McALLEN -- Kids enrolled in the Boys and Girls Club of McAllen now have the option to trade in their baseball mitts for gardening gloves with the new installation of a community garden at the Rooney Center.

Thanks to Quaid Murray, 16, an eagle scout and junior at McAllen Memorial High School, kids at the Boys and Girls club now have a fruit and vegetable garden as an outdoor classroom.

He first started planning the garden in March and spent most of his summer building it using donated resources. Alongside him was boy scout troop seven and more than 40 individuals who accumulated over 250 volunteer hours.

Quaid hopes the garden can help kids teach kids about hard work, health and economics.

“They’re going to put work into it and see how a plant grows and see a profit, which may help them understand economics a little more,” he said. “I think they’re going to really enjoy it. I can’t wait to see what grows out of these raised beds, and the excitement members will get from growing fruits and vegetables.”

President of the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of McAllen, Julie Wilkins, said teaching children how to grow fruits and vegetables can effectively promote healthy living as well.

“The goal here is to promote a healthy living and to show kids that you really don’t need too much space to do these kinds of things,” she said. “We want them to come and learn new things here, because this isn’t something that you necessarily learn in school.”

Wilkins said the main objective of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club is to keep children safe and on task in the hours that they’re not in school.

“Our main goal is to keep kids safe when they’re not in school,” she said. “We have thousands of kids that come through our doors everyday and we want to teach them useful skills.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Thursday night at the Rooney Center. Kids ages 6-12 will be maintaining the garden at the Boys and Girls Club of McAllen.