Guest Writer

The Youth Center: Past, Present, and Future

As many of you know the Isolda McDonald Youth Center has been a fixture at Bay Shore Church for the last fifty years. This property, like the main campus is owned by the church…free and clear. Located on the corner of Nieto Avenue and The Toledo, it has been serving the church and the community in various capacities for education, fun, and fellowship. What follows are a few facts to consider as we seek a new path forward.

History – Built in the mid-1950s to meet the space needs of a growing youth population. Used for Sunday School classes, youth groups, dances, games, crafts, basketball, Vacation Bible School, etc. Improvements made in the 1980s with money from the Isolda McDonald bequest included new floor, paint, and updates to kitchen and restrooms.

Current Use – Bay Shore Youth Ministries (monthly Kid’s Night Out, Vacation Bible School, occasional youth gatherings.) Red Cross Blood Drive (twice a year, all day). Boy Scout Troop 105 (twice a month, plus additional usage as needed, avg. 5 times a year). Girl Scout Troop 793 (weekly). Men’s Basketball Group (three times a week). Yoga Classes (3 times a week). Art Class (twice a week, plus additional usage as needed). Shake for The Cure (once a year, all day). Mayor’s Election Polling (twice a year, all day, two days). Self-defense class (twice a year). Boot Camp (two weeks a year). C.A.T. events (Father/Daughter Dance, Mom Prom, Operation Easter Basket, all annually). First French Tutoring (Mommy & Me Classes 6 week session, with request for additional usage moving forward). Children’s Theatre of Long Beach (auditions and rehearsals 15 – 20 times a year for 4-5 hours, with request for additional usage moving forward). Occasional rainy day site for sports teams, youth basketball, birthday parties, STEM curriculum, talent show rehearsals, etc. There is also considerable storage space that is in current use for the church and regular users (loft, closets, and cabinets). Additionally used as a back up for events occurring in the main building when groups may have to be displaced due to church events.

Stats – Lot approximately 5,000 sq.ft. zoned R-2. Income generated in 2018 was over $8900. Annual operating costs are approximately $1550 (plus property insurance).

Challenges – Urgent repairs to and replacement of dry- rot damaged wall studs, ceiling joists, roof scuppers, etc. are estimated to be between $60,000 and $100,000, based on bids solicited by Buildings and Grounds Commission from three local contractors.

Future – The Board of Stewards is seeking input from the congregation about the future of this historic building. What is our vision for its future? How should we proceed?

Next up – Interested persons are invited to attend an info/listening session conducted by representatives of your Board of Stewards on Sunday, June 23 after worship service in the Youth Center. Please come to listen and provide your input about this important issue.

Your Moderator,
John Burt