Letter to the Editor RE: Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino

It is understandable that many people are concerned about the status of the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino (BGCSB), since losing its charter under the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA). However, my opinion as a former board member feels that this charter that SB held for more than 50 years was lost due to non-compliance issues. 

Per BGCA, to suffer the loss of a charter actually takes a long time of non-compliance. This would include, in the case of BGCSB, the lack of submittal of basic requirements such as audited financials, not submitting program reports in a timely manner, and numerous complaints received for other issues way beyond the stated issue of merely the background checks not meeting BGCA requirements.   BGCA had attempted to work with the BGCSB for more than a year to attempt to correct all the issues, assistance was refused until after the window of appeal.

The charter was rescinded in the month of February, however, the community and agencies were not informed until July. As an active leader in this community I would have appreciated those the supporting entities being informed in a timely manner so that we could have supported the BGCSB in meeting compliance issues and maintaining the existing charter. 

Once the information regarding the charter was publicly made known, a group of concerned citizens and former BGCSB board members was formed; we contacted the national office to find out what exactly had occurred and if the loss of the charter could be appealed. The group was informed that the revocation was already in effect, after a lengthy attempt to work at the compliance issues.

The Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino has withstood previous challenges, including insufficient funding and management issues, but never have the issues impacted the charter, and therefore our ability to bounce back. The concerned citizens are currently seeking options to maintain services under the umbrella of the Boys & Girls Club.  This may require moving in a different course than what was presented at the recent council meeting.

The ultimate concern of the concerned citizens, former board members, founders and agencies is that there is a facility on the westside of SB where our youth can still go to a safe environment, where they can learn, play, engage and receive other services that will make them good quality adults. 

D. Armstead

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