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.

Joplin Boys Club Property

this is the Joplin Boys Club property which covered almost two city blocks. We are located right across the dirt road from Joe Becker Stadium which was a minor league baseball team. The two buildings on the left are both gymnasiums while the building on the right housed all other boys club programs. The field behind the club had a softball field, playground, and outside basketball court. The club field was entirely fenced in for security. Unfortunately the club has reverted into a daycare center. It is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. When I was executive director there we are open after school till 9 at night Monday through Friday and 8 hours on Saturday. We were open all holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t understand how I Boys Club is closed on Saturday and on most holidays. Our membership fee for the year was $10. Just for the summer membership today is close to $300. How times have changed. How do poor kids and multi kid families afford this?

Exterior Basketball Court

this is a great picture of the exterior basketball court at the Joplin Boys Club. In the distance, you can see all three sections of the boys club just up the little Hill. I like this concept of the exterior basketball court. In fact, I like the entire exterior field. The softball field is still there but over the expanse of the old soccer field has been put a playground, Picnic area, and now this basketball court. The only thing I would have added around the outside of the rest of the club a Frisbee Golf Course. The current executive director should be very proud of the exterior of the boys club now. The city of Joplin should be very happy with the current Boy Club facility.

Educational Center

This is the Joplin Boys Club Educational Center. I Placed great emphasis on educational programs in whatever Club I served. From quiz bowls to computer classes education is what we’ll move kids forward in life. We even use the SRA reading program where you advance by color in reading skills and vocabulary. Some school systems don’t even have this program. I provided physical with educational programming in the obstacle course quiz and whiz. There are four mental events and four physical events. The entire event is timed. Every Boys Club should have an educational program.

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.

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.

Changes at the Joplin Boys Club

a this was a carpet ball game in the Joplin Boys Club game room. Joplin now charges just $270 for their summer program. When I was executive director in Joplin our yearly membership was $10 a year. How times have changed. I wonder how a family with four to five kids can afford the boys club anymore? Also when I was in Joplin we didn’t have a fence around the club. I still don’t understand the fence? Now also it seems to be a daycare center during the day. After school hours are two hours less at night than when I was there. They now close at 7 p.m. every evening. They also close on Saturday now and that seems absurd to me. On holidays they also close. I used to close on Christmas or Thanksgiving but that was it. Times have changed.