GOSA Boys Club Soccer

in my opinion Joplin Boys Club was used by the greater Ozarks Soccer Association to get a soccer field for their league. They were not interested in the boys club at all and made that clear to me at several meetings. But my board of directors liked having a soccer program at the club. The current executive director was able to end that program. Good riddance. That Soccer Association ignored Boys Club playing rules that were sent down from the national office. Boys Club rules have all children playing in a game. Gosa played to win thus some kids did not get to play. I’m glad Gosa no longer has a presence at the boys club. Now if soccer is played it is played by boys club rules.

Van Fleet in Joplin

I Don’t understand what is happening at the Joplin Boys Club today? They have a fleet of vans and small school buses. They have an active program Where they pick up after school kids And bring them to the club for four hours daily. What about the kids that live around the club now? Where did they go? When I was director there We Had no bus program there. Our Kids were neighborhood kids. I will have more to say on this in the future. But why cut hours? Why have two gymnasiums with no basketball program?

2011 Joplin F-5 Tornado

Joplin tornado there will be no picture for this post as this was a video of the 2011 Joplin tornado. It took out nearly two-thirds of the city. Where my former boys club was located it was not damaged. But less than three blocks away was total devastation. The apartment complex where I lived was leveled. When you see this video you will understand the ferocity of the storm.

Rest Time

on a hike with the Joplin Boys Club three of the members decided to take a break on a log over an empty space. The picture is kind of funny in a way. The tree that they were on was over a gulley. We had taken a hike near the George Washington Carver Memorial area which was about 10 miles from Joplin. This was a place I took the boys too often as they also had an opportunity to study about George Washington Carver in a museum at the park. For those not in the know he discovered many uses for the peanut among other things. I used to tease the kids that without him they may never have used peanut butter. It was a great outing and we had a prepared lunch and then headed home.

The New Gym

This is the new gymnasium at the Joplin Boys Club. I’m still not sure why they had a second gymnasium installed? The first gymnasium was a full size one with bleachers that pulled down that could seat 500 spectators. The Ozark Christian College used our gymnasium for their home court. And the gymnasium that you see here is even larger than the first one. It was installed over the blacktop area that was enclosed. The club no longer has their own basketball program but they rent the gymnasium out for an outside basketball program which is very unusual to me. The expensives of the boys club has risen as well. When I was executive there the yearly membership was $10. Now just for the summer they charge $270. I wonder how the poor kids in Joplin can afford that?

New Joplin Boys Club Educational Center

This is the Joplin Boys Club Educational Center. It is fully computerized for the children.

This provides the boys and girls with opportunities to learn from the computer world. I like the color scheme of the room.

Being a former educational director at the Marion Boys Club I can well understand the specialness of an educational center. It set us apart from other youth organizations. When I was director at the Joplin Boys Club we had the SRA reading program which even the public schools didn’t have.

Remembering Richard Barkley of the Joplin Boys Club

Here you can observe some fence cleaning at the Joplin Boys Club. When I was the Executive Director at the club I had three janitors and one was a very colorful one known as Richard Barkely who also just happened to serve as our night watchman. He had a small apartment within the facility. As for his watchman status, well, he wasn’t the best. On my second day at the club I came in at 5:00 am to clean up the storage room which was right next to Barkley’s apartment.

I probably made quite a bit of noise as I separated the junk from the material I wanted saved and through all that noise, Barkley slept right through it all.  When he finally woke up at 8:30 am, I said, “Some watchman we have here.  A crook could have cleaned out the whole place and you wouldn’t have heard a thing“.  

Now Barkley was also probably the only person I ever met who ate spagetti and ice cream at the same time.  As I looked in amazement as he took bites out of each in turn, he said, “Well it all winds up in your stomach at the same time doesn’t it?

He had a few other choice expressions such as, “Give me a long enough broom and a long enough mop and I”ll clean and sweep up the whole world”.   He once was a boxer with Golden Gloves and he had this beaut of a saying-  “I have a machine gun right and a bazooka left and if I hit you, you’ll sleep through the night“.  Yes, Richard Barkely was indeed a character.  He did happen to be an excellent custodian though always wanting to do things his way. 

We once went to a movie together that was called “Who is Killing the Great Chef’s of Europe?”  In the middle of the picture he stood up in the middle of the movie saying, “This is a filthy movie“, and then departed.  I thought he went out for popcorn but he actually left the theatre and walked three miles home.  The movie, by the way, was a classic comedy starring George Segal and Robert Morley. 

Yes, Richard Barkley broke the mold when he was born as there can’t be another like him in the entire world!

Remembering Wall 2011 Joplin Tornado

This wall mount is featured in the front of the new gymnasium as you enter the building. It commemorates those that lost their lives in the 2011 Joplin tornado that took out two-thirds of the town. Remarkably the boys club itself suffered little damage but now as a precaution added two tornado shelters left to their front parking lot. I’m not sure how I would have dealt with this crisis when I was in Joplin many years before as their executive director. Where I had lived was Gone with the Wind. I wonder how many children that went to the club lost their lives in that tornado? I know how I felt in Hoffman Estates when one family lost a mother and father within 2 weeks of the other. When two boys in the family next came to the boys club they rounded a corner and ran right into my awaiting arms as I was devastated for them. But Joplin probably lost scores of members to that tornado that the club staff knew well. Before entering the club take a moment to look at the poster and pray that this never happen again in Joplin.

Don’t Fence Me In

Fences around the Joplin Boys Club? When I was director of the club we had no fences around the club. We weren’t trying to keep people out. I have a hard time understanding the fence around the club. For that matter I have a harder time understanding the hours of this club. They close at 7 p.m. when I was there we closed at 9 p.m. Yes, times are different now. I could understand the time of closing, but that fence? When Reagan told Gorbachev to take down that wall, I might say the same thing to the Joplin Club. Take down that fence! This was the softball field of the club and we also played bubble ball there. We had a large soccer field in connection with GOSA- the greater Ozarks Soccer Association. I struggled with this and I’m glad it’s no longer there. That group wasn’t interested in the General welfare of the club but only in establishing a field for themselves. Yes times do change, Some for the better, and fences for the worst.

Waterfall Bathing

the Joplin Boys Club had a camping program near Joplin. I took 8 boys to a nearby waterfall. Sammy liked the idea of camping near the waterfall. All the boys asked if they could take a shower under the waterfall. They all wore swimsuits but I tried first to see what the water pressure would feel like. It wasn’t bad but very cold. The kids used the word refreshing. My shower was brief but the boys stayed under a good half-hour. We took this picture after they had got dressed. They were pretty full of themselves at the time. We had a great dinner that night and a sing-along and a few ghost stories before bedtime. All in all it was a great camping trip.

My Ideal Boys Club

Of the two clubs where I served as Executive Director, I would have to say that I favored the Hoffman Estates Boys Club over that of the Joplin Boys Club. As to the latter it was an old one time orphange that needed a lot of repair work. Today a new club stands in its place. Part of that new club in Joplin was already there when I was there in the late 1970’s. The gymnasium was fully constructed and the front part of the club still under construction. Since then they have added a second gymnasium.

Joplin had a woodshop, arts and crafts center, a boxing gym, and games rooms. The outside area included a large field with a softball diamond on one end.

Yet my ideal boys club was the Hoffman Estates club even though it was a renovated barn. To each side of the facility was a field, one used for football and softball and the other for field hockey and soccer. Behind the club was another softball field.

The club itself had a concession stand to the exterior and another one within the club. The first floor had a games room, restrooms, library, and arts and crafts room with the second floor housing the gymnasium.

I liked his club because it had a membership that appreciated te programs that we had to offer including a camping program with the Union League Boys Club Camp in Salem, Wisconsin, through my association with then camp director Al Mackin. In the 60’s I served as a counselor at that summer camp.

We had a very active program at Hoffman Estates using the most of the facilities we had. It was my ideal club because the outside facilities matched those of the inside facility. We had a solid educational program at Hoffman Estates as well as a creative arts and crafts program that included an art fair at the Schaumburg Public Library.

In my last year there the club was known as the Hoffman Estates / Schaumburg Boys Club which it should have been from the beginning as the two communities backed up to each other. This club was razed shortly after I left it due to a lack of good programming by the new director which caused the United Way to cease funding it. That has always saddened me but I left the area for what I considered a better offer in Joplin. There I had a full staff and radio and television for marketing purposes.

Still, it was the Hoffman Estates Boys Club that made me the most proud.

Joplin Boys Club Big Gym Entryway

This is what you would see as you enter the new gymnasium from the outside doors. They also connect in the central part of the gym to the second gymnasium. They have a concession stand in between the buildings.

On one side of the entryway is a trophy case or promotional case. It contains certain Awards and news events along with clothing of the boys club.

This is what you would see when leaving the gymnasium to the outside parking lot. I can Envision one day a refreshment stand to one side of the entryway. I don’t have more of the new gymnasium in a future post.