Boys & Girls Club Blog

Remembering My Club

December 15, 2022

I have 12 years of memories from the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh. This picture is one of my favorites from my Club experience. This picture was taken many moons ago when I used to go to Camp Radford for the day. I used to spend a lot of time there with my friends, swimming in the creek, doing arts and crafts, making smores, and playing games. It was never a dull moment.

I know that whenever I step back into the Club, it will always feel like home. Without my Club, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

My version of the Club is a lot different than it is now. I remember the games room had a huge jungle gym with a big ball pit. The Teen Center was just an old bar on the corner where the playground is now. The art room was half the size, and the other half of the room was the computer lab. Keystone members would come over three times a day to sell candy, chips, and soda. I remember hearing the announcements over the speaker that Keystone was here to sell candy. As I’m sure you can imagine, when you bring those kinds of snacks around a bunch of kids, you’ll have a lot of customers! Even if it was just 5 cents for a Fireball candy. The learning center always had a ton of people in it waiting to play games like Dance Dance Revolution. The gym was another popular spot. Scatter ball or dodgeball always brought in a crowd. The best part of scatter ball was before we started, Gary, the old gym staff, who was a very smart and intelligent guy, would do a pop quiz. If you could answer his very random questions, you would earn an advantage in the game.

My memories also include a devoted and energetic woman who loved her job as much as she loved the kids she served – Lori Fields. There was never a challenge too big for Lori. She was determined to provide the best for each kid. We were never just numbers to Lori. We were her family.

I loved growing up in the Club because you would never know that my siblings and I had huge struggles at home. That my oldest brother and I were practically raising my other siblings, or that my mom was a drug addict, or that my dad wasn’t around. I loved the Club because, as a kid, I never knew anything was wrong. I was very fortunate to have grown up in such a fun, educational place like my Boys & Girls Club. I think the remodeling and expansion of the Club’s building and programs is wonderful and will benefit many people in the community.

When I graduated high school and left the Club, I went to school for welding at Fox Valley Technical College. Today, I’m a TIG welder. I fabricate, weld, and build high-tech ready-to-operate machines used for the food industry. I recently went back to school to expand my degree into software engineering. This past May, I finally got to marry my beautiful partner in crime. We have been together for four years and are excited to have become new homeowners.

I know that whenever I step back into the Club, it will always feel like home. Without my Club, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

By Alex DeGroot, Club Alum and former Youth of the Year


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