Boys & Girls Club gets some big support from Brewfest

Kris Latimer was a member of the Lebanon Boys and Girls Club during a time when the timber industry was cut down.
“When I graduated high school in ’84, that was when the decline was in full swing and mills were laying off employees right and left,” she said. “My family had friends standing in free cheese lines.”
Since that time, she said, she’s watched Lebanon pick itself back up and begin to grow again. Part of what makes her story important is the fact she’s playing a role in the future of Lebanon as the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Santiam.
Latimer believes investing in

the younger generation is what is going to help the community be successful.
“We need to make sure the kids have a vision for the future, and the blight that’s been around them, the cycles of poverty since the eighties, that they don’t see that as a barrier to what they can do,” Latimer said. “That’s really what drives me every day.”
To invest in Lebanon’s children and, ultimately, in Lebanon itself, the club has to raise financial support from the community. Sometimes those funds come from unexpected

The Lebanon Brewfest, hosted by the Growler Café, raised $11,000 for the Boys and Girls Club during its second annual event Sept. 10.
Chris and Derrick Borgmann, owners of the Growler Café, said they wanted the event to be part of downtown revitalization, but they also wanted to include the young people of the community by supporting the club.
Last year, the half-day event drew about 500 participants, occupying one block downtown and raising almost $5,000 for the club.
This year the Brewfest occupied several blocks on Main Street for an all-day event that included three bands, a kid zone, food truck vendors, beer poured by more than 20 local breweries, participation by downtown businesses, and a truck show hosted by Canaga Point-S Tires. About 1,500 to 1,700 people attended.
The number of people who came and the amount of funds raised for the club exceeded their goals this year, Latimer said.
“To have that kind of exponential growth was terrific, surprising and a little overwhelming,” she added.
The income for the club goes into a fund for general operations, she said. More specifically, it goes to the after school program, which gives families the confidence that their child’s needs are being met while they’re finishing the work day.
A recent trend report by the Boys and Girls Club of America revealed that 90 percent of the money brought into the club goes directly to the young participants through all the programs and assistance the organization provides, Latimer said.
“The community should feel really good that when they come to (a fund-raising event), 90 cents on the dollar is going directly to serve a kid,” she said.
She expects the Brewfest will continue to be a successful fund-raising event for the club every year, but she said she’s also excited to see it take place downtown. One of her goals for next year’s event is to improve the integration of the downtown businesses into the festival.
“It’s not just about supporting the Boys and Girls Club,” she said. “It’s also about supporting the downtown, and that’s why we want to keep it downtown.”
City Manager Gary Marks noted that working with downtown businesses next year will need to be addressed because he had to field some complaints from downtown merchants who felt their customers had difficulty accessing their businesses during the event.
“I think that’s a legitimate request and is something that is easily accommodated,” he said. “I think it’s a fantastic event that does exactly what we want for downtown; it brings people downtown for the benefit of the businesses.”

By Sarah Brown

For Lebanon Local