Annual Boys & Girls Club Partnership Meeting Held in Atlanta
By: Mark Jeffrey
The Salvation Army and Boys & Girls Clubs of America held their 56th annual partnership meeting in late October in Atlanta. Commissioner David Jeffrey, Salvation Army National Commander, and Jim Clark, Boys & Girls Clubs CEO, represented their respective organizations at the meeting held at the BGCA national headquarters.
Also in attendance were Lt. Colonel William Mockabee, territorial program secretary; Major Larry Broome, Charlotte, North Carolina, area commander; Major Don Vick, Greensboro, North Carolina, corps officer; Captain William Mockabee, Texas divisional youth secretary; Lorraine Orr, BGCA chief operating officer; and Mark Jeffrey, territorial Boys & Girls Clubs program director.
Clark shared the clubs’ 10-year strategic plan, emphasizing three areas of emphasis: excellence in staff interaction with children at the clubs, tenure and frequency of children’s attendance and fostering an atmosphere of safety and belonging at the clubs. Commissioner Jeffrey said those values correspond to those promoted in Salvation Army corps programming. It is essential in leading people to the Lord that corps leaders develop relationships with their people and create a strong sense of belonging while involving them in corps life.
Clark said that although the BGCA is not directly affiliated with any denomination or religious group, the organization views itself as carrying out God’s work and that it wants to do all it can to help break the cycle of poverty, a goal shared by the Army, as Commissioner Jeffrey pointed out.
Major Vick gave a presentation on the growth of the clubs in Greensboro and the recent opening of the Royce and Jane Reynolds Center for Worship and Service and Boys & Girls Clubs. He said the Boys & Girls Club and its work became the main driver in the capital campaign that funded the project. Major Vick described how the local advisory board and advisory council for the club worked with the community to ensure the campaign’s success and how community leaders presented data showing the positive results club attendance had on the academic performance of youngsters attending the club.
Major Vick, who attended a Red Shield Boys & Girls Club as a youngster, said the club and the corps in Greensboro are closely integrated and several youngsters who attend the club have been enrolled as Junior Soldiers.
Also at the meeting, Marty Clary, the executive director of Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs in Charlotte, was presented the Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his significant and lasting contributions to the clubs under his direction. Clary has served as the executive director of the Army’s Charlotte clubs since 2004, overseeing eight Boys & Girls Clubs in Mecklenburg and Union counties with more than 1,700 members.