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Rising membership in Buellton unit leads to United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County opening unit in Solvang

Rising membership in Buellton unit leads to United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County opening unit in Solvang

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A skyrocketing enrollment at its 2-year-old Santa Ynez Valley location has prompted the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County to open a new site in Solvang.

In 2017, the organization opened a unit at Oak Valley Elementary School in Buellton with a goal of serving 20 students, a United Boys & Girls Clubs spokeswoman said.

That club now has more than 11 times the initially targeted number of members, leading to the second club opening this school year on the lower campus of Solvang Elementary School.

Although only open for about three weeks, the Solvang unit already has 48 members enrolled.

“I am looking forward to continuing the outreach to the kids in the Santa Ynez Valley,” said Chelsea Lincoln, the shared assistant club director for the Buellton and Solvang units.

“Solvang School District provides such great opportunities for the kids, and I am excited to be a part of it and a part of the growth for the individuals that attend,” Lincoln continued.

“I am stoked to continue to help the kids pursue their passions in art, STEM, educational and academic success, dual language learning, sports, and more.”

Members of the new club also have expressed enthusiasm.

“The Boys and Girls Club is awesome, and they always help with homework and projects and give us time to play and do fun activities,” said Riley, a Solvang Elementary School second grader.

The reception has impressed the United Boys & Girls Clubs management, as well.

“As a 31-year club professional and as a resident of the Santa Ynez Valley, I could not be happier with the growth and support we have received,” said Michael Baker, chief executive officer. “Solvang is a special place, and [the school] Superintendent Steve Seaford has been a gem to work with.”

The Solvang club at 565 Atterdag Road is open from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and opens at 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays for early release.

In addition to Buellton and Solvang, the nonprofit United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County serves children from kindergarten through 12th grade in Lompoc, Goleta, Westside Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and manages the 93-acre Camp Whittier near Cachuma Lake.

The organization’s emphasis is on helping youth achieve academic success, develop good character and citizenship and adhere to healthy lifestyles.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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