Even in my worst imagination I cannot fathom this massive tornado that struck Joplin Missouri in May of 2011. The boys club I served at survived with very little damage. Just two blocks away it was a completely different story.
I remember the next day Al Roker of NBC News walking through this area and stating that it was complete Devastation for miles.
The city has now rebuilt itself but this nightmare will never go away. The apartment complex I lived in was totally destroyed. The hospital was badly damaged.
I hope Joplin never experiences something like this again. The boys club now has tornado shelters in the event of an emergency.
I left the Hoffman Estates Boys Club in 1979 to accept the executive director position at the Joplin Missouri Boys Club. About two months later I received a telephone call from Thea Grendel of the Hoffman Estates Herald newspaper. She had covered my tenure as the executive director of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club for the past three years. She told me that there was a parental petition to try to get me to return to my old position. She wanted to know if I was interested or not. This is a picture of the Joplin Boys Club.
At Hoffman Estate I had one part-time staff member whereas in Joplin I had 10 staff members full time. I told the reporter I was not interested in going back to Hoffman Estates. About a month later I received word that the new director of that boys club was warned twice by the United Way not to practice his rock band during club hours but he persisted in this and so the United Way ceased funding the boys club. The Club closed down due to lack of funds and one month later the village of Hoffman Estates tore down the building. My former board members selected an irresponsible director to take my place which caused the club to. close. Although that made me sad I made the right decision to move to Joplin.
Boys & Girls Clubs Of America Has Changed dramatically since I was part of the operation. I don’t think the change is for the better. When I was with the Marion Boys Club of Marion Indiana the hours of operation were Monday through Friday 3 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 to 4. We had 36 hours of operation of programs for the boys. Today the Grant County Boys Club is open from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday and Saturday. I don’t understand that logic. Saturday was one of our biggest days. At the Joplin Boys Club their present hours of operation are Monday through Friday 3 to 7 p.m. and closed on Saturday. When I was the director of that boys club our hours of operation were Monday through Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 to 3 p.m. . They presently are open 20 hours a week while my hours of operation were 36 hours a week. Almost double the hours of operation and again Saturday was a big day for us. In Hoffman Estates my hours were 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday 9 to 3 p.m. again 36 hours of operation. Another difficult thing to understand Were school holidays. Today most clubs are closed or have limited hours while my clubs were open every holiday with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every other holiday we were open and active. I don’t understand the thinking of boys clubs of America today. They are there for the children. I can understand changes in membership rates as times have changed but I don’t understand how major sports programs can be played in Limited hours especially on Saturdays when most clubs are closed today. That logic Escapes Me.
When I took camping trips to Michigan with three of my boys clubs My staff was on duty 24/7. I don’t understand the discrepancy in hours in the operation of a boys club today. Kids need boys clubs to be open the majority of the time. The only change that makes sense to me today is closing the club earlier but I would say 8 p.m. would be a good closing time. The salesian boys club hours were Monday through Friday 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 to 4 p.m. which is again a 36 hour program. Yes times have changed but not for the better for Boys Clubs of America.
To me this is the only logo for Boys Clubs of America that should have stayed forever with the organization. Instead the organization paid $50,000 to come up with this logo.
The Keystone was far better and included the national colors of red white and blue. One of my Cadets could have come up with the current logo at a far lesser expense. Or they could have been more creative that being the National Organization and come up with something like this
Girls could have been added to the logo with that being the only change. The new logo makes me seasick. It is similar to a slogan we once had which said, What a kid needs today is a good clubbing. The guy that came up with that slogan had to be the same person that created the new logo. At the National Convention when they came up that new logo I fought against it hoping to retain the original Keystone logo Which is far more colorful. I had it all over my Joplin Boys Club at the time as well as on staff jackets and t-shirts, our vehicles, our scoreboard, and stationary and envelopes not to mention business cards. It would cost our organization a lot of money for the changeover. But I left for the Bradenton Boys Club before all that had to be considered. I think Boy Clubs of America made a big mistake with the wavy lines over the Keystone.
I even had this on our clubhouse in Hoffman Estates and it will always be my symbol for the kids I worked for. And not to start another controversy but I favor this logo for the Torch Club as well.
It will never be time for me to pass the torch on to someone else much less extinguish it forever. The National Organization should be ashamed of themselves.
I really like the Joplin Boys Club kitchen in the new building. It serves the kids well for two meals a day. I wonder if they teach cooking to the girls and boys there? I wonder if that’s part of their schedule? In the old building cooking class was very popular. I once took two girls on the Carol Parker show to demonstrate cooking. As soon as the camera focused on them they froze. So much for the cooking demonstration. Outside of that the cooking class was very popular even though we didn’t have the appliances that the new Boys Club now has in their kitchen. Bone appetite.
This is the new part of the boys club building at Joplin. Specifically this is the Arts and Crafts area. When I was in Joplin we had a huge area for supplies in the old building but no actual area for arts and crafts. Instead we had a non-operational woodshop. Only a few of the machines worked and it was largely used by one of my janitors for special projects I needed. I’m glad the new area of the boys club has arts and crafts.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.