Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley’s new President and CEO Bart McFadden grew up as a Club kid himself.
“I first joined Boys & Girls Club (Boys Club at the time) when I was 6 years old. I played in the various youth sports from age 6 to age 12 or 13. At that time, I really got engaged at the Club on a different level, working during the summers, coming in every day after school and benefiting from the relationships I was able to build with the staff. Being an only child, the time spent at the Club really helped me gain a greater appreciation for others, their needs, and the blessings that I enjoyed in life.
“When I was 16 years old, and still highly engaged at the Club, my parents divorced. This created a greater void in my life than at anytime to that point. As it does for so many kids each day, the Club filled this void for me. Club staff members took me under their wing to ensure I kept moving forward on the path to success. The Club’s executive director was tremendously special to me. He helped me develop people skills that are still valuable to me today, and gave me opportunities that allowed me to develop my talents and skills. Over time, the relationship I shared with him was one of the most meaningful in my life. I began coaching youth basketball at the Club when I was 17 and that experience helped me realize my passion for working with a younger generation, and allowed me to hone my skills to serve them effectively.
“The reality of my Club experience is that it helped form me into who I am today. The Club gave me that sense of belonging, especially during some turbulent teenage years. It helped me gain a sense of being useful and having influence over others. I developed my sense of competence. My Club experience taught me how to communicate effectively with the most challenging children and families, as well as the most important donors and community leaders of our region. That is a lesson I would have never gained anywhere else.
“At our Clubs, we have an obligation to give our kids experiences that they would never have otherwise, help them discover their interests and talents, and provide opportunities to pursue them. When we find our passion and our gifts, we often reach our potential. This is the greatest impact a Club can have on the lives of our members. I am so honored to have the opportunity to help improve the lives of Club members at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, and I’m excited to build relationships with people like you who make our work possible.”