kirk Garrett and Rich Wyman who traveled from Salt Lake City for the night. As the night came to an end, participants expressed enthusiasm and excitement, “As one guest who never attended one of our events before was leaving, she stopped to tell me that it was the single best fundraiser she has ever attended,” said Ron McHenry, CEO and Executive Director for the organization. “This was exactly what we had hoped for, an ability to reach a new audience to increase awareness about our mission and outcomes, raise money for our Clubhouses as they continue to see record numbers of kids, and have a whole lot of fun in the process.”

During intermission, the crowd leapt to their feet in a standing ovation, but there was no music playing. Instead, it was James Tangaro and Matthew Gill from the Tesoro Corporation who caused the excitement. They were there to surprise the staff and Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club with a $50,000 check, and then announce that it was the first of a three-year commitment to the organization. The funds will create a Tesoro Learning Academy at each Clubhouse, allowing for the purchase of two dozen computers that will be used for STEM Education enrichment and support activities to ensure the Academic Success of Club members, additional training and professional development for staff, an increase in staffing to provide more one-on-one educational assistance, and an incentive-based field trip for teens next summer. More than 45 youth will travel to Universities, Colleges, and Trade Schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana to become inspired to take their post-secondary future into their own hands. The week long trip will also feature a stop in Yellowstone National Park, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Club members, many of whom have never left Western Washington or Skagit County.

“In our meeting at Tesoro, James and Matt never asked how Tesoro had been recognized for their previous investment of $40,000 in 2014,” says McHenry. “Instead, they focused on the results and wanted to know how kids lives had been impacted with the money. Their values and commitment to the community align with those of the Boys & Girls Club, and we appreciate their support, investment, and confidence in our ability to make a positive change in the lives of the youth we serve.”

With such an outstanding evening just having come to an end, plans are already underway for next year, and include adding a second night because of the feedback and desire of guests to return and bring more friends. To get involved on the planning committee, become a sponsor, or simply book your table in advance for either the family-friendly evening planned for the Friday night, or the more raucous adult version on Saturday, contact Ian Faley at the Boys & Girls Club at 360-419-3723. Only 16 tables are available each night, and some have already been reserved.

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