Boys & Girls Club Blog

Love and Blessings with the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh

Words from Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh Club CEO, Marc Dosogne:

“I was one of the lucky ones. I was blessed to be hired as CEO of this fine organization by Kurt Koeppler 17 years ago, and now it’s hard for me to say I will step down at the end of this year. I’ve loved this job and our mission, and I’m thankful for my career in Boys & Girls Club work. I blinked and 35 years went by.

As a kid growing up in Chicago, I was fortunate to have parents who loved me and raised me to believe in God, honor America and care about the world and the community I live in. They would tell me, be whatever you want, but no matter what, be kind. And so, I found the world of Boys & Girls Clubs, working with Clubs in Chicago, Omaha and Washington, before coming to Oshkosh.

I’m also blessed with three very nice children and my former wife, Julie who does an amazing job being a mom. Shanna is a nurse living in Indiana. Chris was a game producer for the MineCraft Division of Microsoft in Seattle, but will now be Principal Live Operations Manager for Sega/Relic Co. in Vancouver, Canada. And Andre’, an airline pilot for American Eagle out of LaGuardia. I can say I’m proud of all of them.

In my last year, I reflect back on experiences I’ve had while leading the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh. There are so many… Going to high school and college graduations, attending funerals of Club members or their parents. Sitting with board members or donors going through a tough time with family or business or losing a child or grandchild. Helping evicted families find a new safe place to live. Assisting a family to replace everything after their house burned to the ground on New Year’s Day.

Kids with big smiles as we handed them a scholarship for college or trade school; parents crying when we gave them grocery or gas cards, or paid their electric bill or rent with Club resources so they could have some hope and keep going.

Little kids telling me their mouth stopped hurting for the first time after stepping off the dental bus.  I’ve had staff be upset when I told them they no longer could work for us because they weren’t safe for our kids, and I’ve watched staff hold their heads high when I gave them a raise or a promotion.

Teens have walked into my office very proud to show me their grades, or acceptance letter to college or tech school or the military, or their driver’s license we helped them get, or thank me for helping them get a job.

Many days, kids sat with me to apologize for saying or doing negative things at the Club to other kids or staff, or to our equipment, or to thank me for giving them a path to make things right, being forgiven so they could get back in.

I’ve taken calls from staff late at night telling me I had to come back because someone got hurt, or the police had to intervene, or one of our buildings was flooded.

Many of our teens and staff traveled the country on leadership trips and came back so full of stories learning about America, other cities, other people.

Happy teens have stood in my office showing off a suitcoat or a dress or outfit we were able to buy for them, for some, their first new one ever.

Parents have been so grateful because we helped them get new school supplies and school clothes and haircuts for their kids when they had no resources to do it on their own.

I’ve cut ribbons on new and remodeled buildings after successful campaigns. In the early days back in 2003, I wasn’t sure if we’d make payroll and other times had donors hand me a check for a million dollars. Now some days I can’t believe how blessed we are and how bright the future looks.

Over the years, I’ve been in donors’ living rooms or in my office as they shared incredibly personal details of their lives, their families, their businesses, because they learned to trust that the conversation would go no further.  These same donors have shared their financial estate plans for the future of our Boys & Girls Club and would barely let me say thanks. Instead they would say, “No Marc, thank you for the opportunity to do this for these kids.”

I’ve had wonderful days and difficult days in this job. I made really good choices and really dumb mistakes. Winning awards, receiving large gifts, speaking at national conferences. I’ve been in the newspaper and on TV for good things and negative things.

I’ve been called a hero, a racist, a saint, a sinner, too nice, too tough, smart, dumb, good, bad.  \I’ve laughed and I’ve cried in this job. I’ve thanked God and I’ve wondered if God was even listening or cared.

I’ve heard it all, seen it all, experienced it all. It’s made me who I am today and I am humbled and appreciative of all these opportunities and experiences.

But the constant theme through all of this is I couldn’t have done it, experienced it, enjoyed it, had the resources to do it… I couldn’t have had the fun of making the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh what it is today, and making dreams come true for kids, families and staff if it weren’t for people in this community who have helped. Staff, board members, donors, volunteers, businesses. Everything we do is because all of you have gotten behind our mission and had the desire to help all these thousands of kids, especially those who need us the most.

There are so many people who helped along the way in this journey, more than I can mention here but I’d like to call out some board leadership who stepped up along the way to serve as board presidents or advisors during this time including Kurt Koeppler, Doug Hyde, Dave Elbing, Susan Ackerman, Mark Lasky, Pat Weston, John Krause, Matt Jameson and Heather Holly-Pinnow.

I thank all of you out there who were part of my journey. Thanks for caring about our kids, our staff and our community.

Thanks for investing in our mission of “improving the lives of children and families.”

Thanks for giving me your trust, and being with me and our staff and board every step of the way. Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh was here long before I arrived and will be here long after I’ve stepped down. 50 years in existence this year. A milestone.

And thanks for this amazing ride. God bless America. God bless all of you and God bless Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh.

Throughout 2020, the Club is celebrating a milestone of 50 years of serving the Oshkosh community. Learn more here.

Are you a past Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh member, volunteer, staff or friend of the Club? We would love to hear from you!