HISTORY OF BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF MARION COUNTY
The Boys Club of Marion County was Incorporated in January 1967 under the guidance and leadership furnished by the Ocala Optimist Club.
There were others equally important, but unnamed, who gave of themselves and their resources to assure the Club’s growth. Dr. Richard Cumming served as the first President of the Board of Directors and James E. “Jim” Walker was brought in from the Boys Club of Sylacauga, Alabama, to provide professional leadership as Executive Director, beginning September 1, 1967.
The former Women’s Club building at 120 NE Tuscawilla Avenue was purchased and renovated to serve as the Club quarters. The doors were opened to the boy members on October 23, 1967, and a total of 220 boys were enrolled during the first year.
Funds for the operation of the Club were raised in their entirety by the Board of Directors until 1971, The beginnings of the Club were rocky at best. The relationship with United Way was an on-again/off-again affair for years. The Boys Club of Marion County has weathered many storms over the years. The Board of Directors has always managed to come through for the Club and as a result the Club has offered continuous service to youth for over 55 years.
The Club underwent a major change in 1989 when girls were added to the roster as members of the Club. The name was changed in 1989 to reflect our clients being served. We became the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County, Inc. on November 1, 1989. The same year we opened our first extension club at Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School.
Currently the the Boys and Girls Club of Marion County has established 3 locations, the Dr. Harrell Sr. Youth Center, the Dunnellon Club, and the Silver Springs Shores Club.
The Boys & Girls Club Code
I believe in God and the right to worship according to my own faith and religion.
I believe in America and the American way of life…in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I believe in fair play, honesty and sportsmanship.
I believe in my Boys & Girls Club, which stands for these things.