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Boys & Girls Club Expands into Coker Creek

article posted 08/17/2014

After nearly two long decades of waiting, it is finally happening.  Coker Creek has been approved by the Board of Directors to be included as the 7th site of the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area.  Chairman of the Board, Paul Willson said “Coker Creek has been in need of our service for quite some time, and I am pleased that the Board gave approval at our last meeting to include them in our future plans.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area opened its doors eighteen years ago starting with the Club site in Madisonville and eventually growing to include Sweetwater, Vonore, Rural Vale, Tellico Plains, and a Teen Center (located at Hiwassee College).  Now, after a very long wait, Coker Creek has been added to the service area.  “It’s been a long time coming,” said Jill Franklin, Principal of Coker Creek Elementary School.  “We have asked to be included many times over the past seven years that I have been Principal at Coker Creek, but we never received approval from the leadership of the Club to get in.”  “We love the mission of the Boys & Girls Club, and when we heard the Club was under new leadership, we thought we might have a chance to finally get in…..and we did!”

“Dr. Anthony Tricoli is a breath of fresh air,” said Coker Creek Elementary School Principal, Jill Franklin.  “I met with him a few months ago and shared our interest, and I explained why I think our kids are deserving of their own Club here in Coker Creek, and Dr. Tricoli didn’t hesitate for a second.  He said yes, absolutely yes!  Now here we are today with our own site, finally.  Dr. Tricoli has devoted hours upon hours to make this happen for us here in Coker Creek.  He met with our teachers, our kids, our parents and PTO, and in the community in the evenings he met with our local Ruritan Club.  If it wasn’t for Dr. Tricoli this just wouldn’t have happened.  We owe him a great vote of thanks,” said Principal Franklin.

When we asked Dr. Anthony Tricoli about the opening of the B & G Club’s 7th site he said, ”Coker Creek was a natural next step for our Club.  The children who attend Coker Creek Elementary School certainly deserve our service and the three pronged approach that our Club brings (strengthening academics, leadership development, and healthy living and lifestyles training).  Of course, Coker Creek is the last territory unserved in Monroe County, and with 116 membership forms in hand, the Coker Creek Unit has the potential of truly enhancing our impact on the children of the County.”

When asked how this new site will be funded and staffed, Dr. Tricoli said, “We are starting this Club Site with the assistance of individual donors.  Gifts at any level are currently being accepted.  In terms of staffing the Coker Creek site, we’ve shifted the responsibility of an existing Unit Director so she can share oversight of two locations, Rural Vale and Coker Creek.  We have to think out-of-the-box if we’re going to meet the needs of all of the children in Monroe County.  Plus, we have a great Board of Directors; they want to help all of our local children, so they came up with the idea to split oversight responsibility at their last Board meeting.  It really was a great idea; the discussion was very supportive of the Club, the employees, and mostly the needs of the children who live in Coker Creek.  We are so fortunate to have this great group of folks who volunteer to be on our Board of Directors, and who just happen to be led by a wonderful man, Mr. Paul Willson,” said Dr. Tricoli.

County Mayor Tim Yates shared a “BIG THANKS” to the Boys and Girls Club of the Monroe Area, further saying, “All too often communities such as Coker Creek are overlooked for services that are available right here in our own community.  I want to thank the Board of Directors and especially Dr. Anthony Tricoli for their outstanding vision and most of all the heart they have shown for the children of Monroe County.  The Boys & Girls Club has always been a highly respected organization, and we can always trust that our children are being cared for in a safe environment.  I hope that our community members will support the Boys & Girls Club any way that they can.  Thanks again to the Club’s staff, Board and Dr. T for looking out after our children.”

One must wonder, what’s next for our local Boys & Girls Club, so we asked that question of the Club’s Chairman of the Board Mr. Paul Willson, and he said, “We want to continue serving the children and families in this Region.  Next in our sights is McMinn County.  For the last year we’ve been pulled into one meeting after another in McMinn County, there’s some real excitement here for the services our Club provides.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see us in established in McMinn County before the end of this year.  We’ve got a new Strategic Agenda under a new CEO who is experienced and energetic.  I’d say the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area is definitely headed in the right direction…...we have a bright future and we are poised for success.’