Boys & Girls Club planning for post-pandemic needs

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | February 25, 2021

BELOIT — As the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs in Beloit and South Beloit forge ahead with a capital plan to build a new facility in Beloit, they are developing a tactical plan to best support the community in a post-pandemic world.

It’s been an unusual year for the club as it’s provided distance learning support for School District of Beloit students during the day in addition to after-school support to area youth.

“This is the first time in Stateline Boys & Girls Club’s 66-year history that we have been open for all-day programming throughout the school year,” said CEO Mark Rand. “When all is said and done, we will have been open for all-day programming for approximately 18 months. This is a true testament to the hearts of our staff. They made it possible.”

From Sept. 1, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021, the Beloit club served 129 youth with an average 49 children served per day.

It has been unable to serve 43 children due to capacity limits.

Due to the increased usage of the building, staffing was a challenge as hours increased. Extra costs included staffing, supplies, utilities and technology upgrades.

Members of the Stateline Boys and Girls Club Capital Campaign are forging ahead with the $5.5 million capital campaign aimed at building a new facility in Beloit and upgrading the South Beloit site.

“In spite of the current pandemic, we’ve been able to maintain great momentum in securing pledges and support,” said Campaign Committee Chair Jim Packard Jr. “We are appreciative of the commitments and generosity we’ve seen thus far.”

With groundbreaking planned in early April, Rand said he is confident in the Clubs’ ability to open the new Beloit facility in late 2021 or early 2022.

The Stateline Boys & Girls Club will build its new Beloit facility at 202 Maple Ave., 1500 Shore Drive and a northern portion of 1459 Sixth St. across from Beloit Memorial High School. The current Beloit building is on the far west side of town at 1851 Moore St. The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor to be closer to community partners, in particular the Beloit Memorial High School’s student population. Not only will the new site expand its reach to teens, but will be more visible and accessible as it will be located on school bus routes.

The new facility would offer expanded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities, increased teen programming and allow for increased capacity to reach more youth. The center would also allow for community collaborations for career exploration and cooking classes.

The new facility will be 23,780-square-feet compared to its existing space in Beloit of 16,000 square feet which was built in 1960.

The clubs currently have 1,200 total members. With the expanded Beloit facilities, Rand expects the membership could increase by 25-35%.

The Campaign can be followed on the Club’s website for updates or to make donations. For more information, contact Rand at 608-365-8874 or [email protected].

Joel Barrett and Beloit Boys Club were synonymous

Jim Franz/Beloit Daily News | October 27, 2020

 BELOIT—Joel Barrett may have left the Beloit Boys & Girls Club 22 years ago, but current Stateline Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand says his imprint remains strong because of the thousands of people he impacted during his 35 years in the city.

“I don’t think you could talk to anyone in Beloit who had dealings with Joel who wouldn’t have nice things to say about him,” Rand said. “He was a great person and his stamp is all over the club, for sure.”

Barrett, who was the Beloit club’s executive director from 1964-99, passed away last month in Kentucky at 82.

Rand said Barrett will be inducted into the Wisconsin Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame next year.

“The honor is long overdue,” said Rand, whose first contact with Barrett came as a youngster attending the club after his parents moved to Beloit in 1979.

Rand is currently helping to oversee a $5.5 million capital campaign drive to fund a new Boys & Girls Club facility in Beloit and upgrade the South Beloit site.

“When we’re out talking to donors we mention that the last capital campaign was over 20 years ago when Joel oversaw it,” Rand said. “He wanted to retire, but the board asked him to stay on to see the campaign through to its completion.”

Barrett did see that $1.9 million capital campaign succeed, allowing for expansion and renovation to the Beloit and South Beloit clubs which were transitioning to becoming Boys & Girls Clubs. He then retired in 1999.

Barrett grew up in Winchester, Indiana, and attended Murray State in Kentucky. His first job was as physical director of the Binghamton (New York) Boys Club. After two years there, he became program director and later executive director of the Lebanon Boys Club in Indiana.

Barrett was 26 years old when he took over the E.J. Dalton Beloit Club in 1964. That was just four years after the club had opened at 1851 Moore St. The Boys Club saw rapid growth in the Stateline Area and the South Beloit Boys Club on Door Road was added in 1969.

Barrett was an active member of the Boys Club Professional Association and served as national president of the group. He was a recipient of the Midwest Region’s Heart and Soul Award in 1981, the Boys Clubs of America Bronze Keystone with Service Bar and the Boys Club’s Professional Association Distinguished Service Award.

Barrett also was active in community, serving on the Beloit Police and Fire Commission and Beloit Noon Kiwanis Club.

Barrett had opportunities to move on during his long stay in Beloit, but he and his wife, Ann, were content here.

“This is the size we like, growing up in a smaller community,” Barrett told the Daily News in 1998. “There have been opportunities to move to larger city Boys Clubs. I guess I just wasn’t interested in big-city life. The Greater Beloit community has been very supportive of our situation. There are a lot of people who understand our mission and what we’re trying to do for the kids.”

Beloit native Tim Wofford, the current Chief Operating Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Birmingham, Alabama, credits Barrett with giving him an ultimatum that led to his career choice.

An outstanding athlete at Beloit Memorial High School and Western Illinois, Wofford was still chasing a professional football career when Barrett hired him as the Unit Director in Beloit. He had nearly made the roster of the then-St. Louis Cardinals when he broke his foot.

“I felt at the time that I could make it in the NFL if I could just stay healthy,” Wofford said. “When my agent called, I was still going to tryouts with Joel’s permission. But he finally said, and not in a mean way, ‘I’m not into killing anyone’s dreams, but you are going to have to make a decision—football or the Boys Club. It isn’t fair to the kids or your staff there.’ It was a hard decision, but Joel was right. I turned my focus and that’s really how my story began.”

Wofford has been involved with Boys & Girls Clubs for 32 years.

“I’ve never regretted that decision,” he said. “When I began my career, Joel gave me my first opportunity and without his coaching points along the way, I would not be where I am today. I love what I do.”

Barrett, who lived in Kuttawa, Kentucky, passed away Sept. 15. Survivors included Ann, his wife of 61 years, one daughter, Suzanne (Robert) Pollard of Pinehurst, North Carolina, one son, Jordan Barrett of Kuttawa and two grandchildren, Claire Sullivan and Nathan Pollard.

Tony Carr: learn from history and treat others how you want to be treated

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | September 24, 2020

Beloit athletic legend and author Tony Carr likes to not only talk about history, but show it. His collection of more than 500 pieces of Black memorabilia, including many offensive items, are painful but important reminders of the reality of racism right here in the Midwest.

He has items including stove polish and tobacco using the “N” word and items from the Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps the most jarring is the figurine of an African-American baby in the mouth of an alligator from 1930 which Carr bought in the Roscoe area.

“It can be very shocking to bring up things people don’t want to see or hear,” Carr said.

Carr hopes the shock of the memorabilia will make people truly understand the deep-rooted racism which permeated society and the ugliness to guard against today.

In an interview with the Beloit Daily News, Carr described his upbringing as a Black youngster in Beloit and how he uses his experiences to teach about the history of racism and how it shaped his and his family’s lives. Most recently he compiled his stories in the book, “Time Bring About a Change.” A frequent speaker on multicultural awareness in the Minneapolis area, Carr has conducted diversity training at one of his favorite places in Beloit, The Stateline Boys & Girls Club.

Carr was born to the late Robert Carr and Farrie Carr in Beloit and still has lots of cousins in the area. When he was age 9, in 1969, Burdge Elementary was in his neighborhood, but he had to walk to what was then a mostly white school, Royce. The district had been rezoned in response to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which made racial discrimination in public places illegal and resulted in Supreme Court rulings forcing schools to desegregate.

“My grandfather sat me down and told me it would be OK and that I was no different than anyone else,” he said.

Going to Royce, he said, made him who he is today. The rich diversity of Beloit gave him friends of all different races and backgrounds.

Although he endured his share of racial insults as a child, Carr said he made connections with others on the basketball court. He befriended kids at the former Boys Club, now the Stateline Boys & Girls Club, where he played little league, wiffle ball, basketball and more.

“That was my safe place,” he said. “Come Saturday morning I couldn’t wait to be there and it would be there all day long.”

When asked what he thought about the club’s plans to build a new facility near Beloit Memorial High School, he joked he was a bit mad he’s not a kid anymore as it would have been close to his house in Beloit.

After honing his athletic skills at the club, Carr succeeded in high school athletics. On March 18, 1978, Carr and the Beloit Memorial Purple Knights basketball team played a nail biter versus Wisconsin Rapids. Carr sank two free-throws with two seconds remaining to secure the win, and a spot in the state championship game. Following a successful high school basketball career, Carr joined UW Eau Claire’s basketball team, becoming the university’s career scoring leader. He continued his career by earning a spot on the US Olympic Trial team and ultimately was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1982.

Today, Carr works to better the lives of others through his career at Merrick, Inc. and the American Red Cross in addition to his volunteer work.

Since the late 80s, he’s been speaking about diversity and sharing some of his shocking memorabilia in presentations to educational institutions, businesses and churches. Although people are sometimes a little too nervous to say much during the question and answer part of his presentation, he usually gets a line-up of people following the event seeking to talk to him one on one, and he always welcomes the opportunity to have dialogue about race.

When asked his thoughts on people taking down statues or other monuments which some believe represent the country’s racist past, Carr said he is torn. He said he feels uneasy about the icons or the Confederate flag. He understands they are ugly and a reminder of unspeakable acts for some African Americans. However, he also said he is intrigued as they are part of history and can be spoken about to enlighten people.

“There’s an education behind everything. It’s important to know what they represent and it might be opposite of what some believe,” he said.

If Carr came upon such a statue, he would probably incorporate it into a presentation and speak on it. He said he uses his memorabilia and other offensive symbols to motivate him.

Carr said Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an outgrowth of people getting tired of racism and standing up and speaking out. Unfortunately, he said the movement has been hijacked by other infiltrators not associated with the movement.

“BLM has its role and brought a lot of issues to light. Other grassroots groups are getting involved that are not a positive influence,” Carr said.

Carr said many people aren’t aware of the strong racism of the past prevalent in cartoons such as Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry and other children’s toys depicting African Americans as subservient and turning them into caricatures. Many of the items are from the not-so-distant past.

Today there is still a lack of appropriate representation of Blacks. Carr said many companies say they support Black Lives Matter, but he questions how many people of color they have on their boards or in high level positions.

“If you are going to say it, let’s live it. It’s not we want a handout, we want an opportunity to compete,” he said.

However, Carr said positive change is happening. He cited some of Proctor & Gambles commercials as being more inclusive and helping others understand stereotypes. More people of color are taking leadership roles in business and beyond and it gives him hope.

The key of progress, Carr said, boils down to what his parents taught him.

“Treat people the way you want to be treated. If we can do that we can accomplish a lot,” he said. “We really have to listen to one another and respect one another to get to the next level.”

Carr and his wife Amy live in Stillwater, Minn., and have four teenagers.

Beloit council approves Boys and Girls Club plan for new facility

Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News | September 22, 2020

BELOIT—The plan to bring a new Stateline Boys and Girls Club facility to downtown Beloit is one step closer to reality after the Beloit City Council took action Monday to approve the project’s master land use plan.

The council unanimously approved a plan to combine 202 Maple Ave., 1500 Shore Drive and a northern portion of 1459 Sixth St. into a 4.4 acre parcel of land while the city will retain 1.9 acres of adjacent land as open space by the creek that runs near the site.

The proposed facility is 23,700 square feet to include athletic fields, on-site parking and driveways, according to the application submitted with the master land use plan.

The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor nearer community partners, in particular the Beloit Memorial High School’s student population. The Stateline Boys and Girls Club facility in South Beloit is at 1161 Dorr Road.

New offerings would include expanded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities, increased teen programming and increased capacity to reach more youth. Career exploration and cooking classes also may be offered.

The clubs currently have 2,000 total members.

A capital campaign is underway to raise funds for the project with a goal of $5.5 million. To-date, the organization has raised $87,825, according to the Boys and Girls Club website.

Beloit students head online for first day of school

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | September 8, 2020

BELOIT — School District of Beloit students took to their iPads on Tuesday as the first day of school commenced with all online learning.

Some children were doing their learning at home while others were at Beloit’s Stateline Boys and Girls Club, Stateline Family YMCA and area daycare facilities.

The School District of Beloit will be offering online-only schooling for the first nine weeks of the school year. Families had the option of attending Beloit Virtual School offered by district staff or the state’s K12 online platform.

Forty-five kids in kindergarten through eighth grades were set up at desks at the Boys and Girls Club with staff helping them with the online curriculum. The club received desks from the school district and donated school supplies from Lowe’s, according to Boys and Girls Club CEO Mark Rand and Director of School Age Programs Emily Peterson.

The club opened Aug. 31 to get kids in a solid routine before online school started Tuesday. Families were asked to provide their child’s schedule and associated passwords and to send their children to the club with their district-issued iPads. The school district delivered lunches to the students.

Rand said the club is working with the school district to possibly open up 15 more spots for students in its lower gym.

According to earlier information from Stateline Family YMCA CEO Ann Hankins, the YMCA Ironworks branch had 20 spots available to offer remote learning days for families who needed supervision for their kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Kiddie Ranch owner Marilyn Sloniker said online learning support is also being offered at her daycare.

McNeel Intermediate School Principal Michelle Hendrix-Nora said intermediate classes started being taught at 9 a.m. Teachers were in their classrooms providing the virtual lessons as they and other staff were responding to parents via phone and Google meets throughout the school day to help get them up and running. Materials will be distributed to students later this week.

“Teachers are in their rooms and meeting their students. They are getting to know them, helping them figure out when to go to class and how to support students and their families,” Hendrix-Nora said.

Hendrix-Nora said the day featured the excitement of a first day of school, although it felt a little different not having the 550 kids in the building.

Grab and Go breakfast and lunch meals are being provided and will continue through distance learning. All children in our community age 1 to 18 are eligible to receive the meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at all the elementary schools and at Beloit Memorial High School. On Fridays the district is providing an additional two breakfasts and two lunch meals for kids to have during the weekend. Those obtaining the meals do not have to be School District of Beloit children as it’s open to all kids.

Interim Superintendent Dan Keyser said he was excited to welcome back students and families and planned to visit a few schools today and check-in with our staff and distance learning classrooms.

“You might just see me participating in a few classroom sessions today,” he said.

Keyser said planning for the first day began several months ago. Staff started the school year with a strong curriculum, technology support and tutorials, video-recorded class sessions, virtual face-to-face learning, common digital platforms and off-line learning materials.

“We wanted to be able to provide a comprehensive, multi-component delivery of education in the best possible way to our students during distance learning. I know how important it is for students to connect with their teachers for successful and engaging learning; we have made that possible while in distance learning,” he said.

When starting off the school year, Keyser said he always recommends and encourages students to get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast and show up every day ready to learn.

“Attending class and participating in classroom assignments and activities are vitally important to a student’s academic and social success at school,” Keyser said.

Stateline Boys & Girls Club | Beloit

Boys and Girls Clubs of Beloit: Helping schools during the pandemic

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – School districts across the country will try to combat an outbreak of Covid-19 by reminding students to wear a face mask and keep a distance from their classmates, but administrators must also plan for the worst.

“We are here for the child care aspect, but we are also here to support the distance or virtual learning,” said Mark Rand, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Beloit.

If an outbreak becomes uncontainable and facilities must shut down, some community organizations say they could step in to provide childcare, or learning situations for students.

As of now, the full-time day care learning option ends Tuesday. Administrators say the program is at full capacity with 30 students.

“We have the protocols in place, now we just need to execute it and follow that,” said Rand.

Making accommodations like this are what staff members say they will continue to do as the school year progresses.

“When this is all said and done, we are just going to be happy that we were able to do what we could. We are going to be grateful for the opportunity to do something we have never done before,” said Emily Peterson, Director of School Aged Programs at The Boys and Girls Club of Beloit.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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Check out WCLO’s podcast in which CEO, Mark Rand, and Capital Campaign Chair, Jim Packard, Jr. speak about the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs proposed capital campaign.  We are excited to continue Building Great Futures for our Community.

Stateline Boys & Girls Club Capital Campaign underway

BELOIT — Members of the Stateline Boys & Girls Club Capital Campaign are forging ahead with the $5.5 million capital campaign aimed at building a new facility in Beloit and upgrading the South Beloit site.

The Beloit City Council approved the sale of land at 202 Maple Ave., 1500 Shore Drive and a northern portion of 1459 Sixth St. for the future facility on Monday.

The land sale price was $1 with an agreement that land ownership goes back to the city if the Boys and Girls Club fails to complete the project.

“The acquisition of the property on Maple and Sixth Street is another exciting step in our journey toward our ultimate goal of building a new club facility in Beloit, and renovating our existing South Beloit facility,” said Stateline Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand.

“We continue to have conversations with stakeholders in the community and will utilize those conversations to guide us in our process,” said Campaign Chair Jim Packard Jr. “We continue to meet and plan as a committee, and pay close attention to the current environment. Ultimately, we will remain diligent and focused on our goal of raising the $5.5 million for our proposed capital campaign. We look forward to continuing to update the community of our progress.”

The current Beloit building is on the far West Side of Beloit at 1851 Moore St. The focus will be for the new facility to be more centrally located along the Fourth Street corridor nearer community partners, in particular the Beloit Memorial High School’s student population. The Stateline Boys and Girls Club facility in South Beloit is at 1161 Dorr Road.

Not only will the new site expand its reach to teens, but will be more visible and accessible as it will be located on school bus routes.

The new facility would offer expanded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities, increased teen programming and allow for increased capacity to reach more youth. The center also would allow for community collaborations for career exploration and cooking classes.

The new facility would be 23,000-square-feet compared to its existing space in Beloit of 16,000 square feet which was built in 1960.

“The new facility will be designed around the programming needs of the community now and into the future,” Rand said.

The clubs currently have 2,000 total members. With the expanded Beloit facilities, Rand expects the membership could increase by 25%.

The Capital Campaign Committee has been meeting for eight months to discuss strategy. Its members have a long history with the clubs.

Packard recently retired from Regal Beloit Corporation after more than 35 years of service and he has a history with the club as a member, coach, board member and supporter.

“I have lots of fond memories there,” Packard said. “It’s a great place. When you are in there, you can feel it’s serving a great purpose.”

Vicki Bryden is owner of Bryden Motors. She and her family including her late husband, Roger Bryden, have long been supporters of the clubs. Bryden said she’s met many college graduates who took part in activities at the clubs.

“It’s the basis of good values,” she said.

Steve Hahn retired from Taylor Company. He was a long-time board member of the clubs and also served as board president for a number of years.

Vice President of Employee Benefits at TRICOR Insurance Jeff Klett grew up a club member and has been a long-time supporter.

Mike Marquette of Century 21 Affiliate, grew up a club member and was awarded Member of the Year in his younger days. As an adult, Marquette remains a long-time supporter of the clubs and continues to volunteer.

Brenda Jensen, a commercial portfolio manager at BMO Harris Bank, is the

interim vice president and treasurer of the Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs Board of Directors.

Higher Ground Christian Center Pastor Sherrick Anderson also grew up a Club member and supporter.

Packard said the Committee is looking for more volunteers to assist them in other areas of the campaign.

Boys & Girls Club to offer childcare with virtual learning support

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | August 17, 2020

BELOIT — The Stateline Boys & Girls Club, 1851 Moore St., Beloit, will be offering essential full-time childcare with virtual learning support starting on Aug. 31.

The decision was made in response to the School District of Beloit moving to online-only schooling for the first nine weeks of this school year and some parents needing help with their children’s learning while they are at work. The School District of Beloit begins its virtual schooling on Sept. 8.

“We are doing anything we can to support the needs of the community and the school district,” said Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand. “If the little bit we can do can help, then that’s what we are going to do.”

“Our mission is to support those who need it most,” said Boys & Girls Club Director of School-age Programs Emily Peterson.

There are 30 total openings for the program, and 16 were filled as of Monday.

“We expect to be full by midweek,” Peterson said.

The program is only for children with parents or caregivers who are working or having a reason which bars them from caring for their children during the day.

Two weeks ago the Boys & Girls Club met with the School District of Beloit, Community Action and the Stateline Family YMCA and offered to help by providing a distance learning support center for kids.

The Boys and Girls Club’s new program will run from 7:30 a.m.—3 p.m. daily. Children in the program would then be eligible to transition into the after school program from 3—6:30 p.m. if necessary.

Reliable internet and computer devices will be offered if the children do not have access to them. Staff will be trained to support the online learning of small groups of five to 10 children similar to a tutoring session.

“Our staff will be trained to support each child with learning, whether maintaining a schedule, getting to their Zoom meetings, contacting their teachers and helping with assignments. They aren’t teaching, but are supporting students and ensuring the work gets done,” Peterson said.

The children and staff will be socially distanced, wearing masks, doing bi-hourly hand washings and undergoing health screenings as the facility gets additional cleaning and sanitizing.

The Boys and Girls Club also will be providing shuttles out to schools in the Turner School District this year to pick up kids for its after-school programs. Teen programming also will be offered from 6—8 p.m. for ages 13 and up.

All children in attendance in the after school program will get a full dinner at 5:30 p.m.

The Boys & Girls Club closed down on March 16 due to COVID-19, but reopened in South Beloit on June 1 and in Beloit on June 8 with its new safety plans. There are 38 staff members between the two sites. So far, there have been no cases of COVID-19 among staff or students.

This summer the Club ran programming with three groups of no more than 15 students which include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities, art and other academic programming as well as lots of outdoor play and some nature field trips.

Currently the space limit is 60 for after school programs, although there is potential to increase it as Wisconsin moves forward with reopening.

The South Beloit Club will be open as usual for after school hours with the limitation of 50 kids. The South Beloit site is already full with Aug. 19 being the first day of school in the South Beloit School District.

Boys and Girls Club welcomes back members

Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News | June 25, 2020

BELOIT—Stateline Boys & Girls Clubs in Beloit and South Beloit have had youth back in Club sites for a couple of weeks now. Staff and members have adjusted well to the additional cleaning and safety precautions, and are enjoying STEM-based programming and safe socialization. The clubs have been able to service approximately 100 youth since re-opening as of June 18 and hope to serve more as the summer continues and safety recommendations evolve.

Members were welcomed back to the clubs by Beloit native, former NFL coach and former club member Jim Caldwell. Caldwell recorded a video for youth promising a safe environment and sharing his memories as a kid growing up at the club, making new friends and staying active.

“The summers were special because of the school year ending. It allowed for extra time to enjoy good, clean fun,” Caldwell shared. He continued by stating, “I would often times spend the entire day there.”

The club was honored to receive Caldwell’s support in promoting its proposed capital campaign. Caldwell cited the $5 million fundraising effort as “a needed update for the community and a noble cause.”

Although the solicitation phase of the campaign has not yet begun in light of COVID-19, planning and promotion continue at full steam. A flexible timeline should still allow for the completion renovations to the existing South Beloit facility and a brand new Beloit facility at the corner of 6th Street and Maple Avenue by late 2021.

A website dedicated to the capital campaign can be found at

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