By MIKE MYERS The Belton Journal The Belton Christian Youth Center (BCYC) celebrated its 40th anniversary on Monday. Jerry Brentham, co-founder of BCYC, was honored for his vision to provide a place where kids could go for Christian values through education and recreation to enhance the potential of all youth. In remembrance of 9/11, Tom Revilla, BCYC Executive Director, sang “Proud To Be An American”, by Lee Greenwood. More than 30 older kids lined the room, holding an American flag as a video of the attack on New York was played on a screen. In 1975, Jerry Brentham and Roy Wood had their sights on opening a youth center. After being convinced that youths were finding themselves getting into trouble due to a lack of direction, and roaming the streets with time on their hands, and nothing to do, the two men decided to open a youth center. Brentham was the owner of an international exercise equipment company when he met Roy Wood, a retired veteran working at the same church they attended. Brentham and Wood became close friends, and in June 1982, they opened the BCYC youth center in a Belton elementary school gymnasium. Response by the community exceeded the founder’s expectations. By the end of the first year, parents were requesting more activities, and the facility expanded to be year-round. In 1999, BCYC moved to its current location and the facility has been thriving ever since. Daniel Bucher – President at BCYC, said this is like a full circle for him. “I was a kid in the program when the BCYC was at the Harris Community Center. Working here after college, serving here now, has been a lot of fun and a pleasure,” Bucher said. Randy Pittenger, President and CEO of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce said, “It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a city by how it values and treats its children. And in Belton we value children. The vision of honoring and caring for our children 40 years ago, has come to fruition for the hundreds, and hundreds and thousands of children through the BCYC.” Pittinger presented a certificate to BCYC for 40 years of service in the Belton community and surrounding communities. BCYC continues to provide the safe and nourishing after school care while parents are working. Novella Corliss has enrolled her daughter Grace for five years in the afterschool program. “We love BCYC. They keep the children busy with activities. The Christian program was important in our decision to come here.” Adrik Rowan and Matthew Herff have been in the BCYC program for six years. Herff enjoys the friendships he makes in the program. “I can come here and get help with my school work. I get to relax my mind after being in school all day,” Herff said. Rowan likes the program because his parents work hard. “They don’t have to worry about me when I am here,” Rowan said. Texas State House Rep. Hugh Shine shared a resolution saying that BCYC is a facility that teaches Christian principals, values, and virtues. The support for the community, for parents, and supporting the leaders of the community, makes this a better place to live. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding in 1982, Jerry Brentham and Roy Wood, joined together to establish a youth center with a goal of creating a healthy, recreational outlet, for local students, Shine said. The center was first housed in the gymnasium of a former Belton ISD Elementary School, and after receiving an enthusiastic response the first summer, the founders opted to continue its program throughout the rest of the year. Today the Belton Christian Youth Center offers after school activities, to Belton ISD elementary and all-day summer programs from kindergarten to fifth grade. Athletic programs include volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. Recreational and educational field trips are offered throughout the summer. “This faith-based organization is sustained with funding from numerous sponsors, donations, and grants, that allow it to continue to pursue its needs with the accordance of values and principals. In the past 40 years, the BCYC has made a difference in the lives in countless young Texans, and Beltonians,” Shine said. BELTON JOURNAL/MIKE MYERS BCYC founder Jerry Brentham and Marian Wood (widow of BCYC founder Roy Wood), receive a proclamation from Texas House Representative Hugh Shine, during a celebration of the center’s 40th anniversary on Monday.