Finding relief from the afternoon sun beneath a yellow baseball cap borrowed from 16-year-old Jerry Wallis, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., presented $250,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada on Friday.
"Whenever I hear about a boys and girls club, I think of the old boys club I went to in Searchlight," he reminisced to the crowd of club members. "It will help you when you're my age to realize how to be good to people."
Reid secured the special project funds through Housing and Urban Development. The money is designed to be used for planning and designing the new clubhouse.
"We are very excited that the senator selected our club," Executive Director Cathy Blankenship said. "These funds are a big piece of our overall project. It would have been tough for us to raise the money otherwise."
Nicole Jillings, 11, has been a member of the club for four years and is anxious for the proposed 35,000 square-foot clubhouse to be built.
"More people can join and we'll have more stuff to play on," she said.
More members also entices Krystal Rasberry, 9.
"It will be funner," she said. "We'll get to meet more people."
Former member Carie Ostrander, 20, who was named the national Boys & Girls Club youth of the year in 2000 spoke to the crowd of the importance the club had on her life.
"Before the Boys & Girls Club, I had nothing to say, nothing to do and nothing to look forward to," she said. "Later I discovered that this Boys & Girls Club was mine. I realized I could make of this club whatever I wanted to make of it.
"It became my home away from home."
Member Jorge Macias, 14, agreed.
"It's nice because kids sometimes stay at home and just watch TV," he said. "Here, they get to play sports and do other things like arts and crafts."
Blankenship said club officials will begin a public fund-raising campaign near the end of the year to raise the more than $2 million needed to build the new clubhouse.
Reid also spoke to the Nevada National Guard and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program while in Carson City on Friday.