By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
Since 1982, the Belton Christian Youth Center (BCYC) has been giving area youth direction through numerous programs and recreational activities throughout the year. In 1999 the BCYC moved into their current location.
They serve nearly 1,200 students annually with their various programs and they continue to grow. Over the past few years the BCYC has embarked on a mission to renovate and remodel their gymnasium.
“It’s been going in phases,” said Executive Director Melissa Parker.
Last year a new AC unit was provided and installed in the gym. However, “after 15 years of use and abuse,” what they really needed was a new gym floor, Parker said. Those prayers were answered last week when the Center found out they had been given a grant from the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. “We’re over the moon,” Parker said.
Fifteen years ago, Wilson Art donated and installed the flooring, and it has held up fantasticly considering how many children are always in the gym. With basketball, volleyball and select volleyball, in addition to various after school programs, around 800 kids use the gym daily, explained Michelle Rider, Development and Assistant to Executive Director.
“It is remarkable for the floor to have held up like it did,” Rider said.
Over time though, as with anything, the floor has begun to wear down. “The floor tends to get slick due to humidity and dirt,” Parker said. With the renovation to the flooring, it will be a major “safety improvement for the athletes.”
Last Friday, the 15-year-old flooring was torn out, and the new flooring is scheduled to be installed Dec. 29. “The kids are super excited,” Rider said. “We told them the new gym floor was going to be their Christmas present.”
BCYC will be closed Dec. 24 until Jan. 2, which gives the elves just enough time to tinker away and give the youth at the BCYC their Christmas gift.
The addition of the new gymnasium flooring will mark the final step in their gym remodel. Once it is finally completed, the Center is hoping to “expand even more programs for the community,” Rider said.
The Center depends on continued assistance from special grants, dedicated partners, as well as the surrounding community through volunteers and financial assistance. If you are able to help give direction to the youth of Belton by volunteering, offering financial support, or even providing a new program idea, please contact the BCYC Administrative Office at (254) 939-5759 or stop by to visit them at 505 E. Avenue C.