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Boys and Girls Club welcomes new staffers

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | March 31, 2021 7:20 AM

The Boys and Girls Club of Glacier Country recently welcomed Melissa Dunning as its director of development and Amanda Wilson as its marketing coordinator.

Dunning has a background in education and nonprofits, having taught in Georgia, Nairobi, Kenya and Denver, Colorado.

She moved to the valley in 2018 as a partner at the Swift Creek Cafe in Whitefish. She has since transitioned out of the restaurant business.

She has a degree in secondary English Education from Emmanuel College in Georgia.

Wilson came out West about a decade ago to live in the same town as her uncle in Cody, Wyoming. She was the director of marketing for a physical therapy clinic there before moving to the Flathead in July. She enjoys a host of outdoor sports, including fly fishing, backcountry skiing and both road and mountain biking. Both women said they want to raise awareness about the club and its potential to serve not just Columbia Falls, but the entire valley.

“I want the community to understand the potential of the Boys and Girls Club,” Dunning said.

Her main role with club will be fundraising and development. The club is still on track to expand into the Evergreen School District to serve youth there this fall.

The club is also not just an after school program, Wilson and Dunning note.

In the summer and when public school is out on vacations — like it was last during spring break — it’s open full time.

Youths engage in a lot of fun and educational stuff.

On this day, for example, both Wilson and Dunning were helping kids make cookies, which kids were decorating and then donating in person to area businesses.

They wear a lot of hats and enjoy working with kids. Dunning has a 3-year-old boy of her own.

The club has a fun new venture coming in June called Lemonade Day, where they’ll help kids with the tools to set up their own lemonade stand. It’s not just about selling drinks to passerbys, it’s about learning to start a small business.

The club in Columbia Falls serves about 60 youths total. It has eventual plans for expanding to a larger facility in the next few years.

It is currently housed in a former church on Fourth Avenue West. Prior to the pandemic, it also used part of the old junior high for its programs.