Boys and Girls Club looks to expand in Porter County
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2013 1:22PM
For more on what the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County have to offer, go to www.bgcpoco.org.
Updated: December 11, 2013 6:08AM
Ryan Smiley, recently named as president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County, sees growth in the clubs’ future.
“I see tremendous growth potential with our clubs in Porter County, and would like to expand that to underserved areas in Porter County as well,” he said.
Smiley has served as interim president since February, when former president Chuck Leer retired. He is a native of Chesterton and, after graduating from college in Florida and working for various YMCAs there, has moved to Valparaiso. Smiley, 36, and his wife, Dena, have two children.
Smiley started as director of operations at the clubs in April 2012. He is the third person to lead the agency in its history.
The Boys and Girls Clubs’ mission, he said, is to serve the children who need it most.
“While we’re serving approximately one in eight school-age children in Porter County, there are another seven who could potentially benefit in some capacity from our programs and services,” he said.
While the clubs have facilities and programs in the north part of the county, including Valparaiso, Chesterton, Portage, and in the Union Township schools, there are no services in southern Porter County.
Smiley said it is part of the clubs’ strategic planning process to look at the areas not being served for potential expansion.
“We want to complement other services families are receiving. We don’t want to compete, because we have a very unique business model,” he said.
“For the affordable price of $35 a year, people are amazed at all of the programs we offer,” he said.
That includes tutoring and mentoring, philanthropy and citizenship, and an emphasis on healthy lifestyles, including sports and camps programs.
“There’s a plethora of things to do that any parent would want their kids to be involved in, and kids who come here love their club, because it’s their club,” he said.
For more on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County, go to www.bgcpoco.org.