- You can read more about the closure of the YMCA in the December 9th Thousand Oaks Acorn article.
- You can read more about the Teen Center renovation in this November 11 Acorn article.
- Two huge classrooms (each bigger than the two classrooms at the TC combined). Both of these bungalows were put up in the last decade. There are two large bathrooms (locker rooms actually, but closed off from the main building) outside the bungalows;
- An office space which will serve as the main “hub”. It holds another classroom, two small study rooms, a foyer, bathroom and a utility area;
- An activity room with hardwood floors and an incredible view! It has a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and ample area for seating and activities;
- A variety of open and covered outdoor classroom spaces, including an outdoor amphitheater with views of the Santa Rosa Valley, two Gaga pits, a basketball court, and a play structure, all on 35 acres of open space that include hiking trails (!!).
Is it Safe?
YES! We would not move there if it wasn’t, and the YMCA would not allow it. We will not have access to the main building, due to it being unsafe and having two empty pools. But we will have access to everything else. However, the buildings definitely need some TLC! They have not been used (except for youth programming last summer) since March 2020, and before that, they were, shall we say, very well-used. In order to prepare the space, the YMCA is making some necessary (and minor) repairs, and so is OSA. The carpeting in the two bungalows has been replaced, and the kitchen will have a new sink and a dishwasher installed. We will add some fresh paint, and are looking at installing a handrail to the wooden stairs leading to the Activity Room, to make them safer for our daily use. Broken outdoor tables have been removed, and generally the area is being cleaned up.
Is it Long Term?
We are entering into a month-to-month lease of the space. At this time, we only know for sure that we will be there until the end of the school year. During that time, we will ENJOY it, CARE for it, and “sprinkle fairy dust” on it. We will keep it usable so that the YMCA can bring over youth groups in the summer and use it as needed. We are only making the amendments needed to use it for the duration of the year, so no big construction projects, such as building a garden. We have a beautiful garden at the Las Flores Community Garden that we’ve invested in, and will continue to use off site. It is about 2 miles away.
How You Can Help
Even if it’s temporary, this move will cost us around $15,000, including paying double rent in the overlap of space (TC and YMCA), small fixes, equipment, cleaning supplies, and furniture. The cost of us moving, however, is dwarfed by the benefits of us having this space to use for the remainder of the year!! We know our families are eager to help, and we are in the process of creating a list of things we will need so our families can help us out. We WILL ask for help as soon as we can. There are many moving parts, as one can imagine. For right now, you can help by contributing to our Annual Giving Campaign. The great thing is that whatever we do to help OSA also helps the YMCA. It is a win-win.
As we get closer to the end of the school year, both the YMCA and OSA will re-evaluate the use of the space. Perhaps we will stay longer. Perhaps we will head back to the Teen Center or another location. All that remains to be seen, and that is OKAY. In the meantime, we are off on yet another huge OSA Adventure. We are good at this! We are flexible, innovative, creative, and resilient.
And, we have plenty of fairy dust to sprinkle. 🙂