By Rich Place

Officials from Springville Youth Incorporated (SYI) and the former Boys & Girls Club of Springville provided both the Springville Village Board and Concord Town Board with an update at their respective meetings on the groups’ impending merger.

Wende Pukay, SYI president, and Bill Gugino, president of The Club of Springville, were present at the June 14 town meeting as well as the village meeting on Monday to officially inform members the two groups are working on a merger and intend to provide updates during the process.

“We want to make sure you are included with everything,” said Gugino to the town board. “We are hoping to bring everything together within the next couple months.”

The Club of Springville has now legally separated from the Boys & Girls Club with which it had previously been associated. Gugino explained that, in an official capacity, Springville never formally had its own chapter and was always part of the Orchard Park group.

“It’s been almost six weeks now, actually, that we have been on our own. You could not tell one bit of difference in our programming,” Gugino said to the village board on Monday. “Our staff is doing a phenomenal job.”

He said The Club no longer has one full-time director like before but instead has two individual directors — one of The Club and one of the before- and after-school programming.

Gugino told the village board on Monday that both boards have voted to go ahead with the merger but have not legally completed it yet.

“We are in the process of getting that together, so over the next couple months I think that will come together,” he said.

Throughout the summer, officials from both organizations will work together to determine how a merger will be executed and how it will impact the organizations financially. Gugino said “very little money, if any” came from the Boys & Girls Club itself.

“I think it’s way too early to know what we are going to need right now,” Gugino said to the town board. “And I think that’s what we need to work out over the next months coming up.”

Both Gugino and Pukay stressed the benefit of becoming one organization to make it more efficient to fundraise and also receive funding from the town and village.

“At the end of the day it’s to make us one strong organization, so when we are looking for additional money — whether it’s an individual or whether it’s the town or the village looking at it — they are going to be looking at one organization rather than looking at two organizations,” Gugino said.

Town board member Bill Snyder agreed and commended both The Club and SYI boards on the work being done so far to investigate the upcoming merger.

“I think both organizations have strong leadership and really dedicated committee members who are working hard for youth activities in the community, which is great to see,” he said.

Gugino and Pukay said they’ll update the boards during the process and return to an upcoming meeting when the merger is finalized.

“We think it’ll be the best thing for the community rather than competing for everything,” Pukay said to the town board. She later added, “We’ll have a good board and be able to maybe add on some nice new programs that are needed around here (and) expand on some of the programs that are here for the kids.”

During a previous interview with The Springville Times, Pukay emphasized the merger will not affect any of the current programming at either organization.