At the heart of Kingston’s tight-knit community lies the Village Green Community Center. This beautiful place provides a wealth of information and an opportunity for people of all ages to connect. It houses the library and a range of facilities, offering classes, events, and so much more.
Almost 20 Years in the Making
It took an incredible community effort to build the Village Green Community Center (VGCC). The VGCC’s Manager, Linda Fyfe, says so many people helped make a collective dream a reality. “In 1998, the old community center was taken back by the county without funds to restore nor renovate the existing space. We saw a need for a center that would be larger that we could run as a community. The Kingston Community Center Advisory Council was renamed the Village Green Foundation when this land, which used to be Navy housing, was purchased by us with our first grant. The Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the project, quickly entered into a partnership with the Kingston Library, the Boys and Girls Club, and the seniors who were using the old building.” After various designs were drafted and many public meetings were had, they agreed on a final design and broke ground on April 15, 2015. Their Grand Opening was April 30, 2016, and programming began on May 2, 2016.
The Village Green Community Center has also been outfitted with solar panels through Puget Sound Energy’s Solar Choice program. You can learn more about it and see a glimpse of VGCC’s wonderful facilities in the video below.
A Variety of Programs and Events
In the beginning, the Village Green Community Center was a place for organizations to meet, and they offered a handful of programs and classes. Their offerings quickly expanded. The VCGG provides monthly community meals and a range of activities and events, thanks in part to having the Kingston Library and the Boys and Girls Club on site. Many groups meet in their top-notch facilities while various classes and programs are going on simultaneously – all pre-COVID-19, of course. “I use the Village Green for our weekly Kingston-North Kitsap Rotary meetings and fundraising events. In addition, I use the facility for Cub Pack 555 and Scout Troop 555 meetings throughout the year.” says Doug Hallock, Managing Broker.
Now, they are slowly re-opening with exercise and art classes coming in April. The art classes are in partnership with the Kitsap Art Center and the first set will be a 4-week watercolor class starting April 5 for adults and teens. Other offerings include Senior Foot Care on the first Wednesday of every month by appointment (360) 876-1612 from 7:00 AM – 10:30 AM. With tax season upon us, they offer free AARP tax service. For the last four years, the AARP Tax Aid Foundation has provided this service. Additionally, Community Meals are every 2nd and 3rd Friday each month from 5:00 – 6:00 PM as a “Grab ‘n Go” meal.
Dedicated Supporters and Volunteers
Windermere Kingston is a proud supporter of the VGCC. When the center was being built, we donated $25,000. And, like other local companies invested in our community, we love supporting the VGCC’s events. We have sponsored community meals there and their annual Festival of Trees fundraiser.
“The Village Green Community Center is something Lorna and I have supported since its inception,” says Dave Muller, retired Windermere Broker and Village Green Foundation Board Member. Windermere Broker Lorna Muller is also a big VGCC supporter. “We are proud that Windermere committed financial support to the project. The VGCC is the heartbeat of our community!”
A crucial component of this incredible center is its dependable, enthusiastic volunteers. As Linda Fyfe says, “Volunteers are why we are able to be open and function at all. This year we are the only site out of ten county-wide sites up and running again, due to amazing volunteers.” Before the pandemic, they had 40 volunteers. They’re down to 13 and their hours are beginning to increase again. Linda says they’re in need of front desk volunteers to coordinate Tax Guests as well as other groups coming in. Windermere Broker Jessica Garrett will be one of VGCC’s newest volunteers, but they need more volunteers, and computer experience is a definite asset.
Where Everyone Knows Your Name
The VGCC is a place that connects and strengthens the community. Lifelong friendships have started there. “People meet in class, discovering common interests,” Linda Fyfe explains. “Many of the front desk volunteers are from the senior apartments next door. Our greeters get to know the regulars and I encourage them all to learn their names. My dream was to have the Village Green be like “Cheers” where everyone knows your name, and you’re greeted by name when you come in.”
Connection, inspiration, resources – you can find all of that and more. And, the staff and volunteers genuinely care, including Linda Fyfe. “The position of Manager of the Village Green Community Center is my life’s dream,” says Linda. “I’ve been involved in the community since we moved here in 1992. I was honored to be hired as the Kingston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director from 2007 – 2012. There, I immersed myself in all aspects of the community and created a strong volunteer base as well as a communication vessel. We created events and classes that strengthened our community beginning way back then.”
The Village Green Community Center continues to exceeded expectations. This spring will mark the fifth anniversary of their grand opening. Knowing all they’ve accomplished, we can only imagine what’s in store in the years to come!