Ron Loney with Albany Club members circa 1969

GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE CLUB WAS HELD ON MARCH 19, 1965

Under the leadership of Building Chairman Rex Casey, staff and volunteers worked at a frantic pace, holding painting parties, and finishing the last needed touches to the building from September through December of 1966. As a Christmas gift to the community, the Albany Boys Club opened its doors on December 26, 1966, with 488 boy members.

“It was a fun and interesting time. We had no idea that we could get something going that would amount to anything. It was small potatoes at the start but has sure blossomed – we couldn’t have conceived then what it has turned into today.”

– Founding Board Member Russ Tripp

The original Boys Club logo was replaced in 1979 to include girls into the Club’s official logo.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • We currently have 2,858 registered members.
  • We have a commercial kitchen serving dinner and snack during the school year and breakfast and lunch during the summer.
  • We currently feed on average 656 members a day.
  • Three staffed computer labs, art rooms, gyms, learning centers, and of course the games rooms.
  • A state of the art, two chair, free Dental Clinic. Our Clinic serves on average 390 children yearly.
  • Five full size basketball courts, along with a turf indoor soccer field that is located in our 40,000 square foot Teen Center Building.

If you haven’t seen our new additions, please stop by when you’re visiting Albany, or if you still live here.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

ALYSSA MENDOZA

Hello everyone I’m Alyssa Mendoza and I am honored to be the recipient of the 2023 Boys and Girls Club Scholarship. It seems Rachel and Ricky have a talent for persuading me onto this stage for speeches. When I was 8 years old they bribed me with an otter pop, but this time, it’s different. I genuinely want to share my experience at the club.

I became a member because, truthfully, my mom needed an affordable daycare place that could handle her crazy 5 kids. Fortunately, she chose the Boys and Girls Club, and I can’t thank her enough. My journey began in the 1st grade and from then on I practically lived here. Through school years, summers, no school days, and well beyond closing time. Apologies for that, by the way.

The club opened up a world of experience my family couldn’t have afforded on its own. From zoo trips to water parks, hikes to Trailblazer games, gardening club to cooking classes, plays we put on ourselves, the summers of field days, park trips, and of course countless otter pops. My childhood here was everything I could have hoped for and more. However, what I hold closest to my heart is the environment and sense of community the club provided. Stepping through those doors, I felt surrounded by adults who genuinely cared about my well-being.

Having that support and security growing up has had a lasting impact. I understand the influence the club can have on a child’s life, which is why I’ve chosen to give back as a staff member. It’s not only because I get paid to have fun, go on field trips, and again eat otter pops – it’s about making a difference in the lives of the children in our community, just as the club did for me. Last fall I started my freshman year at Western Oregon University, pursuing my dream of becoming a NICU nurse. As a first-generation college student navigating the unknowns of college life was extremely difficult.

With no one in my family to turn to for advice on class registration, confusing forms, or even which classes to take, I felt incredibly lost. Receiving the scholarship was like a weight lifted off my shoulders, it allowed me to focus on adapting to this new environment without constantly worrying about finances Because I didn’t have to stress about working or how I’d cover fees, I could concentrate on my studies and I earned a 4.0 GPA this fall that landed me on the president’s honor roll. While I still have much to learn about college life, this scholarship has opened doors for me to build a career, creating a new path for my family’s future.

Now, I look forward to supporting my younger sisters when they start on their college journeys. The impact of the scholarship extends beyond my academic success. It’s about breaking barriers and creating opportunities for generations to come. Expressing my gratitude for the Boys and Girls Club is a challenge, but I want to emphasize that who I am today is deeply shaped by my experiences here.

I hope this place continues to be a source of positivity and growth for our community in the years to come. Thank you for coming here tonight and supporting the club and I hope the food tastes good because that also is a part of why I came today.

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

AMY PRICE

Amy Price came to the Boys & Girls Club of Albany as an elementary schooler joining the athletics program. She remembers her first basketball coach as Ron Loney and says, “I was a tiny uncoordinated kid. Ron was a great coach and helped nurture my love for the sport.” She continued to play sports through the Club until she got to high school.

Amy says that she learned two important life lessons through sports at the Club: teamwork and persistence.

Today, Amy is a local real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers. After going to college, trade school, and joining the service, she found her niche in real estate. Amy is a current member of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany’s Board of Directors, as well as a board member for the Chamberlin House. She loves her community and being able to be a part of giving back to it. With her free time, Amy likes to spend it with her family and traveling to new and exciting places.

She believes the “most impactful things about any organization are the relationships made and skills learned. Our club offers many opportunities for both.”

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

ERICA FLORO

Erica Floro has been around the Boys & Girls Club her whole life. It started as a kid who attended the after-school program, to then sending her own children to the Club, and now serving on the Great Future Ambassador Committee, as well as the Athletic Committee for the Boys & Girls Club of Albany.

Erica remembers playing foosball with a group of kids in the after-school program. They had weekly tournaments, awards, and of course, bragging rights. She says, “The Club taught me a lot about diversity. There were so many kids from different households and schools, yet we all became friends connected at the Club.”

As a kid, Erica began playing volleyball. She says that her high school coach made a huge impact on her life, pushing her to be the best version of herself. It was after high school that she decided to begin coaching herself. She even plays year-round at the Club in adult volleyball leagues.

During a tough time in life, Erica found herself as a single mom. She credits the Club for giving her a safe, affordable place for her kids to go after school. “My kids all went to the Club… they always felt safe going there and had a ton of fun.” She even added, “My children loved the Club so much that they even work there now.”

Today, Erica is a Mortgage Advisor at PacRes Mortgage. She loves to watch her kids play sports, going to Beaver and Corvallis Nights baseball games, and taking advantage of the Oregon weather during the summer. She stays active in the community through coaching volleyball, sitting on committees at the Club, as well as being on the board for United Way.

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

BETH HENKEL

Beth Henkel began attending the Club when she was just 7 years old. She started playing pitching machine baseball where she developed a love for sports. That love of sports continued to grow as she got older and helped shape who she is today.

Beth’s dad, Bruce Harpole, instilled a sense of hard work and competitive spirit in her. She eventually began playing both softball and basketball at the Boys & Girls Club, and continued to do so until high school. Beth is a graduate of South Albany High School and then later attended Oregon State University to study Fisheries and Wildlife.

Today, Beth has her own Etsy Shop and she works for the Oregon Fishing Club, after having owned Sidekicks downtown for 11 years. She is also an active volunteer for the Boys & Girls Club coaching her daughter’s volleyball, basketball, and softball team. Having been a volunteer for several years, Beth was recognized as the Boys & Girls Club Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Appreciation Luncheon. Speaking about the Club, she noted, “It’s a great place to get our kids started in sports and other activities. The athletic department works very hard to make all sports accessible to all kids.”

Beth is active not only as a volunteer for the Club, but she has also been the president of the South Albany Youth Baseball program for the past 5 years and is now also the South Albany Flight Club treasurer and concession coordinator.

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

RYAN BORDE

Ryan Borde started attending the Boys & Girls Club of Albany at a young age. He was enamored with playing pool and foosball with the high school staff whom he admired a lot. He loved the fun environment of the Club and having a place to learn and grow.

Ryan remembers two individuals who shaped his childhood at the Boys & Girls Club. Linda Berndt, who gave him his first job working at the Club. He recalls, “Linda treated everyone the same and was always in a great mood. Her staff loved working for her.” The second, was Ron Loney. Ryan says, “Ron had a heart for the youth of our community and it showed in how he interacted with you. He would always ask how my day was and ask how my dad was. He truly cared about each of us as individuals.”

After high school, Ryan attended Pacific Lutheran University where he played football and baseball. He finished his degree at Oregon State University in Speech Communication and then went on to pursue his master’s degree in Athletic Administration at the University of Washington. He had worked for his dad growing up and always knew he would probably be back to running the family companies at one point. Today, he is the owner at Carcraft Auto Appearance Center, a family business that he continues to build upon. He is also an assistant football coach and head softball coach at Stayton High School.

In his free time, Ryan enjoys watching his son play high school baseball and football and escaping the Oregon weather for some sun.

Ryan believes the Club taught him the value of giving back to his community, especially the youth. Whether it is volunteering as a coach, or in the after school program, he loves to work with kids and have a positive impact on their life.

“The Boys & Girls Club is an organization that I think people should try to give back to whenever they can. Whether it is volunteering or making a monetary donation, you can have a tremendous impact on the youth of our community.”

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

EUGENE HORVATH

Eugene Horvath remembers attending the Club every day starting at the age of 5. Having grandparents that lived next door to the Club and didn’t speak English, and parents who worked full time, it was a natural fit for him.

He remembers helping prepare baseball fields in the summer, taking boxing classes, and wrestling upstairs in the practice room. He noted, “If there was a sport and a coach around, I tried it all.”

Eugene vividly remembers the winter months when it was dark by 5pm, and all the kids would be playing Foosball in the old building. They would play small-sided tournaments to see who would get to play the adults or high school kids. These nightly events became some of his fondest memories. He says that it’s been a real pleasure seeing everything come full circle as he is now a father whose daughter also utilized the after school and sports programs.

When asked about coaches and mentors that made an impact on his life, Eugene says that Gale Borde made a tremendous impact on his life as a young football player. Eugene explained, “Gale was the silent type of coach that always took an individual approach to connecting the best players, the players who needed help, and those who just needed encouragement.” Gale took the time to help Eugene understand his role on the team, build his confidence, and inspired him to become a coach as well. He says that much of what he adopted in his coaching style was a result of how Borde coached him.

Eugene says that one of the most valuable lessons he learned from the Club was to respect others and be a team player. He says, “I always remembered what it was like to be the new one in the group. When you take time to help others, you make friends for life. This was a valuable lesson and I have applied it to all my career roles.”

Eugene graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Communication and went on to work for Hewlett Packard and Target Corporation. After wanting to move back to Oregon, he joined ownership at Stutzman & Kropf Contractors in 2011. Having grown up working in the construction field, it was a good fit to return to. Today, he is also involved as a Board Member of Camp Attitude, Black Butte Ranch, and the Dug Out Club for OSU Baseball.

“I’m truly appreciative of the Boys & Girls Club and the safe and fun environment it provided me growing up in Albany. It truly helps our community in so many ways!”

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

DR. LEAH GRAY

Dr. Leah Gray has a lifetime of memories tied to the Boys and Girls Club of Albany. She remembers stealing onto the basketball court every chance she could get as a grade schooler during her older brother Jim’s games, sometimes halting play as the ball she was bouncing on the sideline got away from her.

Growing up during the time when the Club was not yet running a basketball program for girls (the Club eventually expanded to include girls in 1979), she was happy to be invited to join a team of boys. Basketball was her drive and passion – even with a hoop at home she made her way to the Club where she could play out of the rain and compete in a sport she so loved.

One Club-related memory that sticks out to Dr. Leah was being a part of a young exhibition team that Ron Loney, long-time Executive Director, put together to play halftime games in the “big leagues.” She notes that she was too young to have jitters and happily played in front of the crowds for the love of the sport.

She explained that while basketball was the passion that brought her to the Club, she carries big lessons with her today from those Club experiences: “Take care of each other first and foremost. Do what you love with passion, drive, and determination, in all that you do.”

Those lessons are integral to her career as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and partner in Albany’s Riverside Veterinary Hospital. While her practice is nearly exclusively on horses (she practices both Western and Chinese medicine, including acupuncture) she also has professional interests in neonatal and critical care.

Dr. Leah is married to Dr. David Gray and mom to teenagers Mason and Madison. In her “free time” she volunteers with her church, kids’ schools, and several non-profits – all while trying to stay fit and healthy with running, hiking, and horseback riding. (Busy lady!)

Her recommendation to others thinking of sending their child to the Club? – “Do it, they will be stronger and richer in spirit for it.”

Are you a Boys & Girls Club of Albany Alumni? Join our Alumni Association! Click here to join.

JEFF KEUTER

Jeff joined the Boys & Girls Club back in elementary school playing sports in the Athletics program. He remembers playing basketball in the original gym – where he got his competitiveness from.

While Jeff participated in the Athletics program, Ron Loney was the most influential person for him and he says that the Club helped shape him into the person he is today.

Jeff graduated from South Albany high school, and then attended Oregon State University. Today he works in business and banking and is involved in the West Albany High School Radio broadcast of sporting events. In his free time, he likes to work on home projects and spend time with his family and friends.

Jeff says, “There are endless opportunities for growth at the Boys & Girls Club”, and he believes the most impactful thing about the Club is the positive development and involvement for kids.

CERAH WUSSTIG

Cerah joined the Boys & Girls Club of Albany at a young age, going every day after school until closing time. Being raised by a single dad who worked hard to support his kids, Cerah remembers finding peace in the stability and comfort of the Boys & Girls Club.

“It was consistent,” Cerah said. “I had friends. There were familiar faces.”
As an adult, Cerah recognizes why the Club was a saving grace for a single parent like her father.

“It was a place where he knew we were safe and surrounded by people who cared about us,” said Cerah. “Because of the Club, he knew we’d have food to eat before bedtime.”
Cerah got involved with sports, and Club programs, and felt like the Club was a family to her.

Cerah says that the support she received from the Club has helped shape her into the person she is today. The Club helped prepare her in numerous ways, from communicating with adults and kids, to teamwork and sharing, and to learning study skills for school.

Cerah found herself living on her own at 16. She graduated from West Albany High School as a junior in 2011, and she enrolled in college while working the graveyard shift at Oregon Freeze Dry to support herself. While there, she completed a degree in general studies, got a certificate in industrial building mechanics, and had two children. Three years ago, she applied for an electrical apprenticeship, and today, she is a fourth-year journeyman electrical apprentice.

Reflecting on her life, Cerah said, “I don’t know what choices I would have made, and what my life would be like today if I hadn’t gone to the Boys & Girls Club.”

CHRYSTAL HART-MEEKER

“My dad was a coach and I think about the impact he made for so many kids who didn’t have a father or even the money sometimes for a baseball glove.”

Chrystal joined the Boys & Girls Club of Albany at a young age and spent nearly a decade participating in our athletics programs, where softball became her true love. Being a part of organized sports taught her the importance of being a part of a team. It also reinforced the importance of both wining and losing in a humble way. “I was lucky that my dad (Doug Hart) coached my teams and I think that the positive impact he made for so many kids is one of the reasons that I am so involved in my community.”

Today, she is married with three kids and is the co-owner of Xtreme Grafx with her husband. Chrystal serves on several non-profit boards, chairs fundraising events, volunteers with several non-profits, and supports countless local non-profits with their signage needs for events. She was also the recipient of the Junior First Citizen Award presented by our local Albany Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her contributions to the local community.

“I would highly encourage someone to send their kids to the Club because the friendships and experiences will stay with these kids for a lifetime. I know they have for me.”

ADAM SEDLACK

Adam joined the Boys & Girls Club of Albany at a young age and it quickly became a second home to him. He participated in the after school program, sports, and a junior leadership group that volunteered in the community. All which also led him to become a coach, volunteer, and staff member at the Club.

After high school, Adam attended college in Nebraska and then moved to California where he joined the fitness industry in 1994. He began at 24 Hour Fitness and eventually became the Divisional President. Today, he is married with four kids and is the CEO of UFC Gym where they have developed over 1,000 gyms in 377 countries. Adam says he is “100% obsessed with bringing a fitness legacy around the globe through our Train Different mentality”.

Adam is a proud BGCA Alumni and is actively involved in his local Chamber and local city initiatives. “I learned so much from the BGCA. With their incredible community and multiple sports leagues, I was able to develop life-long friends and experiences that helped establish my character, integrity, and sense of confidence.”

Thank you Adam for allowing us to share what the Boys & Girls Club of Albany has done for you.

“The BGCA is a place of trust and community.”

CHRISTOPHER KEEFE

Christopher joined the Boys & Girls Club of Albany in the late 80’s as an elementary student, participating in both the after school program and athletics. Most notable was his memories of playing football and hanging out at the Club for hours at a time. Christopher says, “It gave all us kids from ‘the other side of the tracks’ a place to be constructive. It helped me with direction and put me in a position to succeed beyond my present situation.” The Club sponsored the football teams that he played on which he noted, “[they] helped give me focus and purpose, eventually leading to the mentors that helped me break the cycle I was in.”

After high school, Christopher went to college at The University of Oregon and Rice, and then joined the Navy, where a hobby he learned while serving, led him to a career in technology. Today, he lives in Snoqualmie, Washington as an Executive Director of Cybersecurity, and is involved in local organizations and clubs that include Women in Engineering, and Girls Who Code, encouraging women to join the engineering industry.

We’re thankful for Alumni like Christopher who allow us to share part of their story and what the Boys & Girls Club has done for them.

“I had a rough home life, and the Club gave me and my friends a place to go without getting in trouble.”

TIM REID

Dr. Reid is a third generation Albany veterinarian. He has been a member of the BGCA Board for over 20 years and recently completed his two year term as Board President. In 1969, Dr. Reid became a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany as a sixth grader, with a real interest in joining the Athletic tackle football program. He began to enjoy the Club.

Expressing that there was always something to get involved in and always a way to stay active. He even had the opportunity to visit Seattle on a Club-sponsored trip to play football against his arch viral the soon-to-be Washington Huskies. They were also given the amazing experience to watch the newly established NBA team, the Seattle Super Sonics. We cannot thank you enough Dr. Tim Reid for your amazing leadership, generosity, effort, and time you have spent these last 20 years on of Board and last two years as Board President.

“It has been a great, albeit undeserved; honor to act as the President of the Board of Directors these last two years. I am still astounded over the dedication and support our staff, Board, and community continue to show the children of Albany and surrounding areas. I am equally astounded over the great needs of our members and their families. Their reliance on our Club to provide a safe place to play, learn, and socialize with their peers, to have meals served daily, and have access to high quality dental care resources. Children are a blessing, so too is the opportunity to serve them”.

-Tim Reid, DVM

KIM RAILEY EDWARDS

Kim joined the Boys & Girls Club of Albany as a child back in the 70’s. She watched her father coach at the Club for several years and joined the athletics program at a young age. She continued to play sports at the BGCA until joining the high school programs at South Albany High School. She says that she “learned many valuable lessons as an athlete and a teammate and those lessons continue to serve me well to this day.”

When her kids were old enough, she signed them up for sports as well, frequently coaching their teams. While becoming more involved with the youth, she began to realize the depth of need in the city of Albany. She realized that the Club offered much more than just sports. As she reflects she says, “It was quickly clear to me that the Club was a lifeline and a second home to many of the kids it serves.”

Kim joined the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany in 2014, and she is currently in her first year as the Board President. We are so grateful for Kim’s leadership, desire to serve, and time she has given to the Club.

“When I was asked to join the BGCA Board of Directors six years ago, it was a no brainer. I am very proud of the way the Club serves our community, from meeting basic needs like food and consistency to providing opportunities for kids to learn about art and technology. Our Club rises to the challenge!”
– Kim Railey Edwards

Randy Graves
Business Manager for One Chance Foundation
“Growing up in the Club gave me the career passion to eventually head up Clubs in Vancouver, Portland and Lebanon.”

Mike Barrett
Voice of The Blazers
“Every memory from grade school to high school, involves the Club… My membership card was one of my first prized possessions.”

Brian Perlenfein
Senior Business Advisor, B&R Auto Wrecking
“I have great memories of spending time with Steve H. from Athletics and refereeing little kids soccer.”

BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR A GREAT FUTURE

GREAT FUTURES START HERE! Spread the news! Keep us in mind when speaking with familiar and unfamiliar faces. Tell others about the impact we make on the community. Remember us and refer others to the Club to help positivity impact more lives.

TAKE A TOUR!

Come see what all has changed and maybe what has stayed the same!
To schedule a club tour please contact The Boys & Girls Club of Albany Executive Director, John Andersen:
541-926-6666 ext. 218
john.andersen@bgc-albany.org

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Are you interested in volunteering and giving a little back?

We can always utilize more volunteers to come help out! You can volunteer in many ways. Whether it’s through programing such as tutoring, coaching, mentoring, playing a game with a member, or helping out with the several special events the Club puts on throughout the year, we are ALWAYS in need of a the extra help!

ATTEND AN EVENT!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER!

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK!

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CONTACT

If you have any Alumni questions, please contact:
McKena Roberts
Director of Marketing & Special Events
541-926-6666 Ext. 220
mckena.roberts@bgc-albany.org