Monday, May 19, 2008

{a great day at the club}

As Chelsea Clinton moved through the corridors of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, her following steadily grew.It was not a surprise. The daughter of presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, Chelsea made her Monday afternoon visit something the members would remember for a long time.On what appeared more like a fact-finding tour than a campaign stop, the 28-year old signed autographs, talked to club members, posed for pictures and fielded questions from a large group of children after helping dedicate club’s new community garden.“It was a great opportunity for us,” said club director Ryan Graves. “The kids were poppin’ off the walls all day.”The club found out about the stop only a night before. Graves got the word as his plane landed in Juneau, Alaska. A text message from his wife had him back in Albany to greet Clinton.Clinton participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new garden site, a partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and the Oregon State Extension Service. She emphasized environmental issues and the importance of after school programs in a brief statement.A question-and-answer session concluded her tour as club members asked questions ranging from her favorite ice cream flavor to global warming.She did get some politically oriented questions, including one from a club member who asked if she thought her father was a good president.“I do think he was a good president,” she answered. “But I think my mom will be a better one.”Clinton’s day-long swing through the Willamette Valley included stops in Portland, Keizer, Eugene and Springfield prior to her visit to Albany. She was scheduled to conclude her day’s activities back in Portland greeting volunteers at the Clinton campaign headquarters.Graves said the visit was particularly important because the Boys & Girls Club of Albany is 45 percent female.“We have a large group of female members and this presents them with a strong role model,” he emphasized.

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