Portage club undergoes facelift
By Janna Odenthal Post-Tribune correspondent August 2, 2012 4:28PM
Kimberly Wadkins, 15, of Portage, Ind., Nick Arnold, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, and Rick Calinski, NIPSCO public affairs manager, at the Forrest "Dusty" Rhode Boys & Girls Club. | Photo provided
For more information on
the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, call 762-4613 or visit www.bgcpoco.org.
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:10AM
The Forrest “Dusty” Rhode Boys & Girls Club in Portage received a facelift recently. A $32,000 gym floor renovation was funded by the Northern Indiana Public Service Co.
Numerous volunteers provided hours of labor and additional donations to help defray other costs.
Volunteers from the local Home Depot removed the old flooring. After the replacement flooring was installed, volunteers from NIPSCO painted the gym walls and additional rooms throughout the club in bright blue and white to match the new floor.
Rick Calinski, NIPSCO’s public affairs manager, said he wanted to do something unique to help support the organization. He said it was a gratifying adventure to complete.
“We always look to support the Boys & Girls Club,” Calinski said. “So many kids spend their after-school hours and summers here. They spend a ton of time here; it’s a big part of their life. They have an opportunity to learn and grow. This is a great place for them to be and be a part of the community.”
The club’s Youth of the Year, Kimberly Wadkins, 15, of Portage, cut the ribbon in the opening ceremony. She’s been attending the club for more than five years and calls it her second home.
“I’m glad I got to cut the ribbon. It was a great honor,” said Wadkins. “The teens are in the gym constantly to play basketball. I play volleyball. I love the new floor; it was very needed. It’s a good improvement to our club. We appreciate it.”
To initiate the new floor, individuals from NIPSCO, volunteers, club staff members and youths played Knockout, a basketball game of elimination.
Several hundred club members and guests watched as individuals tried to make a basket before the next player. Steven Lush, 13, of Portage, won first place. Portage Mayor James Snyder won third place.
Afterward, the crowd snacked on pizza, chocolate cake, snow cones and cotton candy. Later, they played carnival games.
Chuck Leer, president of
the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, said that the upgraded building will serve more than 900 youths at the Portage facility.
“It’s all paid for; it’s all done. With their help, it was no cost to us,” Leer said. “The kids have a great new gym floor and spruced up building with the new blue paint. It’s going to serve our membership for years and years. It’s really exciting. We’re thrilled.”