The Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri will spend 2015 celebrating its 55th anniversary of serving children in the west central Missouri area.

Founded in 1960, the Sedalia Boys Club – as it was first known – was organized by several community members and civic organizations who recognized that young boys needed a safe place to go after school. Despite its humble beginnings with only a volunteer board to run the entire operation, the Sedalia Boys Club prospered, eventually allowing girls to attend in the 1980s. In 1990, the Club expanded to Sedalia’s five elementary schools, a partnership between the Club and the Sedalia 200 School District that continues to this day.

Thanks in part to grant funding, the Club was able to expand to several outlying areas, including Smithton in 2002, La Monte and Leeton in 2006, and Cole Camp, Green Ridge and Sedalia Middle School in 2007.

Today, the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri serves approximately 1,300 members yearly, providing programs based on physical, emotional, cultural and social needs.

“The success of the Club has always been made possible by community and business leaders who recognize the importance of providing children a place for Great Futures to start,” said Executive Director Jessica Pyle. “Since 1960, the Club has prospered due to the community members who became investors in the Club; whether they gave their time, their finances or their expertise, their commitment to the Club is valuable.”

Board President Darren Pannier echoed those thoughts, adding that he was especially thankful to those civic groups and community members who worked to bring a Boys Club to the community.

“They are the reason we are here today,” he said. “We’re looking forward to another 55 years of serving youth in the west central Missouri area.”

“The greater the positive impact we have on young people today, the better able we are to fulfill our mission to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential as caring and productive citizens,” Pyle added. “We look forward to many more great years of positive changes within our young people and our community.”