Jul 14

Hundreds participate in Boys & Girls Club Olympics

Bristol Kid

The most important number at the second annual Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs Olympics didn’t come from the fastest time in the 50-yard dash or the distance that someone jumped.

It was the over 400 kids from all over Northeast Tennessee who took part in the day of activities on Wednesday at East Tennessee State University.

After an opening ceremony speech by ETSU women’s basketball coach Brittney Ezell, kids ranging from first to eighth grades participated in a variety of endeavors from basketball, football, baseball and track-related competitions to even non-sport specific contests like sit-ups, push-ups and sack races.

Scott Bullington, executive director of the Greeneville Boys & Girls Club, said the field-day gathering inside the Mini-Dome was important for a number of reasons. The kids particularly liked their interaction with a number of players from the ETSU men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“We all try to get together periodically and do activities,” he said. “Our kids have an opportunity to learn teamwork, work on their sportsmanship and they meet new people. For a lot of these kids, it’s their first time on a college campus. ETSU, Scott Carter and the rest of the staff, have been gracious to let us use the Mini-Dome. You see the ballplayers have stayed involved and the kids have really enjoyed getting to meet them. This year has been enjoyable with it an Olympic year. A lot of our kids are like, ‘We don’t have to worry about going to Rio. We have our own Olympics.’ You look at the kids at lunch time and they’re sitting with kids from different tables and are making new friends.”

A common request for the Buccaneer players on the basketball courts was to see them go up and dunk the ball. Robin Crumley, the chief professional officer for the Johnson City/Washington County Boys & Girls Club, said that Wednesday’s event was a slam dunk in many respects.

“The kids get to compete, fellowship and we get to see other clubs in action,” Crumley said. “It’s a community event and we get to have fun and share practices with the other clubs. We hope to see it continue for years to come. The boys and girls club are so important today. You can’t find a better place for safety, security and activities which aren’t just sitting in front of a TV.”

Both Bullington and Crumley thanked the major sponsors which included the Hudson Auto Dealerships with Johnson City Ford, Johnson City Toyota, Honda of Kingsport and Honda of Morristown. They also got support from Chick-Fil-A and Coca-Cola who provided lunches to all those involved.

One of those working was Josh Peterson, who grew up around the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton and Carter County. A three-sport star for Unaka High School, Peterson was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft and he went on to play collegiately for the University of Tennessee. He said Wednesday’s competitions gave the kids a sense of achievement when they won, and he talked about the influence of the boys and girls club on himself as a young athlete.

“It helped me in so many ways from social skills, character and my competitive nature,” he said. “I was always competing against guys older than me. You had people like Pappy Crowe, and later John Malone and John Seehorn, who made it where you were competing, but still having fun. We still try to do that, where the kids aren’t addicted to video games, where they’re active, up running around and having a good time.”

Maci Felts wasn’t involved with the Boys & Girls Club growing up, but since May she has worked with Bullington at the Greeneville location. Now an ETSU cheerleader, Felts helped recruit many of her teammates to help with Wednesday’s events, which included face painting and cheer activities after the competitions. A rising junior with a major in elementary education, she said the Boys & Girls Club has provided her with experience she can’t get by simply being in the classroom.

“It’s such a great experience to interact with the kids,” Felts said. “The girls with the cheer team, we enjoy volunteering and hanging out in the community and getting to hang out the kids. We’re loving it.”

Read the original article here: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Sports/2016/07/13/Hundreds-participate-in-Boys-Girls-Club-Olympics

Jul 08

Tennessee Boys & Girls Club Olympics to be Held July 13th

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The 2nd annual Tennessee Boys & Girls Clubs Olympics will be held on July13, 2016  at East Tennessee State University’s Mini Dome. The event is being sponsored by Johnson City Ford, Johnson City Toyota, Honda Morristown and Honda Kingsport. The Olympics competition focuses on getting kids active while bolstering their self-esteem. Participants will learn how to test their level of physical fitness and gauge their own improvement as they participate in the event. Above all, the competition will allow the kids to take pride in themselves and their abilities as they learn that physical activity is a fun and integral part of a healthy lifestyle.

The competitions will be for Boys & Girls Club members in the East Tennessee Region.  This event will allow all members to participate in various fitness contests. Along with promoting positive competition toward developing the grit, tenacity and resilience members need, each activity will present an opportunity to build confidence and competence. Competing Clubs included Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mountain Empire, Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kingsport, Boys & Girls Club of Morristown, Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County and Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County.

Close to 400 Club members from the region will participate in field-day type activities such as a basketball skills competition, baseball throw, football throw, broad jump, shuttle run, 50-yard dash and other fitness competitions. The ETSU Cheerleaders will also have a clinic after lunch for those wanting to participate in cheer activities and face painting. Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville & Greene County Executive Director Scott Bullington said about the Boys & Girls Club Olympic Games, “This is for the kids to have a fun day of activities at a beautiful college campus with other children from around the region. Just having this fellowship with kids from other clubs and learning some sportsmanship, that’s all this is about.”  Volunteers from the ETSU men’s and women’s basketball program will be on hand to help with some of the events.  Food for the event is being provided by Chick-Fil-A and Coca- Cola.  The event will close with an awards ceremony and some words from one of the ETSU coaches.  For information on the event contact Bullington or Aly Collins at 423-787-9322.

Jun 14

Winners Announced at the 13th Annual Bob Kesling Boys & Girls Club Celebrity Golf Classic

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The Greeneville Astros/Unaka team shot a 54 to claim the team Championship at the 13th Annual Bob Kesling Boys & Girls Club Celebrity Golf Classic.  The event was held Friday, June 10, 2016 at Link Hills Country Club. The tournament had a large field of golfers with many former college and pro athletes and coaches participating in this year’s event.  The Greeneville Astros/Unaka team blistered the course for a tournament record of 54 with a team consisting of  Ananias Bonin, Ben Spillner, David Lane, Rex Arrington and Ted Hensley. Blalock Companies finished with 55 to take second place in the Championship flight with play from Allen Parks, Doodle LaRue, Joe Malone, Matt Malone and former Tennessee Volunteer Basketball player Jon Higgins.  FTB Advisors took third place in the Championship flight with a 57 behind the play of Darrin Patterson, Matthew Renner, Patrick Johnson, Rhett Lankford and former Tennessee Volunteer All- American and NFL All-Pro Eddie Brown.

Andrew Johnson Bank took the first flight title with a 60 consisting of Art Rambo, Brent Ricker, Don Stacy, Steve Holt and former Tennessee Lady Vol basketball player Lisa McGill Reagan.  Petro Services was second in the flight with a 61 paced by Brian Foster, Randy Lindsay, Scott Honeycutt and Sid Lester.

Landair took the second flight in a scorecard playoff over American Greetings with a 63 consisting of golfers Eric Johnson, Matt Anderson, Matt Anderson Jr., Matt Duncan and tournament host and lead announcer for the Vol Network Bob Kesling.  American Greetings also carded a 63 behind the play of Chris Sentelle, Mike Collins, Scott Felts, Shawn Edwards and former Tennessee Volunteer running back Bill Rudder.

Other celebrities that participated in this year’s social and golf event included Brittney Ezell, Bill Baker, Dewey Warren, Drew Clemmons, Clark Duncan, Dale Jones, David Roop, Jeff Jacoby, John Warren, Johnny Mills, Kevin Shipley, Larry Seivers, Carl Torbush, Mike Jones, Paul Patterson, Haskel Stanback, Ron McCartney, Steve Forbes and Tony Wilhoit.

Prior to the golf tourney on Friday, Ananias Bonin took the top honors in the Putting Contest sponsored by Greeneville Federal Bank.  Other individual winners from the event included Larry Ottinger winning the long drive (#4).  Closest to the hole contests were won by Ryan Kamieneski (#3), Brian Fosters (#6), Jim Wittenburg (#14) and Thomas LaRue (#16). Top honors for the Holston Gases Pot of Orange went to Chuck Bowlin, Eddie Brown and Matt Doty, and the Dakota Packaging Charity Ball team winners were DTR Tennessee. Food at the golf ball drop event was provided by Fatz Café, Captain D’s and Pizza Inn. While Fatz Café and Ingles Markets provided the food for the tournament.

“Bob Kesling’s efforts toward this event are tremendous. We had a fantastic turnout from the celebrity golfers for our tournament again this year,” stated Darius Peedin, Co-Chairman of the tournament.  “We are very fortunate to have people willing to take time out of their busy schedules to help support the youth of Greeneville & Greene County by participating in our special event.”  “Kesling stated, “It is a great honor to be involved with Boys & Girls Clubs.  The impact the Boys & Girls Club makes on the youth in this community is priceless.  I hope that our tournament will help provide some additional funding for this great organization and the youth of Greeneville & Greene County.”

This annual event benefits the local Boys & Girls Club and was title sponsored by DTR Tennessee and Landair.  On Thursday night prior to the event the Boys & Girls Club held their inaugural Golf Ball Drop sponsored by Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Pizza Inn and Captain D’s. The golf balls were dropped by Sevier County Choppers on the 18th fairway with a chance for participants to win up to $5,000 cash.   Angie Newberry was the big winner from the golf ball drop as her ball was the closest to the hole and she won the $5,000 cash prize.

Other winners of the prizes included Lindsay Cutshaw, Loretta Hughes, Kristen Wilcox, Cline Everhart, Dustin Winter, Nathan Keys, Shane Lee, Nicole Pendleton and Dale Long. The Caribbean Cowboys provided entertainment at the Golf Ball Drop social event and Pepsi furnished the beverages for the event. On Friday, the Golf Classic event started with a lunch provided by Fatz Café and sponsored by Cook’s Mechanical Services and Takoma Regional Hospital followed by a round of golf and the evening was capped off with a buffet dinner sponsored by Forward Air. Other major sponsors included C&C Millwright, Grand Rental Station, Summers Taylor, The Vol Network and Tom & Carla Bewley.

The Boys & Girls Club is located at 740 West Church Street.  The Boys & Girls Club is open this summer from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday to Friday.  For more information on Boys & Girls Club events call Scott Bullington at 723-787-9322 or on for Boys & Girls Club programs contact Cathy Osborne at 787-9334 or visit the Club website at www.ggcbgc.org.  Pictures from the Bob Kesling Boys & Girls Club celebrity Golf Classic event can be found on the Club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BGClubofGreenevilleGreeneCounty

Jun 06

Inaugural Steak ‘N’ Burger Dinner a Success

Boys-and-Girls-Club-talkThe first ever Steak ‘N’ Burger at the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club turned out to be a much more emotional event than most of those in attendance thought it would be, thanks to a single mom whose children are members of the club, and University of Tennessee men’s basketball Coach Rick Barnes, who announced he will match the donations given Tuesday night.

The emotion began when Vicci Graham took the speaker’s podium at the luncheon held on the club’s basketball floor. Dressed humbly, Graham told the audience to bear with her because she was not accustomed to public speaking. She soon had everyone’s undivided attention as she told about what the club meant to her and her children.

Graham said she needed a day care so she could earn enough to support her family. Her financial plan was working until the day care she used gave only 48 hours notice it was going out of business.

Graham said she scrambled to find another place for her children so she could work. She said she knew it would be difficult because her daughter had special needs. She said the girl sometimes has bad days when she can be very difficult to discipline.

During her search, a friend suggested the Boys and Girls Club. “I had no other choice,” Graham said. In desperation, she enrolled the children in the club and went back to work, expecting to get a call from the club director’s any day, saying she needed to come and pick up her child because the club was unable to devote so much of its time on one little girl.

“That day never came,” Graham said. “They told my daughter she was loved and they spent time with her. She would get a hug each day from the staff.

Graham knew it must have sometimes been hard for the staff when her child was difficult, but she said, “It was hard for them, but they helper her through it.

“This club gave me more than I have ever known. I will forever be grateful, and I will always support this club.”

When she finished, the audience  immediately rose to give her a standing ovation.

That was a tough act to follow, but Barnes discussed how he grew up in Hickory, N.C., and found the community center there was similar to the Boys and Girls Club. “It got me involved in sports,” Barnes said.

He said another life-defining moment for him came when he was a young coach who was so caught up in his work that he neglected his family. That changed when his daughter said her mom and brother had found a new church and “we are living for each other and we want you with us.”

Barnes said both his son and his daughter are now missionaries. He said just like missionaries to other parts of the world, the people in the audience were also on a mission. He said there were two kinds of people that allow missionaries to do their work: “goers and supporters.” He said each one of them should be a supporter.

Barnes showed his support by offering to match the donations given on Tuesday by the approximately 200 people in attendance. The club hoped it might receive $4,000 in donations.

In addition to the donations given on Tuesday, Sam LaPorte, chairman of the board for the club, said the club raised $21,600 through the sale of tickets to the luncheon. Over $34,000 was raised in total.

LaPorte said this was the inaugural “Steak ‘N’ Burger for the Elizabethton club. Judging by the turnout and the emotions generated, it won’t be the last.

Read the original article here: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Charities-Fundraisers/2016/05/17/Barnes-matches-Tuesday-s-donation-to-the-Elizabethton-Boys-and-Girls-Club

Jun 06

Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee receives $156,500 Grant from Walmart Foundation for YouthForce TN

WalmartBoys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee received a $156,500 grant from the Walmart Foundation to assist with its youth career development program, YouthForce TN.

“Thanks to the Walmart Foundation, teens in Tennessee will have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with mentors, experience educational growth and participate in internships and job shadowing,” said Ernie Brooks, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee. “With this grant we will expand and grow this program to help hundreds of youth across the state.”

A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the educational, vocational and character development of youth in a safe, caring environment, Boys and Girls Clubs in Tennessee serve youth in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“At the Walmart Foundation, we understand that organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs are essential to building stronger communities. They share our values and are committed to helping young people to live better,” said Tammy Lane, Walmart asset protection manager. “Through this donation, the youth in Tennessee will receive valuable work experience and extensive job development opportunities.”

The grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee was made possible through the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program, which supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better, awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application. Applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria. Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online.

Over the last fiscal year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $35.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions to support nonprofit organizations and programs in Tennessee focused on fighting hunger and healthy eating, workforce development, disaster preparedness and other needs specific to many Tennessee communities. The Tennessee contributions are one piece of the $1.42 billion dollars total giving by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation during FY16.

May 19

Tim Irwin’s annual bass tournament ‘a labor of love’


Light had barely broken over Tellico Lake Saturday, when the first of three groups of two-man boats — 206 in all, that each paid $225 — hit the water at the Tellico Canal Ramp in Lenoir City.

About nine hours later, the 28th annual Irwin Food City Bass Tournament was complete, as each team brought its five biggest bass to the scales, hoping to be one of the top five teams that won cash awards.

Joel Wheelon of Rockford and Jason Chambers of Maryville, fishing buddies for 25 years, won the top prize of $10,500 with a weight of 21.18 pounds. They used mostly jig baits and fished around many different boat docks.

The tournament is directed by Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin and benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

Irwin, a Knoxville native and a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs growing up, was a four-year offensive tackle for Tennessee in the late 1970s, earning All-SEC honors his senior year. He also played 14 years in the NFL, 13 with the Minnesota Vikings.

Earning his law degree in 1990, he practiced law until 2005, when he was appointed Juvenile Court judge.

Irwin started the tournament with his father in 1989 as a way to promote his love of fishing and to thank the Boys and Girls Clubs for how it had helped him.

“Football wasn’t quite over but I could see the end coming, so we discussed how I could give back,” he said. “I’d been a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs so I wanted to use that vehicle to give back.”

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley serve 19 facilities in Knox, Loudon, Blount and North Anderson counties, providing a variety of services from school tutoring, kindergarten, meals, and even swimming lessons.

Food City has been the event’s main sponsor — one of many — for 18 years. Emerson Breeden, Director of Community Relations, is proud for the grocery chain to be involved.

“Our main concern is to help the kids,” he said. “The Boys and Girls Clubs is a very worthy organization and we’re very glad to be a part of it.

“Today has been an amazing day for our kids,” said Clubs’ Director of Special Events Amanda Brummerstedt. “Any day we can raise money for our kids, then we’re doing something right in our community.”

Saturday’s tournament raised about $75,000 for the Clubs, and Irwin believes the event has now surpassed $1 million total.

It’s been a labor of love,” he said.

Read the original article here: http://www.knoxnews.com/sports/local/tim-irwins-annual-bass-tournament-a-labor-of-love–3233576c-a326-4914-e053-0100007f4f80-378528565.html

May 19

More than 200 volunteers build unique and special playground


More than 200 volunteers worked Thursday to build a playground. However, they said it was more than a just playground to them. They were working to build an environment of learning and a safe haven for children in the Mid-South.

With all hands on deck, volunteers from across the country joined forces to build what they describe as a brain-expander, friend-maker, and muscle-builder in the Hickory Hill area. In fact, they did it in just six hours.

“It’s going to give the kids a place to come play on the playground, have a good time, meet up with each other, build some more relationships, more friendships,” Jeff Pendregrass said. “It’s going to do a lot for the kids here in the community.”

Through the $5 million partnership, The CarMax Foundation and KaBOOM! are building playgrounds throughout the United States.

This one, however, will be one-of-a-kind because students at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Memphis helped design it through a drawing contest.

“We were fortunate to be selected for a playground here in the Hickory Hill area,” Vinson Smith, Vice President of Operations for the Boys and Girls Club, said. “It’s important to our kids because kids need to have the opportunity to play.”

Working at max speed, the volunteers teamed up in groups to get the playground finished in just one day.

Organizers believe it will be a place of opportunity for years to come.

“Our number one priority is safety,” Smith said. “Second is fun and then, behind that, supportive relationships.”

“It’s an honor to do it, to give back to the community,” Pendregrass said. “CarMax is a great company and we would love to give back to our community, especially here in the hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.”

Read the original story here: http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/31962635/more-than-200-volunteers-build-unique-and-special-playground

May 03

Voice of the Vols Bob Kesling Speaks at Boys & Girls Club Fundraiser


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Bob Kesling, Voice of the Vols, starred as the keynote speaker at the 2016 LISEGA Steak & Burger Dinner on Thursday, April 21 at 6:30 pm at the Holiday Inn in Pigeon Forge to raise funds to help kids at Boys &Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains set goals for a great future.

This year’s event introduced mobile bidding which was used in conjunction with the silent auctin. Mobile bidding allowed guests to bid from anywhere at any time during the event via a smart phone or tablet. The silent auction began at 5:30 pm with a live auction taking place during dinner. Tablets and laptops were available to guests to use during the silent auction. The Old Mill sponsored the silent auction reception, having hors de’oevures for guests to sample while they competed for their favorite items.

Roger Westcott and his team at Texas Roadhouse once again partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains to provide great food and service for guests. The Steak & Burger Dinner is a signature event for Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide, where all guests dine on hamburgers while Club kids are able to feel special eating a steak dinner.

“The concept for the event is unusual in that community leaders can sit down face to face with the kids they help,” continues Mark Ross, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. “It’s a chance for the kids to say thank you, but more importantly, it’s a chance for them to share what the Club means to them and how these community leaders have helped them through the Club.”

Sponsors for the event included LISEGA, Texas Roadhouse, The Old Mill, Holiday Inn Pigeon Forge, IHOP Chapman Highway location and Smoky Mountain Balloon Company.

May 03

U.S. Cellular, Boys & Girls Clubs partner to improve STEM education, career exploration

U.S. Cellular and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley in Oak Ridge announced a donation of $5,000 for 2016 science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, programming.

This contribution will expand efforts to help Oak Ridge students succeed in school and prepare for future careers, a press release said. Together with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, U.S. Cellular is committed to building better communities by championing K-12 educational programs.

This is the second year U.S. Cellular will support academic programming at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley and nearly 60 additional club locations this year, with an emphasis on promoting literacy, STEM learning, and career exploration and preparation, the press release said.

“U.S. Cellular’s ongoing commitment to Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a reflection of our dedication to big and small cities, as well as rural communities we serve across the country,” said Nathan Waddell, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in Tennessee. “As we enter our second year, we are excited to continue to work with this organization to focus on STEM programming, as it is an important way to help youth develop relevant career and leadership skills.”

Supported programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley include educational and academic success programs, such as Youth of the Year.

“It is our mission to help youth achieve success in all areas of life,” said Jennifer Pettyjohn, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley. “With support from U.S. Cellular, we hope to inspire interest in important STEM subjects, continuing education initiatives and presentation, and interview skills that will translate into careers in STEM or any sustainable career path.”

To enhance academic achievement among youth, U.S. Cellular also engages its associates in ongoing volunteer opportunities, such as mentoring and hands-on learning experiences at local clubs. To further expand their impact, U.S. Cellular associates are once again participating in National Volunteer Month in April with the company’s annual “Month of Giving” program. After surpassing last year’s inaugural goal of 30,000 volunteer hours, U.S. Cellular announced a goal of 35,000 volunteer hours for 2016.

U.S. Cellular has a longstanding commitment to the community and education and has contributed more than $8.35 million to local educational programming since 2009, the press release said.

For more information, visit uscellular.com/communityinvolvement.

Read the original article here: http://oakridgetoday.com/2016/04/23/u-s-cellular-boys-girls-clubs-partner-to-improve-stem-education-career-exploration/#more-70252

Apr 16

2016 Tennessee State Youth of the Year Competition

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