ST. MARYS – The Boys & Girls Club of St. Marys, known for offering a variety of extracurricular activities to area students, continues to grow each year.

General manager Joe Jacob said the average number of students participating in club activities for this school year is higher than in previous years.

“The club has seen its average daily attendance increase every year since 2016,” he said. “We have an average of 70 children after school every day. “

The club is known for offering unique and educational activities, such as the “Recycling Masterpieces” program held in December, which taught students the importance of recycling.

“Masterpieces Recycling is a program in which students create sculptures, figurines, etc. from used recyclable materials such as soft drink bottles, ”said Jacob.

Students also participate regularly in the cooking club. During the holiday season, they learn to cook their favorite holiday dishes, he said.

“The kids learned how to make homemade stuffing, pumpkin pies and other holiday favorites,” he said.

In December, students participated in their usual clubs such as homework, drawing, story writing, ‘no tech’ clubs, crafts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). . Students will also participate in similar activities in January.

Local artists Pete Winklebauer and Jesse Gradl of Gallery 29 in St. Marys visit the club once a month, teaching young members another artistic medium for free, Jacob said.

This program is funded by a “Women Who Care” grant, said Jacob.

In November, the students painted Thanksgiving images related to turkeys, and in December, the artists gave them a Christmas-themed workshop.

“This partnership allows children to participate in these same free classes exclusively for club members,” said Jacob. “Students can obviously take home their ‘masterpieces’ and share them with their parents or guardians. “

Jacob added that he considers Winklebauer to be one of the best artists in the region.

“Giving these students the opportunity to learn from him at no cost is an incredible offer for our young members,” he said. “The club’s goal is to work closely with the community to provide young members with high quality programs to help them reach their full potential, and this program proves it.

The Boys & Girls Club wouldn’t be able to do this without the funding from Women Who Care and the time offered by the artists at Gallery 29, Jacob added.

“It really takes a village to raise children, and our village just happens to be amazing when it comes to supporting each other to achieve a common goal! “

The club also continues to offer activities for adults, such as the adult volleyball league and fitness center.