Vail support enables boys, girls club to have ‘epic’ impact on members (Opinion)

Jude Wood
Guest column

It is hard to believe that another summer vacation is approaching and another school year has come to a close. However, at the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, the change from school year to summer just means longer hours and even more time for fun and education.

Jude Wood

The club’s programs run throughout the year as we are dedicated to ensuring that our local children have a safe place to be when school is out but no-one is home. Despite the difficulties of finding staff this past year, the club has still served over 300 children across its two locations and enabled over 250 local parents to work.

For many parents this is a vital lifeline, enabling them to keep working past the end of the school day, and ensuring that in these times of rising costs, they are still able to provide for their families and stay in Tahoe.

Being a tourist town, many of our permanent residents moved here from other locations, and don’t have extended family living locally to help with childcare. This makes the club even more important for those families, providing the support that traditionally would have been given by family members.

And we love being part of that extended family for our members. One of our current staff started at the club when he was just 5 years old, and often we have a progression of siblings come through the club programs, ensuring that we stay connected with the family for years. Serving the same children each day really helps us to get to know them and their parents, and we love seeing them grow into caring and productive young men and women.

Another organization that understands the long Tahoe work hours is Vail Resorts, and it is one of the many reasons that they have become a major contributor to the Boys and Girls Club. Funding from Vail’s Epic Promise Grant has contributed directly towards our daily operations, including providing supplies for our activities and helping us meet our expenses. The club’s membership rates are as little as $1/hour and many of our families receive financial assistance to make that cost even lower. Assistance from Vail Epic Promise, Heavenly and Kirkwood, ensures that we can keep those membership fees as low as possible, while still providing all the supplies, activities and fun that our members deserve.

And it isn’t just in Tahoe where Vail’s contribution is having an ‘epic’ impact. In 2021, EpicPromise donated $19.4 million to nearly 150 nonprofits. The principal focus areas for the Epic Promise grants are youth, environmental sustainability, critical need and community vibrancy. And the club is proud to hit on all those criteria, including environmental sustainability, which we deliver through our educational programs and in partnerships with amazing Tahoe nonprofits such as the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.

In addition to a much needed cash donation, Vail also supports the club through in-kind donations for use in raffles and our annual silent auction, and in lift tickets to the Heavenly Discovery Adventure activities. Prior to the pandemic, an outing to the Discovery park was a highlight of the summer for many kids and for some, their first and only time on the Heavenly Gondola. Providing our members with opportunities and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have access to is one of the highlights for staff at the club and thanks to Vail Epic Promise, and many other amazing organizations who support the club, we look forward to providing even more fun this summer and in the future.

More information can be found at

Jude Wood is the executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe

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