Executive Director Jason Barta and his team have done a fabulous job growing average daily attendance (ADA), revenue and membership. Their focus on Formula for Impact; priority outcomes of Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles; and core programs are clearly impacting local kids’ lives. They have a strong board, too. President Julie Daniels and her fellow board volunteers are energized to continue making a greater difference in the community.
The highlight of my visit, as ever, was spending time with Club members. Like the young people who graciously gave me a tour of the facility and a full overview about every aspect of the Club program. I also met Youth of the Year Treshawn Reed.
A high school senior, Treshawn is enrolled in advanced placement classes, serves as president of Health Occupations Students of America local chapter, and earned certifications as a nursing assistant and home health aide. Certainly a suitable background toward his long-term goal to become a doctor. And he’s an awesome piano player to boot, who turned in a dazzling performance at the luncheon.
On a somber note, long-time BGCA governor and former board chair Pete Silas, a Bartlesville resident, passed away shortly after my visit. Pete was a pillar of his community, a consummate advocate for kids and a great American. We’re all going to miss him.
I began the New Year in Connecticut at Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, the city where our Movement began over 150 years ago. As always, it was an inspirational visit. A time to reflect about those who came before us, whose shoulders we stand upon today. My thanks to CEO/President Sam Gray for a fulfilling and educational day.
The visit included a focus group with local Club executives from around the state. We discussed the dynamics of Connecticut’s youth and progressive initiatives underway at Clubs. We also talked about redefining the opportunity equation to create a future where all kids have equal access to opportunities. It was a remarkable day.
The next day we paid tribute to CEO Gary Frost of Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, who retired after 37 years of Club service. Some 400 friends, civic leaders, Club executives and family members attended a black-tie affair in his honor. Gary has done so much for so many, changing the landscape for Manchester’s kids with his leadership and dedication. We also welcomed his successor, incoming CEO Diane Raymond.
Many of us made New Year’s resolutions, specifically as it relates to kids who need us most. Following are some goals I’ve resolved to do my best to achieve over the next 12 months.
We have much to be thankful for as we begin 2015. I’m especially thankful for the Club professionals and volunteers who give so much to kids and teens across the country. Their selfless service is what makes Clubs unique and drives their impact. Once again, a safe and Happy New Year to one and all.