The Club we see today is rooted in the vision of Jim Larsen, a teacher at Sturgeon Bay High School who, in the 1940’s, believed students needed a safe place to go after school. His dedication to serving students continued into a new century by becoming the Jim Larsen Boys & Girls Club. During this time, the club expanded services to middle school and elementary students, and had sites at Sawyer Elementary School, The Marshall House, and administrative offices at the Door County Development Corporation.
In 2003, influential, and dedicated Board Members and staff charted a new course to become affiliated with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With Heather Powell as CEO, the explosive growth and broadened learning and development services offered by the club were launched. At her side for several years was Program, then Operations Director Julie Davis. Julie took over from Heather in October 2013 and remains in that position at the Club.
The Boys & Girls Club of Door County grew from 75 youth in 2011 to over 520 youth in 2017. The Club realized it needed a larger site to accommodate its efforts and to consolidate all three sites into one main building. In May 2014, the Club opened the doors to its new location in downtown Sturgeon Bay: The David G. Hatch Center on 3rd Ave and Nebraska. It is part of the Midwest Region of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
In October 2014, Julie Davis was named as Best Executive Director in the Midwest Region. The Club itself was awarded a $5000 grant from the Metlife Foundation for Best in Nation for small Clubs. The Club has also received the prestigious Honor Award for Overall Program Excellence for Clubs.
The focus of the Club is to provide for a child’s basic needs FIRST, and then to concentrate on homework and activities. While food and clothing are the basics, Boys & Girls Clubs additionally provide support with education enrichment and career skills, the arts, health and life skills, social and emotional learning and simply having fun. It is Boys & Girls Club of Door County’s ongoing effort to expand club training programs, provide basic needs, and continue with encouragement and learning to every child who needs it.