Champions in training

Boys and Girls Club boosters help mold future Blount champions

Boosters of the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County helped make a better future for club members recently during their annual banquet at the Eagleton facility.

More than $6,500, and plenty of awareness of the program’s impact, was raised recently during the fourth annual Boys and Girls Club banquet. This year’s theme was “Help us Mold Blount County’s Future Champions” and former NFL football player Scott Galyon was the keynote speaker.

Executive Director Gary Honaker said the crowd gave a good response to the program. “After expenses, we raised a little over $6,500,” he said. “It was a little off from last year, but we were doing it during Spring Break so I think that made a difference.”

Honaker said the program also got a positive response from board members who also served as table captains. “They said guests were pleased, the program was insightful, and they learned a lot about the Boys and Girls Club, which was my objective, aside from the obvious financial part of it,” he said.

The executive director said this is the second year the members held a themed banquet. “Last year we cleared around $11,000 with the cruise boat theme. This year it was ‘The Making of Champions,’” he said.

Club member Chaz Barnes, the 2007 Youth of the Year for Boys and Girls Club of Blount County, was master of ceremonies. “He did the talking and introduced guests and gave everyone a history of the past, present and future of Boys and Girls Club,” Honaker said. “We also had a group from the Parkside Club who did an interpretive dance, and we had a group from the Eagleton Club sing a song, as well.”

During the segment about the future of Blount County, the members got to show guests some of the occupations they hoped to one day pursue. “We had little people come out in firemen’s outfits and attorneys outfits to express (to the audience) that these kids are the future of Blount County,” Honaker said.

A three-person committee of board members organized the annual banquet. “We had a three-person committee who did the leg work of making phone calls and getting phone donations,” he said.

Honaker said Terina Stewart with Ruby Tuesday corporate office, Sandra Johnson from Alcoa, Inc, and Mike Heron from Mountain National Bank worked to make the event happen.

Stewart said the event was a success. “While the purpose is to raise funds, more than anything it’s to raise awareness of what the club offers to children of all backgrounds in this community,” she said. “It’s a great place for kids.”

Many of the members of the club are eligible for scholarships. “Normally it’s about $1,000 a child to send them to the club, which includes after-school and some summer care,” she said. “We rely on this fundraising. It’s important for people to know what this club does.”

Stewart said Galyon did a good job as speaker. “Scott really tied it together and talked about what it’s like to be a champion and how the influences these people have at a young age will influence how they fit into society later on.”

Honaker said Galyon did a great job of comparing the characteristics of a champion he has seen in four years of college football at the University of Tennessee and seven years in the NFL to the characteristics that are formed with the members at the Boys & Girls Club.

“He talked about how champions are not always measured by the number of championship rings you have or how many championship trophies you have. He said that champions are also those who show genuine care and concern for others, those who successfully fight through adversity and overcome obstacles to personal success and those who work hard to be the best person they can be,” Honaker said. “He said these are all things that the Boys & Girls Clubs teach kids to be.”

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