At a town hall meeting last October, locals who attended expressed nothing but support for a Ripon Boys & Girls Club.

   That enthusiasm may help open a club in town less than a year later.

   Believing they are backed by strong community support, organizers are pushing an “aggressive deadline” of September to begin programming.

   An update and a timeline for a proposed Ripon club were laid out last week Tuesday to the Ripon Area School Board’s curriculum and instruction committee by Ashley O’Kon, director of the district’s BRAVE program, and Jason Presto, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area in Berlin.

   “[T]his has been a long time in the making ... and has just built up momentum over the last year or so,” O’Kon said to the committee, noting that “a large number of people” from within the community and around the area have been involved in the planning process. “And it will continue to be a large number of people involved in the conversation to meet an aggressive deadline of September 2018.”

   O’Kon explained that she and Presto want to implement the first stages of club programming at the beginning of the school year to enable families to review their options for childcare coverage.

   “So, in theory, if you look at it in phases, I think what we’re proposing, in an ideal world, would be a phase 1 that would kick off in September of ’18 which would provide care, Monday through Friday, at both elementary schools until 6 [p.m.],” Presto said. “No meal service yet [however].”

Read the full story, including details about how funding still remains a potential hurdle, in the Feb. 22, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.