History of the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club Organization
As early as 1952, concerned citizens of the Owensboro area inquired about establishing a local affiliate of the National Boys Club Movement. Due to lack of support, the idea was set aside until 1954 when a group of highly regarded local individuals revisited the idea.
In mid 1966, a Board of Directors was formed, and on February 1, 1967, an Executive Director was hired to formally make the organization a reality. A building donated by the Trinity Episcopal Church at 407 West 5th Street was the first home of the Owensboro Boys Club. The Club opened its doors on April 15, 1967, and in late April 1967 approval was granted to rename the Club in honor of Mr. Cliff Hagan. On July 11, 1967, the Cliff Hagan Boys Club was chartered by Boys Clubs of America.
It soon became apparent that the existing facilities were not adequate for the membership. In the spring of 1972, the Boys Club moved to 1512 Frederica Street where the Club was housed in a larger facility and a more prominent location. In January 1985, due to high program demands, the Club extended its services to Estes Elementary School. Club activities now took place in two different locations in Owensboro making it the organization’s first expansion. In 1990, the Cliff Hagan Boys Club and the Housing Authority of Owensboro initiated a joint venture to provide services to youth in a new facility on the east side of Owensboro, an area uncharted by the organization at that time. At the end of the 1991 school year, the Estes Unit Closed, and on September 3, 1991, the Rolling Heights Unit opened its doors at the new facility provided by the Housing Authority of Owensboro. The Rolling Heights location primarily served youth from Estes Elementary School but gave the Club more programming space than the location at Estes Elementary.
To meet the challenges of the 1990’s and beyond the Club’s Board of Directors, after much study and effort, elected to open its programs and services to Owensboro’s girls at a meeting on October 11, 1990. On October 28, 1993, the Board voted to change the organization’s name to the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club, Inc.
From October 1, 1996, through July 28, 2000, an additional school-site operated at Foust Elementary on the city’s west side was opened. On August 2, 1999, in a joint venture with the City of Owensboro the Dugan Best Teen Center began providing services to youth ages 11-18 years old. This location continued to operate until March 2007.
In August 2001, in anticipation of building a new Boys & Girls Club, the existing location on Frederica Street was closed, and the Administrative Offices were leased from an area business. In November 2001, the Board of Directors approved the purchase of 5.8 acres in the Apollo/Heritage Park neighborhood in Owensboro, KY. A Capital Campaign was launched in January 2002. After a two year, multi-million-dollar campaign, construction on the new Club began in September 2004. The new 28,000 square foot Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club Mike Horn Unit opened to the public on October 14, 2005. The organization quickly expanded again in 2012 at the Mike Horn Unit location. A 3,000 square foot room was added onto the Unit to accommodate more youth and programming opportunities.
In collaboration with a group of concerned citizens and the South Spencer School Corporation, the Rockport Elementary and Luce Elementary Extensions were opened in August 2004. These Extensions provided after-school programming for the youth of Spencer County, IN. The Luce Extension was closed in May 2008 when Luce Elementary began its own after school program. The Rockport Extension still continues to operate to the present day under a different Boys & Girls Club organization, Boys & Girls Club of Evansville. The Rockport Extension was transferred to the Evansville organization in July 2023. The collaboration between the CHBGC and Evansville was a positive one. This transfer would help Rockport be able to request more funding through grant processes, like the Lilly Foundation, and grow further resourcing needs because their head Club site was now located in Indiana.
The need for a Boys & Girls Club in Henderson has been well documented. In 2012, Methodist Hospital completed a 2013-2015 Community Needs Health Assessment (CHNA) for their community. As a result of the information gained through the CHNA 2013-2015, Methodist Hospital initiated Healthy Henderson to promote health and wellness throughout the community. Healthy Henderson formed subgroups to focus on each of the three identified needs: obesity/diabetes, teen issues and smoking cessation. (Note: the committee represented a broad spectrum of health professionals who meet monthly to implement evidence-based actions to provide positive outcomes in the areas addressed in the Community Health Needs Assessment.)
The group set in motion the vision of opening a Boys & Girls Club in Henderson. In 2016 Melissa Clements, Director of United Way of Henderson County, joined forces with Steve Gold, Henderson County Attorney, and Herbie McKee, Henderson County Circuit Court Clerk, because of the high rate of juvenile delinquency in the county. Funding for 21st Century after school programs was ended at the schools which left few options for parents who needed after school care; especially those families whose incomes could not support traditional after school programs. The group searched for alternatives and their search led to the recommendation of opening a Boys & Girls Club in Henderson. Healthy Henderson also echoed their findings in the 2018-2021 Green River Area Development District Community Health Improvement Plan Update for 2018-2021.
Thanks to the hard work of many Henderson citizens, the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson opened in August 2019 at the Community Baptist Church. The location was never meant to be the permanent location but a temporary one until a building could be located that was larger and could serve more youth. After reviewing several locations, the Armory was chosen due to the location in Henderson, the capacity of the building and its potential to grow. The Capital Campaign journey to finding the Club’s forever home started immediately. The state of Kentucky deeded the surplus Armory property to the city of Henderson who in turn gave the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson the deed to the property. The $3.2 million dollar Capital Campaign process was started to establish not only a permanent location for our Henderson County Club members but also a community event center. The Henderson Advisory Board members, Capital Campaign committee, and BGC Staff still work tirelessly to this day to provide their Club members with their next Great Moments. Echoing all of the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club sites, the Henderson Unit will be affordable to all parents and provide a safe environment for their after school and summer Club members. The Henderson Unit happily opened its doors at its permanent location on October 23, 2023. What was once the old Armory in Henderson is now the newly renovated permanent home for Boys & Girls Club of Henderson.
Boys & Girls Club of America started to implement the consolidation process of smaller Boys & Girls Clubs merging with larger Clubs across the nation. This strategic planning’s purpose was to make each Club system stronger both financially and organizationally. In September 2020, a merger was formed between the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club organization and the Boys & Girls Club of Butler County. Butler County has two different Club sites, one Extension located in the North Butler Elementary School and a stand-alone Unit called the Town Club. Both of these sites would now be under the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club organizational umbrella. Since the merger, Boys & Girls Club of Butler County has grown in membership rates, financially, and organizationally. This merger has allowed Butler County to grow in strength as well as provide more programming services to their youth. In 2023 more changes and expansions grew in Butler County. To this day Butler County now has 3 Club sites: an extension in North Butler Elementary School, an extension in Morgantown Elementary School (opened in August), and the Town Club. The Town Club will be converted into a Teen Center and begin operations on January 8, 2024. This site will be specifically for teens in Butler County and focus on Workforce Development.
The CHBGC organization expanded again in August of 2021. The Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club Ohio County Extension has been a long-awaited dream come true for community leaders. For years, the Ohio County Advisory Board has worked closely with the Ohio County Public School System to bring the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club organization to their community. Three criteria must be met in order to consider implementing a Boys & Girls Club in the area: 1) Is there a need for the Club in the community? 2) Does the Community want a Boys & Girls Club? 3) Will there be available financing to sustain it? The committee answered the call to all three. The Ohio County Extension was opened in August of 2021 serving youth between the ages of 6-18 years old. This opening helped address the need for both affordable and safe childcare for the community as well as a recreational facility for youth after school which didn’t currently exist. To this day, the Ohio County Extension has been voted on and approved by the necessary Boards to turn into a fully Unit. Ohio County’s location will now be open for both afterschool and summer programming.