In collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo and local chef Rachel Main Holst, Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) recently developed and launched a nutrition education program that takes underserved youth into the kitchen for hands-on, healthy cooking classes. Designed with the goal of improving diet choices and enhancing the overall health of children and their families, the program focuses on exposing participants to a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients such as kale, squash, and collard greens, while also teaching them how to use more familiar ingredients such as ground beef, rice, and cheese, in healthier ways.“It’s important to provide safe and positive opportunities for children to make choices about what they do and do not want to put in their bodies,” said Chef Rachel Main Holst. “Forming and following healthy habits during the formative years makes it more likely that a child will carry those habits into the rest of his or her life.”

“Beyond health and wellness, there are numerous long-term benefits to learning how to cook,” continued Holst. “It is an excellent opportunity for children to develop and strengthen their confidence and self-assurance, and to learn that they have the power to create something the way they want it to be.”

During the afternoon event, groups of 10 youth took part in highly interactive, small-group kitchen workshops supervised by two chefs, a CMHS Registered Nurse, and a member of the CMHS outreach team.  The workshops began with an in-depth hand washing lesson emphasizing the importance of good hand hygiene for safe food handling and overall wellness.

Next, participants learned about the importance of hydration and how much water to drink on a daily basis, as well as how to “design” their plates using optimal quantities of fruit, grains, protein, and vegetables! Finally, the little chefs headed into the kitchen for closely-supervised chopping, measuring, stirring, and finally – eating!  The menu for the day? Chef Rachel’s Squash Chili and Healthy Bones Kale Salad.

“It’s amazing to watch the kids become more open to trying new things just over the course of one workshop,” said Evelyn Scott, RN, Outreach Manager for Community Memorial Health System.  “Being engaged with the cooking process gets them excited about eating what they’ve prepared – even if it includes ingredients they’ve never heard of or wouldn’t normally like.”

Every participant took home a CMHS Healthy Kids cookbook, complete with five nutritious recipes and highly-visual summaries of all the educational components of the workshop. “Our hope is that the information we provide and the enthusiasm of the kids will inspire other members of their families to try new foods and make healthier decisions,” said Scott.

On Thursday, November 15th, the Club hosted our annual Thanksgiving Feast, where members of our Board of Directors, parents and community volunteers served a delicious Thanksgiving meal to more than 400 kids and their families. Big thanks to the Grapple Group for sponsoring the event!

We're not sure exactly when the Feast was first held, but we know it's been a tradition for many years, and for many members, it's their favorite day of the year. Throughout the room on Thursday, you could hear kids say things like "Yumm, this is so tasty!".

The Feast was a wonderful opportunity to reflect and remember the importance of community, fellowship and saying thanks for all that we are lucky to have.

A big thank you to Tracy Saunders ( for all the great photos in our Thanksgiving Feast slide show:


We are excited to announce that we have selected Giselle Ramirez as our 2019 Youth of the Year. Giselle is a freshman at Adolfo Camarillo High School, and has been part of our Teen Center for the past two years. It's been an honor to have her as part of our program.

Throughout her time at the Boys & Girls Club, Giselle has been busy being part of our VIP Dog Program (training service dogs and being a reading buddy to younger club members), Keystone Club (holding monthly bake sales and donating profits to the National Wildlife Federation—which is building the world's largest wildlife crossing over U.S. 101 in Agoura), Career Launch (getting on-the-job training at Banana Republic), and even finding time to participate in our Dance Club. She wants to pursue an art career and also hopes to someday own her own pastry shop.

Giselle always has a positive attitude and puts others before herself. She is always willing to try new things and lend a helping hand. She is a great example of what our Youth of the Year is all about, and we can't wait to see what the future has in store for her. We congratulate her on being our 2019 Youth of the Year!


On December 20, 2018, the Camarillo Boys & Girls Club was transformed into a holiday wonderland, as the Camarillo Rotary Club put on its 27th Annual Kids Holiday Party with Santa, pizza, magicians (thank you, Paul Dwork), balloon animals and wrapped presents. This year, Rotarians entertained approximately 190 kids ages kindergarten through 3rd grade.

A big thank you to Tracy Saunders ( for all the great photos in our Holiday Party slide show:



Castle Air Inc. of Camarillo recently donated $15,000 of APCO UV light air purifiers to the Boys & Girls Club. APCO stands for Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation. The purifiers are installed into the ductwork of a central air conditioning systems and clean the air as it passes using a combination of UV-C light and activated carbon that eliminates both germs and odors. 

While Fresh-Aire UV systems have not been specifically tested against coronavirus or Covid-19, they have been tested and proven effective against similar pathogens, some that require an even greater dosage for inactivation than coronavirus. Boys & Girls Clubs have always stepped up to provide safe places for kids and teens. Now, we are even more committed to ensuring that Club staff, members, families and communities have the resources and support they need.

“I have employees with children and I’ve utilized the Club myself", said Matt McKee, owner of Castle Air. "It is the working people's place to go since it is an affordable and safe place for children. We are proud to support the Club.”

“We are extremely grateful to Castle Air for making our facilities even safer", said Roberto Martinez, Club CEO. "This pandemic has affected so many of our families, and thanks to Castle Air, our staff and families can have greater peace of mind knowing that every precaution has been taken to provide a safe environment."


(From the Camarillo Acorn, October 29, 2021)

After a successful fundraising drive, the club is adding 6,500 square feet of space to its facility on Temple Avenue. Officials donned hard hats and used ceremonial shovels stenciled with the club’s logo to turn over dirt at the construction site.

Since it was founded in a small house on Barry Street in 1967, the club has grown to serve 4,000 kids each year with programs that include after-school tutoring, recreation and sports. Kids also get a chance to learn about job opportunities through a youth employment services program.

The new addition to the club will include a teen center and a STEM center, where kids can prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering and math. A sensory room will allow kids with special needs to regain their focus and prepare for learning and interacting with others.

Club CEO Roberto Martinez thanked backers who contributed over $4 million to make the expansion a reality. “Our club donors have made it possible to build places where kids change the trajectory of their lives and build confidence, competence, character and connections,” Martinez said. Nearly 200 donors were recognized for their contributions. The largest donation was $500,000 from the William and Joanne Miller Charitable Trust. The new wing will be named in their honor.

Board President Jerry Clifford said the expansion will help the club increase its offerings. “As we look to our future, we want more space, more programs and more teens,” he said. Clifford said the club serves a vital role in improving the lives of kids. “Our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring responsible citizens of this community,” Clifford said. “Our Boys & Girls Club will continue to provide the essential tools needed for a successful and bright future for all of these kids.”

Layla Bloom, 13, is a student at Pleasant Valley School of Engineering and Arts and has been attending programs at the club for the past eight years. She said she’s looking forward to the completion of the expansion. “This new space is going to be really helpful. All the staff members are really helpful and kind, and they make it easier to have fun after school,” Layla said.

The new wing will be built in a contemporary architectural style with a glass and steel facade and should be completed in about 10 months.

Left to right:  CEO Roberto Martinez, Shigeru Yabu, Lorna Kyles, Jerome Clifford, PhD, Mark Lisagor, DDS, Kelly Long, Ventura County Supervisor, Joanne Haas, Myron Harrison, Louis Buldain, Layla Bloom (Age 13).