The future starts here
To assess the best plan for the future of its Ernest Ingold Clubhouse located in the Haight‐Ashbury neighborhood, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco established a Taskforce comprised of the organization’s President, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Institutional Giving, Senior Director of Operations, Citywide Director of Athletics and a veteran Clubhouse Director. The taskforce’s charge was to communicate the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco’s overarching goals and to solicit input on how best to achieve them.
First, we communicated our goals, what we called our “obligation and opportunity”. We declared our 4 firm commitments: to serve the youth of Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley; to focus on the long‐term (the next four decades); to have like‐size Club with a high school‐size gym, a competition-size swimming pool, a learning center, an arts room and a dedicated space for teens; and to have an average daily attendance of 200+ youth of varying ages between six and 18. Second, we communicated our ongoing struggle with being located in one community (Haight‐Ashbury) while primarily trying to reach youth in a second and third community (Western Addition and Hayes Valley).
The Taskforce facilitated a total of 14 meetings (over 65 people) –
- 3 parent groups, including Swim, Pee‐Wee Basketball & Rebels
- Youth focus groups
- Teen specific focus group
- An Alumni Focus Group
- Staff focus group
- 3 Executive Directors in Western Addition (AAACC, Ella Hill & Mo’ Magic)
- Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
- Maria Su, Director of DCYF
- Captain Ann Mannix, Northern Police Station
- Presentation to the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association
To drive the conversation we presented various questions: How can the Club best reach the youth of the Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley?; where are we needed most now?; where will the majority of kids live in the coming decades?; what are the pros and cons of staying at our current location in upper Haight‐Ashbury?; what do we gain if we are within walking distance of the majority of our targeted population?; and what are the pros and cons of being in or closer to the Western Addition?
Concurrently, the Taskforce was charged with fact finding on demographics of our current location as well as our target area. We found the following:
- The youth population in the Western Addition, ages 5-17, is about 6,500 with approximately 3,000 children ages 0-5. There is only approximately 1,800 youth in the Haight.
- There are an estimated thirteen public or subsidized housing facilities with a total of 3,500 units and 53% of these are family units in the target area.
- Eight schools are located in the target area: two elementary schools, one K‐8, a middle school, an alternative high school, a charter high school, a parochial high school and a K‐12 independent school. Another middle school is opening in fall 2011.
- Approximately 15 bus lines run through the target area and a few blocks south of the target area are stops for six Muni trains.
Below are some characteristics that the various focus groups asked be included in a new location:
- Near schools
- Security cameras
- Bigger Teen Center
- High‐quality staff
- Swimming Pool
- Shuttles from school
- Honor the history
- High school‐size gym
- Safe Walk
- Proximity to parks
- Roof garden
- Proximity to businesses and merchants
- Access to transportation
- Separate entrance for gym & pool
The following are responses from the focus groups when asked what programs/services they would like to see in a new Clubhouse:
- Leadership opportunities
- Teen programs
- Training in the trades
- Performing arts
- Non‐traditional activities
- College planning
- Homework Help
Based on the demographic data that we identified and our obligation to fulfill our mission by serving the kids that need us most, it is the Taskforce’s recommendation to actively pursue a new location in the Western Addition, provided that the location be as “neutral” as possible, be accessible by public transportation, and be of similar size as the current location.
The EI Taskforce is committed to keeping the community informed and involved as we move forward with exploring alternative sites. At least every quarter, we will send an email with the latest progress and every six months we will host a meeting at the Club to ensure that you are updated and that your voice is heard.
Thank you for your time and interest in the future of our historic Ernest Ingold Clubhouse. We are squarely focused on what will be best, over the coming four decades, for the kids who “need us most” in the Western Addition, Lower Haight and Hayes Valley. This effort will be time consuming, expensive and at times challenging, but we are committed.