A long-time dream in Coupeville is finally about to come true

A community’s dream that’s been a decade in the making is about to come true.

A community’s dream that’s been a decade in the making is about to come true on South Main Street in Coupeville, as construction nears completion on the town’s new Boys and Girls Club. And it truly has been a community’s dream, with funds raised from dozens of individuals and organizations and the passionate involvement of many residents.

That was made even more apparent last Tuesday as a dozen members of the Coupeville Garden Club proudly presented a check to the club staff for $2,500 to help pay for much-needed landscaping.

“This is the largest grant we’ve ever made,” said Garden Club President Brenda Ferris. “We had funds available from our plant sales during the pandemic, and landscaping at the new Boys and Girls Club just seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to help.”

The new club could not have become a reality without help from organizations like the Garden Club and widespread support by individuals in the relatively small Coupeville community. In 2015, Unity Center for Positive Living, a local spiritual organization, donated 3.7 acres it owned on South Main Street overlooking Ebey’s Prairie as a site for a new Boys and Girls Club. That came just two years after a group of local parents and others launched a fundraising campaign to build a much larger club for local kids.

Since the club first opened in 2005, it has leased space in a former fire station on Main Street that it shares with Coupeville’s Gifts from the Heart Food Bank. Fewer than 50 kids can squeeze into that space on any given day — only a fraction of the several hundred who are on its membership rolls. In the summer, more can play outside in an adjacent area with a portable fence around it. The new club is expected to be able to host up to 150 kids at a time.

There is no more passionate supporter of the new club than Coupeville resident Carmen McFadyen. “When my kids were growing up here, I realized there was no place for them to go after school besides sports. I grew up in a small town, too, but we had ‘teen town’ every Friday and Saturday, with a jukebox and pool tables and other fun things to do,” she said. McFadyen has been drumming up support and raising money for the new Coupeville club for more than 15 years.

Coupeville Boys and Girls Club falls under the nonprofit umbrella of the Snohomish County Boys and Girls Clubs, as does the Oak Harbor club and two dozen others. The Snohomish organization has collected local funds from individuals and groups to pay for the construction. The Coupeville club also received a $1 million grant from the state budget.

Originally, the new club was supposed to cost $1.8 million. But then came the pandemic, supply chain shortages and inflation that have increased the cost to about $3 million. “We fortunately have raised enough funds from pledges and donations and grants to pay this much higher cost,” said Ken Salem, area director for the Snohomish Clubs whose responsibilities include the Coupeville club. That cost includes tables, chairs, desks, computers and a myriad of other equipment. The new, 5,200-square-foot club will have a tech room, a crafts room, a room just for teens and a large open are with pool tables and ping pong tables.

Construction was supposed to start in 2021 but the pandemic and supply chain shortages delayed it until mid-summer of 2022. That included a long delay in receiving the huge steel beams that had to be set in place before any other construction could start. The new club is now scheduled to open in early summer this year — just as Coupeville schools get out.

McFadyen is still exhorting people in the Coupeville area to donate more money to add more technology and other things to the new club. She encouraged Michele Kempees, a local artist, to create and paint a giant “giving tree” that covers a large portion of a big wall in the main open room.

Everyone who gives “at least $50” will have their name on a leaf on the giving tree. To which McFadyen stresses, “That’s at least $50.” Donations may be mailed to the Coupeville Boys and Girls Club, P.O. Box 985, Coupeville, WA 98239, or made online at bgcsc.org/coupeville-club-sponsorship.

The community’s dreams aren’t ending when the club building opens. There is room on the 3.7-acre site for a gymnasium and a baseball field. And those dreams are already taking shape.

Harry Anderson is a retired journalist who worked for the Los Angeles Times and now lives on Central Whidbey.

Members of the Coupeville Garden Club present a donation to the Boys and Girls Club.

Members of the Coupeville Garden Club present a donation to the Boys and Girls Club.


Members of the Coupeville Garden Club present a donation to the Boys and Girls Club.