Boys & Girls clubs host weeklong tours, open houses

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Washington Mayor Mac Hodges had an exclusive tour of the Boys & Girls Club on Bridge Street on Tuesday.

The tour was part of the larger Boys & Girls Club Week, designated as Monday through Friday, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain organized similar tours at seven other sites, as well as open houses and community events.

“The weeklong celebration honors the club’s evidence-based programs and advocate for positive outcomes for youth in the areas of academic success, healthy lifestyle and good character and citizenship,” a press release stated.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain is comprised of five locations throughout Pitt County, two in Beaufort County, one in Lenoir County, one in Martin County and one in Greene County. The organization serves more than 1,200 members daily in its region, according to the release.

Mayor Adam O’Neal visited the Belhaven Unit on Tuesday afternoon, as well.

Hodges said he has visited the Boys & Girls Club many times before, and he enjoyed visiting again for a little while.

“I’m not sure they know what a mayor does,” Hodges laughed. “We just met with all the kids. … They’ve got a bunch of different age groups.”

Darnell Maye, Washington Unit director, said many of the children already knew Hodges from where he visited previously.

“He’s very active. He’s very relaxed around them,” Maye said. “We’re just (looking) to have people know that we’re here.”

Maye said keeping in contact with elected officials, schools and the community at large is vital for the club’s success. In his mind, by visiting the location, officials are able to “maintain the lawn,” instead of just “cutting the grass,” he explained.

The club members should also feel as though they are worthy of city officials’ time, Maye said, and that plays into them feeling as though they are part of the Washington community.

The Washington Unit will host a larger event Friday, and residents are invited to come see skits the children will perform, representing where they see themselves in 65 years.

“Being in contact with these people adds value to the kids,” Maye said. “I’m hoping that the people who are coming and the kids that are here will inspire each other.”