Boys & Girls Club has no national ties

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 15, 2005

The director of the Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln Countyconfirms the local club is not chartered with the nationalorganization, although it continues to use the name and logo.

“All they’ve got to do is tell us to stop using it,” said BobbyBell, the local club’s director.

Lindsey Edmondson, public relations public for the Boys &Girls Clubs of America, said they have.

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The Lincoln County club has been notified by letter on severaloccasions with a request to discontinue use of the name and logo,Edmondson said, but the national organization has not pressed theissue further.

Edmondson could not say how long the national organization wouldcontinue to be tolerant.

“That’s not my department,” she said. “I don’t know theirplans.”

Bell denied being asked to discontinue use of the name andlogo.

“That’s not true,” he said. “We have not received any lettersthat I know of. If they had sent us a letter, we would be workingfaster at changing the name.”

Bell said the local club’s governing board has discussed a namechange several times over the years, but that it always camesecondary to providing more opportunities and programs to thechildren attending the club.

“The name will be changed eventually,” he said. “The name itwill be changed to is the Lincoln County Club for the Youth. Butthat is secondary to me. I have other plans to make the club biggerand better that supersede that.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Lincoln County used to beaffiliated with the national organization through its associatedwith the Boys & Girls Club of Central Mississippi in Jackson,Edmondson said.

“They were operating as an associate under their charter,”Edmondson said.

However, the Lincoln County club dissolved its relationship withthe Jackson club more than five years ago “and therefore with thenational association,” she said.

Edmondson said she is not aware of any attempts by the localclub to seek its own charter.

The local club did, however, retain its federal and statenonprofit organization classification, Bell said.

“It’s not in a name. It’s in what you do. No matter the name,we’re going to help the kids of Lincoln County,” he said. “We’rerunning basically the same way we ran when under the nationalumbrella. We haven’t changed our operations.”

The local club considered rejoining the national associationthree to four years ago when clubs in Lawrence and Copiah countieswere being formed. However, under the national association’sbylaws, the three clubs would form a new Boys & Girls Club ofSouthwest Mississippi and pool their finances, Bell said.

Under that plan, he said, Lincoln County would have provided thelargest portion of funding and would need to request money from thelarger organization each time it needed money, including its ownfunds.

The board decided it was best for Lincoln County to remain apartand independent, Bell said.

Also, the national organization requires clubs to hire adirector and pay them a minimum salary, he said.

“When it comes to kids and helping kids, I refuse to pay aperson $40,000 to $50,000 a year,” Bell said. “Our whole budget isway below what your average director makes. I hate it that grownpeople make themselves jobs when they should take it uponthemselves to help the community. I don’t need $35,000 to $40,000 ayear to do what I do for free.”

The Lincoln County club is funded primarily through privatedonations and other charitable organizations.