The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Jim Pearson is Ready to Launch 'The Club'

New program director is adding staff and making plans for Sept. 4 opening


August 9, 2018

Michele Smith

Program Director Jim Pearson and his two sons, Connor, 6, (foreground) and Layne, 8, were at the The Club's open house and membership drive in Dayton last week. Pearson said around 250-300 people attended the open house, and Dayton Kiwanis served about 255 hamburgers. Twelve students were signed up as members and 50 applications were handed out, he said.

DAYTON-Jim Pearson, Program Director at The Club, Dayton's new after school activity center, has been busy helping the team get the program up and running for a Sept. 4 opening.

Pearson said building construction at The Club has entered its final phase. "Last week a lot of elements have come together," he said.

Pearson said the goals for the program are to help students take pride in ownership, develop healthy self- esteem, and learn how to get along well with others.

While students will receive help with homework, Pearson said the emphasis will be on child-centered, project-based learning, he said.

"We don't want this to be just another four hours of school," he said.

Because of his experience with Dan Butler, The Club's co-founder, at an alternative school in Dayton over 20 years ago, Pearson said he is clear-eyed about much of what will be required of him in his role as The Club's Program Director.

He said he saw the value of working with kids in a nurturing and respectful way while at the alternative school.

Nylah Holt and Kolbie Rodriguez have recently been hired at The Club. Holt has a degree in International Relations from the University of Idaho. She has recently returned from Morocco, where she taught English as a Second Language at the American Language Center.

Pearson said Holt's background fell in precisely with what is needed at The Club as program leader.

While the Membership Coordinator position has been filled by Rodriguez, there are two positions remaining to be filled. "We want the best people in place," he said.

The Club also needs volunteers, and Pearson said he was happy about the numbers of people at the open house who asked how they can help.

Pearson wants kids to have positive experiences at The Club, and for word to get out to the greater community.

"The very first day, and first week, we will be getting to know these kids," he said. "We want to be hot out of the gates to engage the kids, right away."

Since the program is designed to be child-centered, students will be asked what activities they would like at The Club.

"The last thing we want to do is invest money just to have things sit idle," he said. "We want everybody to feel welcome. This is for everybody. It's a community thing."

Pearson said he has been talking with founders Dan and Ginny Butler about the program since October 2017.

Look for Pearson to be representing The Club at the Dayton School District K-12 registration on August 15 from 11 a.m. until 6 p. m. in the Multipurpose Room.


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