KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Take a look around the community here and there's a good chance it will have Dave Ferrari's fingerprints on it. He is among North Lake Tahoe's biggest advocates, and over the decades he's backed his cheerleading with time and dedication.
This is perhaps most evident at the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, an organization that he — along with Joe Bourdeau and Anna Marie Shannon — helped establish 20 years ago in Kings Beach.
At the time, the original founders were hoping they could get 30 kids to start. About 100 showed up, according to Ken Yagura, a former club president and early supporter.
Today the club serves over 1,800 local youth with before and after-school programs, summer camps and sports leagues.
"It snowballed," said Mindy Carbajal, club CEO. "The need just kept growing, or it really demonstrated what the need was."
From the beginning of the club up until the recent opening of a school-based site within Incline Elementary School, Ferrari has played an integral role in the formation and growth of the club.
"This thing could not have happened without Dave," Yagura stated.
"Could you imagine raising $5 million in this community in 18 months? … That's what we had to do," he added in recalling the fundraising process that led to the construction of the building that sits adjacent to Kings Beach Elementary School.
Ferrari's contributions will be in the spotlight Friday, March 23, during "Ferrari Ravioli Night," a celebratory event that will take place at the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge. The fundraiser for the club also is intended to thank Ferrari, who could not be reached in time ahead of publication.
A limited number of tickets will be available at the door — Carbajal suggests calling the club at 530-546-4324 if interested in attending.
While the recognition is well deserved, it's far from the sort of thing Ferrari expected.
"He's selfless. He does not seek to get credit for things that he initiates," Yagura said.
Ferrari has initiated quite a bit during his decades of living on Lake Tahoe's North Shore.
"I think the club was one of the most significant," Carbajal said. "The Boys and Girls Club is an institution in Kings Beach … but there's not an organization, a nonprofit … that serves kids and families that Dave has not had a part in."
He helped found La Comunidad Unida, a Latino advocacy group that aimed to bring together programs and services for families and individuals seeking resources. The organization and other efforts have since morphed to form the North Tahoe Family Resource Center.
He also served as a Sierra College trustee, and coached sports for years in the Kings Beach area.
Yagura recalled that his wife was first to meet Ferrari. She was involved in a program that brought performing artists from all over the world to the local schools. Ferrari, who took over Ferrari's Crown Motel after his parents passed, would house the performers for free.
"If you really look around a bit you see his fingerprints on everything," Yagura said.
Mary Ferrari, Dave's older sister, said they and their four siblings growing up had models of generosity in their parents.
"Our parents were very generous in the community," she said.
Much like sports in his younger years, though, Dave excelled in generosity.
While traveling to Central America in the '80s to learn Spanish, Dave stayed with a family in Nicaragua. Later in the decade, as the situation in that country deteriorated amid fighting by revolutionary forces, Dave helped bring the family to the U.S. Eventually, he brought them to North Lake Tahoe, were he acted as a father to the woman's four young children.
"He has the biggest heart of anybody I know," Mary said.
While Dave has had a hand in many organizations and efforts, it's the Boys and Girls Club that he is likely best known for. In a candidate biography submitted in 2002, Dave wrote that he was most proud of co-founding the Boys and Girls Club.
It's a legacy that will likely live on for decades to come.
"This is our 20-year anniversary," Carbajal noted, "and we are really looking forward to the next 20 years of service for our kids and families."