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New director keeps kids busy

Jim Grant/Tahoe TribuneBoys and Girls Club at Lake Tahoe Program Director Megan Tannaci shoots hoops with club members.
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Megan Tannaci, the new program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, wants the organization to have more opportunities for children. Only on the job for a few weeks, she is doing just that.

More programs, staff and structure have been added to the club since Tannaci took the position on Sept. 1.

Erick Ramirez, a 12-year-old who has been with the program for three years, said he notices the difference.



“Last year it was too slow,” he said. “The staff wasn’t ready for the kids.”

Tannaci wants to bring the children out of the South Tahoe Middle School gym into the outdoors of Lake Tahoe. Skiing, dog sled and snowmobile rides top the list for winter activities.




“The kids have to pick a program and test it out, see if they like it, see if it keeps their interest,” Tannaci said. “Each program we offer gives a child a different skill. We’re trying to fulfill their lives and fulfill their minds.”

Tannaci moved from Northern California where she was the program director for the Mount Shasta Parks and Recreation Department for five years. She received a bachelor of arts degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Utah in 2000.

She has hired four staff members and is instituting leadership clubs for children and teenagers to commit to community service projects like nursery home visits and car washes.

For teenagers, Tannaci envisions education in resume building and how to fill out a job application. She separates the teenagers from children, such as allowing teenagers to use the computer lab while the younger children play in the gym.

“Usually I try to get people with degrees and people who can offer different things,” Tannaci said of the people who she has hired.

James Bates is a new employee and has a passion for medieval culture.

“I think Megan is a breath of fresh air,” he said. “The kids are anxious to be here instead of wanting to go home.”

“It’s wonderful to have a program director,” said staffer Elise Haglund. “With her, we know what we’re doing every minute of the day and that’s good.”

Executive Director DeAnne Hooper searched for a new program director for months after Jeremy Brice, the former program director and coach at Whittell High School, pleaded no contest in July to having sex with a high school student.

Hooper said she was driven to hire Tannaci based on her degree, experience and down-to-earth attitude.

Danny Lipscombe, a South Tahoe Middle School student, was waiting for the go-ahead to use the computer lab on Tuesday. He said he likes the changes.

“I haven’t met (Megan) personally but I hear she’s really nice and I’m sure if I met her, I would like her,” Lipscombe said.

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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