And even though on Saturday the club will celebrate 35 years of inspiring young people to realize their full potential and live positive lives, it was a select few dedicated citizens who felt the need for such an organization in the first place.
“There was Ed Massey, who was head of the anti-drug program in town, and Bobby Campos, who was a probation officer,” Tom Beasley, one of the founding board members, recalled.
“People who were involved trying to help young people stay out of trouble and stay away from drugs. They were the folks who said we needed a Boys and Girls Club here in Beeville.”
So with the seed of an idea to help the local youths, Beasley and other like-minded people joined together to form the first board of directors, which at the time was 25 members strong.
And then the hard work started.
“We had to get credibility first,” Beasley said. “We didn’t have a location; we didn’t have funding; we didn’t have a lot of things.
“So, the first thing we had to do was get organized and get all our due diligence in place and demonstrate an ability to have some integrity as an organization. The city wasn’t going to help us until we demonstrated some staying power. And I think that was fair.”
So, the members set off, holding any and every kind of fundraiser, from barbecues to raffles, to get things set in motion.
And finally after securing the location where the club is still located to this day, things finally began to fall into place. The regional Boys and Girls Club director would come by frequently and advise the board and mentor them on how to structure the club.
Thirty-five years later, the club is still running, and its impact is being felt.
“It’d be interesting to know how many kids have gone through there,” Beasley said.
“My involvement in later years when I was off the board was primarily as a basketball coach and to think now how many thousands of kids have gone through the basketball program.
“Of course, not every member of the club goes through the basketball program, but I would think if you could add up all the kids that have gone through there, there’s thousands.”
Though it’s hard to gauge how many children and teens have benefited from the program, it’s clear that Beeville has gained a great deal.
“It’s hard to measure, but how much is one young life worth that you save from either crime or drugs or some combination of the two?
“I don’t think there’s any question that there are young people who were reached by the Boys and Girls Club to stay in an enterprise that was positive for their lives.
“I mean, I coached kids that I felt were highly at-risk kids, and I got to watch them graduate high school.”
Beasley is confident in saying that the Boys and Girls Club has played a major role in many lives over the years.
“It’s an institution that we should never take for granted.
“When you think about it and put things in perspective, for most of the history of Beeville we haven’t had a Boys and Girls Club. And it’s an important institution in this community and one that we should all take an interest in supporting.
“It has made such a keen difference in the lives of so many young people.”
The community is invited to come out and support the Boys and Girls Club Saturday at a dinner and dance from 6:30 until 11 p.m. at the Bee County Expo Center. Cost is $20 per person or $150 for a table of eight with the Dave Rukkus Band providing music for the event. There will also be a silent auction and many other activities throughout the night.