LYNN — An act of violence that brought $200,000 worth of damages to the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn’s summer camp has turned into a “blessing in disguise.”
At the end of March, two teens vandalized the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn’s summer camp property in Middleton by taking bats to the main clubhouse, bathrooms, office, outside showers, windows and indoor game tables. With help from both the Lynn and Middleton communities, and insurance, they were able to come up with more than what was needed for the renovations at no cost to the club.
“It was very disappointing and sad when I got the call about the vandalism because I knew we were getting close to the camp opening,” said Joe Scianatico, the president of the Lynn club’s board of directors. “With renovations on the horizon for the actual club, it was really bad timing. I guess this was a blessing in disguise considering what has been done there now with the repair work.”
“It definitely hurt a lot,” said Steve Hirsch, a member of the club’s board of directors since the late 1980s. “I was there the following Tuesday because we held an emergency committee meeting and it was tough to see. We’ve had our occasional vandalism over the years but nothing like this. These kids went out of their way to trash this place.”
Scianatico said it was humbling to see how many people wanted to help after the incident. Hirsch said volunteer crews had a short amount of time to get the repairs finished before the camp’s opening on Wednesday, June 19.
The donations came out to $207,000, with $24,000 from insurance and $120,000 from Meninno Construction, which renovated the camp’s main clubhouse. Club Executive Director Brian Theirrien said the construction company had to cut a number of costs to get the job done, which is why owner Nick Meninno jumped in and offered to pay $100,000 out of his own pocket.
“The camp is completely night and day from what it was to what it is now,” said Scianatico. “We updated the bathrooms and added more bathrooms, we added air-conditioning and Wi-Fi, which we didn’t have before, we added a couple more offices via expansion, and we got a brand new kitchen. We also added a little art on the front of the rec center to make it look nicer. Overall, it looks like a brand new place.”
Because of Meninno’s generosity, the Boys & Girls Club renamed the revamped clubhouse the Meninno Recreation Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday. Meninno has been a member of the Lynn club’s board of directors for the last 15 years.
“It was heartbreaking to see the damage that was done to it,” Meninno said. “Somebody had to step up and get the repair job done because it’s so important for the club to have Camp Creighton and its 130 acres of open space and pond … It’s an honor for my family to be part of the club in such a big way. I coached it and brought it together but it was a group of our employees and subcontractors that went above and beyond to help pull it together with not only a forced budget, but an obligated short timeframe as well.”
More than 70 people, including board members, state officials, and Meninno and his family celebrated the positive turn of events with a BBQ offered during the ribbon-cutting. Governor Charlie Baker could not attend, but sent a video commending the efforts, which was shown on a projector screen. About $63,000 of generous donations came from Camp Lion of Lynn, the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, the Heritage Helps Foundation and from donors on online websites.
“I want to thank everybody, whether with time or monetarily, who donated to this cause,” said Scianatico. “We appreciate the community, both Middleton and Lynn, and everyone who came together to support this organization.”