Thursday, 06 September 2012 by Keith Bahlmann
The Belton Christian Youth Center provides guidance and promotes the health, social, educational and character development of boys and girls from the age of 6 to 14.
In June 1982, the Youth Center opened its doors for the very first time. The idea of the need for a place for the youth of Belton to go after school began with Jerry Brentham.
In the mid to late 1970s his sons would come home from school very often with eight to 10 other young friends who did not have anyone waiting for them at home.
The thought of many children going home each afternoon to an empty house with no supervision alarmed him. Mr. Brentham shared his concerns with Roy Wood. Together they worked until the Belton Christian Youth Center became a reality. Since that time, the Center's staff, programs, vision and impact on community members have all consistently experienced growth.
BCYC offers a positive alternative for after-school, school and summer holiday activities. Programs are accessible to the entire community. The school year program is geared toward, but is not limited to lower income families who may not have the ability to afford a more conventional after-school facility. This program includes organized and free recreation. Homework assistance and computer access are included in academic enrichment activities. Topical discussions and spiritual characteristics are addressed daily during the summer. During the school year, children take part in a weekly devotional time being led by an activity staff member.
The Belton Christian Youth Center provides a game room, craft room, double gymnasium, two activity rooms, a computer lab, library, and a homework/ reading area. The gym is used for different types of games and sports. Being located in Confederate Park, access is available for playground and outside activities. Outside activities include soccer, baseball, kickball, and four- square. BCYC has continued to post record enrollment numbers, illustrating the strong parental support of the youth center program, administration and the mission. Because of the record growth, BCYC is currently involved in a Capital Campaign to finalize funding the physical facility and playground areas. Since 1997, the Belles of Belton have been a tremendous asset to the BCYC. In 1995 a building campaign began to move the BCYC to its present location. As part of that, Karen Reddell, a newcomer to our community, brought the concept of the Belle of Belton, after moving from Arlington. Modeled after a program there to support the Boys and Girls club of that area, the Belle of Belton program was conceived.