Boys & Girls Club of Merced County to present conference, free dance Saturday, May 15

The Boys & Girls Club of Merced County said it’s presenting a Youth Life and Wellness Conference Saturday, May 15.

"This conference has been planned and organized by youth," said Jessica Romo, an AmeriCorps Member assigned to the club. "They've worked really hard to put together an enjoyable, informative and memorable day of activity. And they've done a great job gathering raffle prizes and identifying ways to make the day fun for all."

Co-sponsored by Catholic Healthcare West and Taco Bell, the free event will get under way at 9 a.m. at 615 West 15th St.

Workshops, giveaways, food and fun will take place over the next eight hours; then participants will receive tickets to a free dance from 6 to 9 p.m.Topics chosen by the youth organizers include dating and relationships; obesity prevention; healthy cooking; college and career planning; staying fit; and drugs and alcohol.

Pre-registration is underway at the Boys & Girls Club, and late registration can be completed Saturday morning. The dance is part of the event, and only registered participants will be admitted.

Seeking various approaches to serve the needs of Merced area youth, the club said it uses a number of resources, means and approaches. Participants on Saturday will be invited to join the club and become active in a variety of groups and projects underway now and others that are planned for the summer months.

The Boys & Girls Club of Merced County focuses on five program areas: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.

"We address physical, emotional, cultural and social needs of the youth who are engaged in our programs," said Tony Slaton, the club's executive director. "By engaging young people in activities with adults, peers and family members, we empower them to develop self-esteem and help them reach their full potential."

For information about the Youth Life and Wellness Conference or for general information on the Boys & Girls Club, call (209) 722-9922.