Joplin Boys Club Learning Center

This is the Joplin Boys Club Learning Center. It was in a building yet under construction when I was executive there. The building was enclosed but none of the rooms had been fully completed. Several were just skeleton figures at that time. One room in particular was concrete enclosed. That was probably the restrooms. Since I left that facility they have added a new large gymnasium which was added on our blacktop area. We already had a fairly large gymnasium that served as the whole Court for the Ozark Christian College. It could seat about five hundred people. The Learning Center was special in any boys club. In my very first Club I served as an educational director. I had planned that area for the Joplin facility. I’m glad it’s being used offen there.

Joplin Boys Club Storage Area?

This building is attached to the smaller gymnasium. When I was executive director there the smaller gymnasium was finished while the new edition was enclosed but with much work left to be done in the interior. The attached building to the small gymnasium was not even in place at that time. It is a white building with a door to it and I’m wondering what that is? Perhaps the current executive director could leave a comment and let me know what that is. It might be a place to store maintenance equipment and lawn mowers. Thoughts anyone?

Joplin Boys Club Addition

The Joplin boys club is planning a new edition within the next year. It will be directly behind the last building you see at the bottom of the page. It will more than likely cover the softball field and the volleyball court. There will be a cat walk to the present building which is up a hill. That building will have a makeover and largely will become a training center for the staff. The middle building is the gymnasium that was there when I was there. The building at the top is a large gymnasium that probably doubles the size of the smaller one. If fundraising goes well they could be in the new building by the fall of 2019. The downside is they will cut their athletic field by a third at least.

Joplin Boys Club Softball Game

We see here a youngster getting the softball back into the game. The grass is green just as it should be for softball and the boys and girls are having a great time today. This is the softball field for the Joplin Boys Club. In the background you can see the fence that has been installed since I left Joplin. Softball and Bubble Ball were a big part of our outside program along with soccer. Joplin summers are extremely warm and so a lot of our activities moved indoors especially in the afternoon hours. I always liked school hours better than summer hours. In those days the Joplin boys was open Monday through Friday from 3 in the afternoon till 9 at night. I needed the evening hours for a basketball program that ran 3 days a week. I also had a pretty big boxing program at the time as we had our own ring for kids to use in the Golden Gloves program.

Roof Ball at the Joplin Boys Club

The roof on the new gym at the Joplin Boys Club would make the perfect court for roof ball. Using the same type of ball we use for Bubble Ball the game is played by alternating shots with each return shot needing to hit the roof. Points are earned if a ball hits the ground. Games are usually to five and the ball utilized is greatly affected by the wind. A windy day makes this a challenging game. The game can be played with two players or a 2 on 2 game alternating shots each time.

Joplin Boys Club Field

This is the Joplin Boys Club outside Recreation Area. What you were seeing here is an outside basketball court, a playground area, and a shelter. They also have a softball field for now and a volleyball area but these two are in jeopardy for in one year a new extension of the club will be built in this area. That will eliminate about 1/3 of the athletic area outside the club. However a new area could be on the back side of the new gym. I will keep you as updated as I can on new developments.

Joplin Boys Club New Gymnasium

This is the Joplin Boys Club New gymnasium. It’s not really all that new but it is the latest edition to the club. In about a year they will make another addition where the softball field is currently located behind the boys club. This new gymnasium also hosts a teenager room and a room where the board of directors meets. As you can see it is a very large building. It was not there when I was the executive director. The middle building is also a gymnasium that is regular sized. It used to host games for the Ozark Christian College in Joplin. They rented our facility for their home games. As I understand it the current Boys Club rents out the building for a basketball tournament each year that is not connected directly to the club. It looks like a very good facility.

Interior Joplin Boys Club

This is the interior of the Joplin Boys Club. This was just under construction and enclosed when I was director there. Through an open door you can see the small gymnasium. That was fully completed when I was there and next to it now is a new gymnasium which is much larger. The interior in the club is very festive in appearance. Lots of colors and well- lighted. In about a year this building will be totally redone and it will become a staff building. The planned New Edition over the softball field will be for the children. It should be fun to keep track of and hopefully you can see it all here as it develops.

Joplin Boys Club Safety First

In May of 2011 the Joplin area was hit with an F5 tornado that destroyed nearly half the town. The Joplin Boys Club was spared a direct hit but did suffer some damage. These two yellow buildings serve as tornado shelters for the children of the club. This is a very worthwhile addition to keep the children safe. I wonder how many people each building will accommodate? Are they used for anything else relating to Club activities?

Basketball and Passball Court

This is the outdoor basketball court at the Joplin Boys Club. When I was the director of the boys club on our black top pavement I also had a passball Court. Passball is played with a small kick ball. The ball can only be moved by running with it and tossing it two other players on the go. If the ball hits the ground the opposition gets the ball. The goals are 6 foot high will a 1 foot diameter hole in the middle. The object to score is to get the ball in the one foot diameter hole. It’s a very fast-moving game. It could be used on this court on the sides of the cement.

A Proposal for the Joplin Boys Club

When I was the executive director of the Joplin Boys Club I hated to waste any space and made a special effort to utilize every inch of space I had. So, I have a proposal for the Joplin Boys Club. Given the reason that the proposed expansion of the boys club over the softball and volleyball area will limit the space of their field, I propose moviing their fence line to the parking lot allowing the new space to be used. To me this is wasted space. An obstacle course would be great here or a Frisbee Golf Course. In the winter, metal saucers could be used on the hill for sledding. Even a field hockey game could be played here. This way whatever space was lost would be added by using this area. Green Space is hard to come by. Also on the other side of the club in that narrow area expand the fence line in there and start a garden Club. In that way every inch of space will be utilized to the benefit of the boys and girls that use that facility.

Softball and Bubble Ball Field

This was the Joplin Boys Club softball and bubble ball field. Softball is self-explanatory however Bubble Ball was used with a lightweight ball similar to a beach ball but clear through. It was affected by any wind current. A Bubble Ball Game was seven Innings long and consisted of only two outs per inning. It was Played Just Like softball except you could throw the ball at the runner beneath the head to get them out. On a windy day this game can be very difficult. We played bubble ball in all five of my boys clubs and you use regulation bats in the game. I Now understand that this area could be used for expansion in the near future. An additional building will be attached to the boys club. It will affect part of the outside area. I will keep you informed.

The Joplin Boys Club Superstars

If you want your community engaged in your boys and girls clubs, start a Superstars competition. Our initial venture into Superstars came by way of inviting television and radio personalities as well as civic leaders like the Mayor of Joplin and the Superintendent of Schools, to participate in the best of seven events versus the older members of the club. Initial events included passball, basketball, track, softball, bubbleball, eight ball pool, and frisbee golf. The concept was so well liked by the visiting team that they requested another event the very next week between radio and television personalities.

Then the Downtown Joplin Association requested a challenge the next week. That was followed by a challenge to the Springfield Boys Club so all in all there were four of these events held in one month.

If you want the public engaged in your boys and girls club work there is no better way than to have them involved in ACTIVE participation so they see for themselves what you are trying to accomplish. By the way, I’m the one in the red slacks.

Superstars was a concept I had developed at the Joplin Boys Club that became so popular that in one month we had four of them. What you see here is me doing the lineups for Bubbleball. Our Athletic Field also saw Softball played at this same location later in the day.

Farther down the athletic field, without a fence in those days, was a Frisbee Golf Course while in the middle of our field was the Track Event. In all four events took place on our athletic field. One event took place on our blacktopped exterior court, that being Passball. Eight Ball Pool was our games room event, while basketball was the seventh and final event in the gymnasium.

The kids won the track meet, bubbleball game, and Passball, while the adults took Frisbee Golf, Eight Ball Pool, and Softball. Our kids were salivating at the tie breaker knowing that basketball would settle it but little did they know the superintendent of schools could put his elbows on the rim. The adults won the basketball game with ease thus shattering the dreams of an upset by the kids.

Boys Club Transitions

I wanted to take a look back at the six Boys Clubs of America that I was a part of during that time of my life.

1.  Marion, Indiana:  I was the Educational Director there and part of my job was to host  weekly television program on Channel 23.  That club has now been sold to a church and has relocated to just south of Indiana Wesleyan University.  It was from here and from Taylor University that many of my guest speakers came from. I also operated Matthew’s Indiana extension one day a week.

2.  Salesian, Columbus, Ohio.  This club was located in downtown Columbus and closed down a few years ago for a lack of financial resources.  Part of my job there was to work at St. Ladislaus as their physical education director.  The club itself has a  pool, gymnasium with a running track over the gym, and an eight lane bowling alley.

3.  Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  This was my first job as an Executive Director and I had a renovated barn with an excellent outside facility including a football field and two softball fields.   The director after my tenure caused the club to close down and the building itself was removed.

4.  Joplin, Missouri:  I was again the Executive Director of this club and oversaw their new facility which was partly opened during my tenure.  Since that time, the old building has been razed and a second gym installed. 

5.  Bradenton, Florida.  This club closed down in 2009. It has three large baseball fields, a Ceramics room, they gymnasium and locker rooms, a weight room, a games room, and a wood shop. 

Of course over the span of some twenty-five years changes are inevitable and progress must be a part of any expansion plan.  It was sad, though, to learn that Hoffman Estates, Bradenton, and the Salesian clubs are no longer in operation.Now I’m at my last Club called Mishawaka. I serve as its executive director. It has a pool, gymnasium, Learning Center, games room, Arts & Crafts Center, kitchen, and two large softball fields.