Friday, December 2, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on June 8th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 15 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 15

Two Mid Central Coast Boys and Girls Club locations see expansions

By Taylor O'Connor

School’s out and summer’s calling all the kids to go outside with friends and get a much needed break from classrooms and academics. For parents, it means it’s time to pick summer programs to ensure a fun-filled three months, and keep their children safe while they have to work. 

The Boys and Girls Club of the Mid Central Coast still has openings for children ages 6 to 18 in its summer programs, which include science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities, fine arts, and sports activities as well as a teen center, said Marketing Director Kelly White O’Neil. 

“Families need a place for kids [during the summer] because parents work and they want robust, high-quality programs. They aren’t looking for a babysitter or just a roof over a kid’s head; we offer dynamic services and we are more than happy to provide that,” White O’Neill said. 

On June 6, the Boys and Girls Club of the Mid Central Coast celebrated the ribbon cutting of its new outdoor amphitheater and play space at the Santa Maria Railroad clubhouse. A Home Depot representative presented a surprise donation during the event.

Opportunities will be expanding for the clubs as it unveils two new features: an outdoor amphitheater and play space at the Santa Maria Railroad Clubhouse, and a new clubhouse in Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County, she said. 

“We are in the most ideal financial position the organization has ever been in. We’re growth-oriented and have the structure behind us to move forward. Everything we do rings true to the community, and we gain more support and interest in what we are doing,” White O’Neill said. 

The Railroad Clubhouse has been serving kids in the same facility since the 1970s, and although it’s a great space, White O’Neill said, the outdoor area lacks luster. 

“It’s been very hardscape [with] a lot of parking lots and not a lot of green space,” she explained. “During the COVID period when we were serving kids in our facility, it was clear some more outdoor space, fresh air, and more flexibility to have places for kids to go was really important.” 

The amphitheater and outdoor area will provide additional space for drama, dance, and arts programs, as well as a hangout place. The whole south side of the clubhouse property—which used to be a dirt lot—is now grassed over to be more inviting for physical fitness activities, games, and sports, White O’Neill continued. 

“More and more kids are losing access to outdoor space. They live in high-density apartment housing where they don’t have their own yard or access to a public park. When they aren’t in school, they are likely to have less outdoor activities,” she said. 

The organization celebrated the green space’s opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 6, hosted by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Up north, in SLO County, the club’s introducing its new Tom Maas Clubhouse in Paso Robles that’s been under construction since 2019, White O’Neill said. The space has been customized to include a professional culinary kitchen to include a new cooking program. 

“There will be a lot of education on restaurants, cooking, and safe food handling that’s going to be a big push for that area,” she continued. “Because Paso is very much becoming a foodie hangout and touristy destination with a lot of high-end, farm-to-table style cooking, it’s a great way to get kids knowledgeable about that at an early age.” 

The Tom Maas grand opening will feature a ribbon cutting ceremony and mixer on June 15. To RSVP, visit The Santa Maria Railroad Clubhouse is located at 901 N. Railroad Avenue. To join a club, visit


• Lompoc’s COLD Coast Brewing Company is hosting a weekly family-friendly food truck Friday event in the parking lot behind the brewery, 112 South I St., through Aug. 19. There will be 10 to 12 food trucks serving a variety of foods. Visit for details. 

• The Santa Maria/Lompoc Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Collective Cultures Creating Change, Lompoc (C4 Lompoc), are holding Juneteenth celebration to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people and the end of slavery in the U.S. The free celebration is planned for Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ryon Park, 800 W. Ocean, Lompoc. Dr. Brooke Russell, an experimental particle physicist, will be the keynote speaker. The celebration will also feature music, poetry, dance, games for children and adults, and food vendors. For more info, visit

Taylor O’Connor wrote this week’s Spotlight. You can reach her at

Weekly Poll
What do you think about a farmworker resource center in Santa Barbara County?

It's a great way to create a network of collaboration and reach people in need.
It's been needed in the county for a long time and should have been made earlier.
We don't have the funding now, but we should come up with ideas in the meantime.
We don't need it. There are plenty of resources readily available.

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