Boys & Girls Club Blog

Thank You, A Review of 2023 from CEO, Tracy Ogden

December 29, 2023

What an absolutely exciting year it’s been at your Boys & Girls Club! As we wrap up 2023 and head into 2024, we have so much to be thankful for. We’ve been working hard to do whatever it takes to serve our mission to improve the lives of children and families. I’d like to share with you some of the highlights of this year, including an update on our building expansion and Hyde Family Community Center project.

Three years ago, as the need to serve more children kept growing, we began the conversation about how to best serve the needs of our community. We started asking local community organizations including the Oshkosh Police Department, Oshkosh Area School District, the city, and others to see if we were in the right location. Ultimately, we found we were still in the perfect location to serve children and families that were in the most need and began a new 5-part capital project led by friend of the Club and contractor, CR Meyer.

We broke ground in 2022 and completed the first phase of the project earlier this year including the Bergstrom Automotive Learning Center (our elementary classroom expansion on the Radford side of the building) and the Community First Credit Union Multi-Purpose Field. This doubled the number of elementary-age children we serve to 80 youth daily. Head Start did a complete renovation including two new classrooms that allows for 30 more kids daily (120 total).

If you’ve been to our Club in the last month, you know that construction is well underway on the next phase of our building project, the renovation of our former teen/middle school-age space and administrative offices. This will become the new Oshkosh B’gosh Middle School Center and will double the space for this age group. Our new building is being painted and interior framing and windows are going in. It will house the new Verve Administrative Center including admin offices and the second-floor Amcor Teen Center, where we will expand on workforce/career readiness, mental health and other programming. It will also house the Hyde Family Community Center where we already have 24 organizations that will be onsite to help Oshkosh families who could benefit from their services.

This expansion is going to allow us to serve 450 children daily (150 more). We hope you’ll join us on May 5th for our public Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting between 12- 4 p.m. (Ribbon Cutting at 3 p.m.) Additionally, a courtyard playground and a second gym will be added later in 2024.

We’ve grown so much this year through our programs and partnerships. Our Be Great Graduate mentoring staff at Oshkosh West and North High School are onsite at the schools all day. Because of this, we can serve 60 teens and have a 100% graduation rate. We are excited to expand this program into Vel Phillips Middle School this spring.

We currently transport children to the Club each day from six elementary and middle schools and two high schools. With additional vehicles and our new partnership with Kobussen, we can transport more kids to the Club each day for after-school care, including adding a route from Vel Phillips Middle School.

Through our Big Futures Mentoring Program at the Club, a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, we’ve doubled the number of middle school-age kids receiving additional mentoring support including homework help and exploring career interests. And we’re still growing and looking for additional adult mentors.

Our Omro Elementary program has grown in attendance, and we are looking at expanding the wrap-around care.

With our expansion and our new Omro site, we can finally get kids off our summer waitlist and better serve families looking for summer childcare.

For the third year, we’ve been able to offer a third Drivers Education class, allowing us to send 45 teens through the program.

We’ve always enjoyed and understood the importance of collaborating with other organizations in the community and again this year we were able to offer our kids some really fun and unique opportunities. The Oshkosh Public Library staff read to our kids and did crafts and experiments, Ideal DOG LLC brought in therapy dogs, UW Oshkosh nursing students talked about germs and proper hand washing, Casa Esther in Omro taught our kids about gardening and local food sourcing, our local Girl Scouts came in with unique activities and taught valuable life skills. We held several parent and family classes in partnership with UW Head Start and Parent Connection focusing on parenting in tough situations as well as fun family bonding classes such as cooking together. We are grateful for these and all the wonderful partners who spent time with our kids this year.

Additionally, we started a new food program for our families with Feeding America. We’ve expanded our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) efforts with the school district to create more mental health programming for our teens. Our full-time staff have gone through additional certifications and our Club is now a Level 3 Trauma Informed Care site.

Our Basic Needs Program did wonderful things for both kids and families this year. We gave out over 1,500 basic needs items, 300 showers, 205 Club scholarships, and adopted out 241 children through our Adopt a Family Christmas program, not to mention provided breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, field trips, academic support, mental health support, and kept Club members active outside and in our gym space. If it sounds like a lot, it was, and we are proud to be able to do so many things for our community!

We feel extra grateful for what we have been able to accomplish together this year. Thank you to our Oshkosh community, friends of the Club, our board, and our staff for helping us serve our mission to improve the lives of children and families every single day! We are looking forward to 2024 and the additional celebrations it will bring.

We welcome you to come to take a tour and see first-hand all the wonderful things happening at our Club. Have a Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2024.


Tracy Ogden