The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, Inc.’s mission statement is that of the National organization:
To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama vision is to provide a world-class Club Experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.
History of BGCSA
The organization was founded in 1957 by the late B. R. “Babe” Wilson, Jr.; the late Arthur Tonsmeire, Jr.; and the late Jack Harris as the “Boys Club.” Its only location, on McDuffie Island near downtown Mobile, served a daily average of 20 boys ages six through 18. Programs offered were tutoring, athletics, arts and crafts, and woodworking. The Board of Directors included such community leaders as Henri Aldridge; Charles B. Arendall; Ervin S. Cooper; Dudley Dawson, Jr.; Victor H. Lott; Y. D. Lott; Dwain G. Luce; James K. McLean; E. B. Peebles, Jr.; Albert Reynolds; and Robert H. Radcliff, Jr. The organization continues to be run by an operating board of dedicated community volunteers.
Jack Harris was the first Executive Director, succeeded in 1980 by Clyde McGuire. McGuire, who is now on the staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, held the position until November 2001, when Mary Zoghby, previously Resource Development Director since 1995, became Interim Executive Director. The Board named her Executive Director in March 2002. Upon Zoghby’s recent retirement in April 2016, Tim Wills became the fourth CEO of the nearly 55 year old organization.
The charter club was first moved to Birdville, where it was called the Southside Boys Club, and then moved across Michigan Avenue to R. V. Taylor Plaza, where it remains. In 1985, it was renamed the Optimist Boys Club, reflecting funding support continuously given it by the Mobile Optimist Club. Since 1987, the organization has been serving both boys and girls. In that year, the name was changed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Mobile. In 1999, the organization became the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, to reflect its presence in Baldwin County.
We currently operate seven year-round clubs in Mobile County: Kiwanis in Crichton, built by the Mobile Kiwanis Club, Optimist in Mobile Housing Board neighborhoods, Sonny Callahan in Theodore/Tillman’s Corner, School-based elementary locations: Whitley and Gilliard, Cody Road and Semmes. We also offer summer programs at four Mobile County Public Schools.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama also owns and operates Camp Chandler-Tonsmeire, a wooded 150-acre campsite with a swimming pool, three pavilions, and a lake. The camp is used and enjoyed by the members of the clubs and rented to the public.
We are dedicated to serving children in safe and functional facilities while offering a variety of innovative programs. In fact, the local organization is a pioneer nationally among Boys & Girls Clubs organizations, making available to young members unique new programs.
One such program is the Gavel Club, now in its seventh successful year. Founded by experienced Toastmasters International members, it is designed to help young participants gain confidence by becoming better speakers.
Another innovative program originating with the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama is the “No Limits” Girls Aviation Program, which received one of only five National Honor Awards given by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America at its national meeting in San Diego in 2013. An award was given in each of the five core program areas. Our award was given for programming in the core area of Education and Career Development.
Various other activities are available such as art and photography competitions giving members opportunities to win both local awards and national recognition at Boys & Girls Clubs of America events. Team sports offered include tackle football, flag football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, and soccer. A highlight of the summer is the day camp at our 150-acre facility, Camp Chandler-Tonsmeire, where members enjoy swimming, canoeing, archery, and hiking.
Both the educational development and the job skills of the members are stressed. Computers are used at all clubs to prepare homework assignments under the supervision of staff and qualified volunteers. As part of the Job Ready program teenagers are taught to adopt a good work ethic. They are hired in the clubs to learn lawn maintenance and learn how to ensure that club facilities are clean and well kept. They also work for the organization programmatically, i.e. Arts & Crafts, MyFuture, and RoboTech.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama is a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation. It is a member agency of the United Way of Southwest Alabama. It is affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which was founded in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut, and became a national organization in 1906. It is now headquartered in Atlanta.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael H. Thompson
Todd L. Denison
VC-Finance & RD
Amelia Cade Bacon
Immediate Past Chairman
Carole W. Delchamps
Michael J. Dennis
Karlos F. Finley
Laura Peebles Rutherford
John H. Seibert*
Chief Executive Officer
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama is committed to being transparent to all stakeholders and interested parties. Click on any of the links below to review our IRS 990 history for the last 4 years.
© 2016 Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, All Rights Reserved.
1102 Government Street • Mobile, AL 36604 | 251.432.1235
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