A new kids club is coming to Riverside with help from Alabama Campers on Mission.

“I’ve had a vision for a Christian-based kids club since I volunteered with a Boys and Girls Club in Tuscaloosa three years ago,” said Kari Callahan, director of Quest Kids Club and Family Center in Riverside.

Callahan said she spoke with the owner of the former Silvers Restaurant & Saloon in Riverside last November.

“We needed freezer space for Thanksgiving boxes that First Baptist Church in Pell City was giving out,” she said. “The owner let us use the freezer there. After that, he called us back and asked if we could use it for a ministry. I immediately thought of my vision for a kids club.”

Callahan said she began putting together a board of directors and is in the process of purchasing the building. The kids club is incorporated and is in the process of obtaining nonprofit status. Quest Kids Club is expected to open in June.

“The building was empty for three years,” she said. “We needed to think of a way to renovate it to make it more kid-friendly, and came across the Alabama Campers on Mission. They have been here two-and-a-half weeks renovating the building.”

Callahan said the labor is free, and all the building supplies were donated.

“We were contacted in January,” said Bill Foster, of Roanoke, Ala., who has been with Alabama Campers on Mission since 1996. “Ken Conaway and I came out here to look at the building and see what they wanted done. We were impressed and enthusiastic about their mission and their goal.”

Foster said 27 volunteers came to Riverside—13 women and 14 men.

“I’d say our average age is 72-to-75 years of age,” he said.

Foster said the volunteers are from Fort Payne, Repton, Meridianville, Wedowee, Pell City, Roanoke, Cropwell, Helena, Shorter, Alabaster, Carrollton and Alexander City.

“We replaced all the ceiling tiles, installed tin around the upper walls, installed wood tongue and groove around the first floor, painted the rooms, installed one door and repainted the rest—the ladies did all the painting—took out a wall upstairs and installed a 36-foot-long study desk for the kids,” he said. “We also put up a 26-by-14-foot façade on the front of the building, where they will put the Quest Kids Club logo.”

Conaway said Alabama Campers on Mission began in 1972.

“We do projects all over the country,” he said. “This is our first project in this area, and we will also do some work at WorldSong Missions Place in Cook Springs this week. We have two active charter members and one of them, Dub Short, is with us on this project.”

Conaway said Alabama Campers on Mission is looking for more projects and additional information can be found on their website www.alabamacom.org.

Callahan said Quest Kids Club will offer day camps from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. this summer for children who have graduated kindergarten through sixth grade.

“During the school year, we will have after-school clubs with transportation from the schools to the building,” she said. “The whole purpose is to teach kids about Godly character, assist with educational needs and offer fine arts and recreational opportunities.”

For more information about Quest Kids Club and Family Center visit www.questkidsclub.org.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.