Ron Johnson’s time at the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County (BGCMC) has been a journey. When he first joined as Program Director, construction of the new 24,000 square-foot Seaside Clubhouse was underway. Prior to that, programs took place in a 3,000 square-foot former church.
“We were a small operation, serving about 75 at-risk youth daily. Once the new center opened, daily membership ballooned to over 400.” Ron said.
Ron oversaw construction of the Harden Youth Center Clubhouse in Salinas, which opened in 2003. The Clubs, participation has now averages more than 600 children and teens daily. Much of that growth happened with Ron’s direct involvement.
“Our clubs are respected and valued as transformational resources for Monterey County’s youth,” Ron said.
For Ron, the best part of his job is seeing kids from all backgrounds respectfully coexisting in a safe, nurturing environment.
“The culture we have established here is authentic,” he said. “We are constantly working to improve as an organization. The members know they can count on our professional staff and volunteers to listen to their concerns, give sound guidance and present opportunities for improvement.”
The caring staff is what makes the Clubs special to the many families they serve. They aren’t there for monetary reasons, Ron believes. He considers the work more of a calling than a career – a way to pass on learned skills to future generations. The Clubs offer academic support, fitness programs, healthy meals, and mentors that help members cope with life’s ups and downs. Over 4,000 clubs throughout the United States offer safe, well organized, fun, and educational youth centers for kids and teens. Moreover, a culture of good character, integrity, discipline and respect resonates through the clubhouses, Ron shared.
“It is very rewarding to see many of our club alumni thriving as productive, successful citizens. Thousands of former members have gone on to successful careers as doctors, lawyers, educators, professional athletes, and politicians,” he said. “The Boys & Girls Club is a great training ground for America’s youth. Our staff is committed to making sure every child has a chance to succeed. It is an honor to work for this great institution.”