The joyous occasion of the grand opening ceremony of the new Boys & Girls Club clubhouse on Saturday is now overshadowed by the devastating fires occurring at press time.

Standing in front of the new facility Trent Yaconelli, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga, welcomed board members, donors and dignitaries who spoke briefly before opening the doors to the new 14,000-square-foot facility.

Jay Templeton, the former executive director of the club, drove down from his home in Washington to see the fruits of his efforts on the capital campaign that made the building possible.

While touring the facility, Templeton said he was thrilled to be there and felt great relief that the whole thing came together.

Josh Clark, board president of Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga, thanked the capital campaign committees and Templeton for “making this dream come true” for the children of Calistoga.

“Jay did an incredible job and we could not have done this without him,” Clark said.

“The board created this dream years ago and have spent years bringing people together to see its fulfillment. They gave their time, energy, passion and treasure. They held countless meetings, shook every tree for money, and watched closely how every dollar was spent,” Clark said.

Mayor Chris Canning praised Templeton and said he is a better mayor for having known and worked with him over the years.

When not in use by the club, the facility will be open to the community for use.

“It is another step in our evolution and realization of a stronger, more vibrant community by improving the quality of life for our residents. Where better to make such improvements than in services for our children. This is also a facility that will benefit our entire community. Great futures will start here,” Canning said.

Canning declared Saturday, Oct. 7, as Jay Templeton Day and asked that all citizens of Calistoga join in this observation.

Dario Sattui, who was unable to be at the ceremony, donated $1 million in seed money several years ago to get the Calistoga club off the ground and added to that to help with the club’s first dedicated facility in Calistoga. In total he donated $1.5 million. Georg Salzner, president of Castello di Amorosa, spoke on Sattui’s behalf.

“Some of the things that Dario Sattui is very passionate about are the environment, the wildlife, elderly, especially people that cannot fend for themselves, and children.” Something people may not know about Sattui is that for 10 years straight he spent all Christmas and Christmas Eve going to elderly care homes and hospitals in Napa Valley dispensing V. Sattui wines, cookies, candies and holiday cheer, Salzner said. He did it because many of the elderly had no living relatives or visitors in the area, and stopped only when his wife asked him to stay home with the family.

Salzner said Sattui was looking for a way to benefit the community and make a difference.

Bob Torres, principal, vice chairman and director of Trinchero Family Estates, choked up talking about his late mother, Vera Trinchero, who was “the emotional, giving rudder of their family”, and was a “big supporter” of the Boys & Girls Club, and whose name is in the facility’s gymnasium.

In addition to the gymnasium there are indoor and outdoor dining areas, a commercial kitchen, art lab, STEM (science, technology and math) lab, learning lab, and a large centrally located game room.

Congressman Mike Thompson said he wished when he was growing up he could have attended a clubhouse like this.

“This is more than just a beautiful building … but the real beauty is going to flow from what happens inside this beautiful building. This is going to change lives of kids in our community,” he said.

The capital campaign raised more than $10.5 million to build the facility and provide for two years of operating costs.

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