Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake Eufaula
Our mission is to inspire and enable young people, especially those that need us the most, to realize their full potential to become a caring, productive and responsible citizen.
A Dream Becomes Reality
In December, 2000 a group of concerned citizens ventured forth to discuss the formation of a Boys and Girls Club. A steering committee of seven men and women was formed and within a year’s time, a Board of Directors had been established, a facility secured, public relations efforts had succeeded and fundraising efforts started.
The Eufaula City School system partnering with Eufaula’s Parks and Recreation Department graciously provided Sanford Gymnasium as our new home. Community fundraising including generous donations from businesses and churches gave us the necessary means to open to the public on July 9th, 2002. We were under the management umbrella of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Alabama (Ozark).
Five short years after the Club initially opened, the average daily attendance was about 65 children with total membership at 280. This showed an increase of more than 200% since opening. As of the 2013-14 school year, average daily attendance is 120 plus and membership over 350.
While at the club each afternoon, children rotate through several designated areas. There is a computer lab, built with a grant from Alabama Power Company in 2006. Another grant from Microsoft provided 10 new computers. Children not only gain valuable computer experience, but complete homework assignments and use computer learning tools.
In addition to the computer lab, an afterschool tutorial program (Power Hour) is provided as well. 51% of these students are on the "A & B" honor roll. Of those participating in Power Hour, 63% have improved or maintained their reading and math scores.
The games room is also available and a very popular place. Three pool tables are available after completion of homework. Kids are taught patience in waiting for their turn and loud or unruly behavior forfeits their rights to continue play. Children share a cue stick. Games in the gymnasium are available too.
Every week, the children are given a “word of the week”. This week the word might be “respect”, next week it might be “honesty”. This innovative concept has enabled the children to be hands on with the word and its meaning. For example, one day a child was having trouble waiting his turn to play pool. When his turn came, he tried to snatch the pool stick from another boy. One of the staff quickly reacted and talked to him about the word of the week (which was respect) and how he was not showing respect to the other boy. Real life experiences build character and that is what this club focuses on.
Children with the best grades/improvements are rewarded with field trips. Past trips include Troy football games, camping, day trips to amusement parks and once even participated in a professional fishing tournament. Of course, all of this is used as incentives for good behavior, good grades and good attitudes.
The summer program is very popular. Children have opportunities to play games, take part in educational activities and role play. The older children have participated in activities from the County Extension Service/4-H such as money management/budgeting and parenting. They role play and see just how difficult it is to make ends meet when given a certain amount of money. They quickly realize they can’t have the things they want without having more money. They also learn they can’t have more money without having a better education. This is a very effective program.
Here We Grow Again
In 2009, Boys & Girls Clubs of America allowed Eufaula to break away from the Southeast Alabama organization and stand alone. We became the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake Eufaula with a recognized territory of 7 counties – 4 in Georgia and 3 in Alabama. A new corporate structure followed.
In 2011, a site was opened in Clayton. Currently, there are about 25 children participating daily. In August 2013, the Eufaula Housing Authority provided a second local site.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake Eufaula has quickly impacted the entire community of Eufaula. It is well supported by the Barbour County United Way, the City of Eufaula and regularly has articles published in the Eufaula Tribune. Support from our local community is great and our Annual Steak and Burger Fundraiser regularly generates 20% of our income. With the addition of more children, expenses have escalated and the need for more funds becomes a never ending struggle.
We are proud of where we have come in recent years and extremely thankful to all of the generosity shown within the Eufaula community. We look forward to many years to come as we provide the youth of Eufaula and surrounding communities with a Positive Place to call home.
Proud recipient of Barbour County United Way