Club takes summer diggs

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007

FRANKLIN—An organization geared to children is meeting in a new place this summer, due to the generosity of the Franklin Sportsman’s Association.

Members of the Franklin Unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia, who meet at S.P. Morton Elementary School during the school year, didn’t know where they were going to meet for the summer up until a month before school ended.

Anthony King, who serves on the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin Unit Board and is a Sportsman’s Association member, thought something could be done about the situation.

“I brought the idea back to the group and the membership discussed it,” said King. “We voted overwhelmingly to donate the building for the summer program.”

The Sportsman’s Association facility is used for the organization’s regular meetings, as well as a polling place for Ward 4. It is also rented out for various events. The building is located at 1431 South Street.

“We thought we were going to be in the school this summer,” said Boys & Girls Unit Director Alyson Slavin, “but it is undergoing some construction and there were safety concerns.”

Slavin said that members of the Sportsman’s Association drop by often to check on the children and to help with anything they need. The members have been serving as mentors for the youth. King, an instructor at Paul D. Camp Community College for 33 years, is teaching the kids how to do electrical wiring this summer.

His wife, Edna, Tech Prep coordinator at Camp College, is also actively involved with the children.

King said about the boost the younger generation gives to the sportsmen, “It makes them feel good. This is the first time we’ve taken this under consideration.”

Member Roy Hunter, who is in charge of maintaining the Association building, said, “I’m enjoying it. I’ve been asked to give some of the boys some advice and I’ve made a good connection with them.”

Sportsman Charles Grant added, “I’m proud we were able to help the organization out.”

The youth will meet there Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Aug. 24.

“There’s going to be a big bash at the end of the program,” King said, “and we are going to build a stage, put in a PA system and wire the stage.”

The Franklin Sportsman’s Association promotes sports and helps give back to the community. It sponsors little league baseball each summer, providing uniforms and equipment for the youth.

The group was founded in 1970 by Franklin native Larry Rose, who is assistant football coach at Southampton High School and an NCAA basketball official.

“If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be a place for these kids to go,” Slavin said.