For many, the start of the year is a great time for reflection. To think back on the notable moments of the past twelve months and use them to prepare for a new and better year. As I complete my first year serving as Chief Executive Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, we are entering into the third year of a global pandemic. As I reflect on the successes and challenges, we’ve experienced in 2021 and what the future holds for this organization, a couple of main themes come to mind.
Whatever it takes.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa will continue to do whatever it takes to build great futures for our youth. Whatever it takes to help our youth heal. Whatever it takes to create equity and opportunity for our youth. In the face of all the havoc we saw in 2021, our staff showed up for our youth and this generous community stepped up to meet their needs. Our Club doors were open. I could not be prouder of this team, of the resilience and passion for our mission I have had the privilege to witness. I am confident that no matter what 2022 brings, together we will do whatever it takes to best serve our community’s kids and teens.
The time is now.
It is time for us to not just survive but THRIVE. Not because we feel ready. No doubt, our staff are fatigued. Perhaps our supporters are fatigued. But the time for us to thrive is now because that is what our youth require of us. Mental health crises among youth have skyrocketed, food insecurity has increased, and youth are suffering academically. Less than half of public school students in grades 2-10 met grade expectations per recent assessment. These challenges cannot be fixed with new iPads or more cooking equipment. Our ability to positively impact the youth we serve is due directly to the people in our Clubs. The caring staff role models who work for our mission day in and day out. The regular volunteers who show up and build trust with our members. These relationships are our most critical component to success, and in order to thrive as an organization, we need to be willing to prioritize our people.
Fortunately, we have the infrastructure in place: the incredible success of our Club Pathways campaign allowed us to open three new Clubs in the past two years and establish four robust paths of Clubs to serve our members throughout their entire academic journeys. Now is the time to invest in our staff and volunteers, those who make our mission a reality behind the blue doors. It won’t be easy, but with your continued support, BGCCI will do whatever it takes.
- Tony Timm, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa CEO