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Where it all began

Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County celebrates 50 years

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Boys Club of McKinney

In 1968 in McKinney, a group of dedicated residents started the Boys Club of McKinney in an old building on the McKinney square. That club has grown into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County has been celebrating for the past 12 months the start of the organization in McKinney 50 years ago. While the “Boys Club of McKinney” started serving young men in April 1968, the organization was incorporated in April 1969. An event at The Station in historic McKinney on Wednesday will thank supporters’ years of support.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney and Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere will be joined by supporters around the region to congratulate the organization on its tremendous growth over 50 years and the sustainability of the organization. It is fitting that the setting will be an old historical building not far from the original first club location.

In 1968 in McKinney, a group of dedicated residents desired to open a Boys Club. While the population was only 14,000, there was a need for a program that helped young men develop the skills, attitudes and aptitudes to make right decisions in life. Headed by Henry Shoap and Reverend Bob Lee, a motivated group of citizens opened the first club in Collin County in an old building on the McKinney square.

With a safe place to go after school and activities, programs, sports and mentors helping, the club began to grow. In 1988, girls began attending, and it became Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County, expanding to Plano in 1992 and Frisco in 1997.

Fifty years later, they clubs serve over 3,200 children per year, and combining after-school, summer and outreach programs, 10,126 children are impacted. Since 1968, 50,000 young people have passed through the doors of the three clubs. The facilities are larger and the programs greatly expanded, but the mission has not changed – focusing on academic achievement, building character and leadership and health and life skills.

Today, 22 buses and vans pick kids up at 74 schools countywide. Branches are updated with the latest technology, security, programming and sports programs. The county has expanded from about 65,000 people in 1968 to over 980,000 today, and the need is greater than ever.

The event starts at 6 p.m. May 15 and will feature comments by some of the original board members, alumni and current youth. The Station is located at 109 E. Lamar St. in McKinney. Appetizers and refreshments will be served. For more information contact Laura Bese at 469-888-4620, ext. 105.

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