Club Connection: Spring 2024

Bringing together Boys & Girls Clubs across the region of Door County, Green Bay & Shawano

Help make a difference today!

Support Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region today by giving online to give kids safe spaces, caring mentors and quality programs to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible individuals.

*Names have been changed

Greetings Friends,

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

While I may be new to my role as CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region, I’m no stranger to this incredible organization. My journey with Club began 24 years ago as a youth counselor at the Thomas H. Lutsey Unit on Green Bay’s east side. After experiencing Club’s mission and impact firsthand, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was my calling – and I couldn’t be prouder to say that I’ve made Club my career.

As you know, Club is truly a special organization. I realized early on that I wanted to be part of an organization that creates safe spaces where all kids belong. Where young people have supportive relationships with caring adults and peers, and where every child has access to life-enhancing experiences and programs that bring out their strengths and help them see what can be. These key elements—safe spaces, caring mentors, and high-quality programs—are the Club’s core strengths. They are the key ingredients that spark kids’ abilities to see infinite possibilities for what their futures hold.

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received during my first few days as Club’s CEO involves my priorities for the year ahead. I can easily say that my focus in the upcoming months will be listening to and learning from stakeholders in Door County, Greater Green Bay, and Shawano. I want to connect with YOU to gain a deeper understanding of the unique strengths, challenges, and opportunities in our communities to equip more kids with tools that will help them thrive. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how we can bring Club’s foundations of success to more young people in Northeast Wisconsin.

Thank you for your role in supporting our kids and helping them embrace their unlimited potential!

In Service to Youth,


Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

March is an interesting month – it’s usually the last gasp of winter or the sweet days of early spring. It can come in or go out as a lion or a lamb (in my experience lately). It is the dog days of schooling, too much time left to get excited about summer, but the longer days of sunlight give you hope.

In my family, March brings St. Patrick’s Day. My wife is 50 percent Irish from her dad’s side, which means she is 100 percent Irish (the German heritage is ignored). My daughter performed as an Irish dancer until she went away to college. My boys have pictures with the traditional Irish flat hats (a required accessory).

Ireland is a beautiful country with an unbelievable number of different shades of green, a result of cooler temperatures, lots of rain throughout the year, and plenty of open country. But when asked what makes Ireland special, my wife always says the same thing: The people. They are kind, funny, friendly towards visitors, and always willing to help a foreigner. A perfect day for my wife would be to just hang out with “the people” and enjoy the attributes that make them different.

When I think of the Club, it is also “the people” that make it uniquely different and many of our youths’ favorite places to go. In this case, it is the staff who are kind, funny, friendly, and always willing to help a Club kid in need. I’m pretty sure they are not all Irish, they just act like it. We are blessed to have them on this side of the pond.

Dan Pichler
Dan has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay for 35 years in various capacities including donor, fundraiser, Board of Directors, Treasurer and Executive Committee.

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

Charitable giving is important to me. The importance of sharing my time, talent, and treasures was instilled in me at a very young age. I’m proud to say I’ve lived my entire life by this credo, and as I began planning for the future, establishing a legacy that continues to do good in the community became increasingly important to me.

Among the many local non-profits that are doing good work in the community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region is one charity that I’ve supported throughout my lifetime with an annual charitable gift. The Club inspires thousands of kids to achieve great futures by providing safe and fun spaces, engaging experiences and caring professionals to guide them along the way.

Through planned giving, I’ve found a lasting way to support local non-profits in our community. As a member of the Heritage Club, the Boys and Girls Club planned giving society, I am planning to make a perpetual gift to Club to ensure that future generations of kids across our region will have the opportunity to live successful lives in a safe, positive and caring environment.

During my career in business we often referred to the Pareto Principle, which is the 80-20 rule. Personally, I believe in the 80-20 rule to carry out my values and planning goals while ensuring my charitable giving will live on. According to this rule, 80 percent of my assets are designated to ensure the future security and stability of my family, while 20 percent are reserved to provide continuing support for the important charitable causes that I believe in, like the Boys & Girls Club.

To this day, I remain committed to supporting the Boys & Girls Club with an annual gift, which allows me to see the impact my support makes on the lives of countless kids each year. And by joining the Heritage Club, my planned gift, at a calculated normal investment rate of return, ensures that my support of the Boys & Girls Club will continue at this level to enrich the lives of countless generations to come. I think we all like the sound of that.

For more information about the Heritage Club, contact Kori Coffeen at

The challenges for kids today can be overwhelming—pressures of social media, an unstable home life, or difficulties at school—can create feelings never felt before. For some kids, that weight is often too much to handle.

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

Madison*, a 12-year-old, sought the services of Miss Corrin, a licensed therapist at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region, to talk through her emotions. She had fears and struggles that led to thoughts of self-harm and thoughts of not being alive.

Miss Corrin and Madison immediately began meeting twice a week in March of 2023 to build rapport, trust, and a safety plan. “Madison was like many kids struggling with today’s societal pressures,” Corrin said. “It breaks my heart to see, hear, and talk through what they are thinking.”

The 6th-grader shared she had no plans for the future, didn’t love herself, and didn’t care if she lived or died. Madison didn’t have any self-care methods, she didn’t know how to regulate her emotions and thoughts, and she couldn’t articulate one single thing she liked about herself.

Through numerous intensive therapy sessions, interventions, and skill-building, Madison began to see the possibility of a brighter future. “Miss Corrin helped me realize my self-worth and that I am loved,” she said. “I feel whole again and see the people around me who care and want me to do my best.”

Through many conversations with Miss Corrin, Madison developed a skillset to de-escalate her emotions and redirect negative thoughts. At Club, she has a foundation of support and love in good times and bad. “Madison has set goals, is excelling in school, and has made a positive group of friends. She often shares her new viewpoint on life as being bright, exciting, loving, and promising,” Corrin shared.

Each day at Club, hundreds of young people find positive adults who notice their strengths, listen to their concerns and open up doors of possibility.

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

What started as an opportunity to learn a new skill ended in forever life lessons. Club members recently experienced a new program, Fiber Arts Club, which gave them exposure to crochet and cross-stitch.

Jennifer, the Academic Coordinator at the David G. Hatch Center, set out to give kids an opportunity to try something different. She wasn’t sure how the new program would be received by her 3rd-5th graders, but she would have never guessed the impact it would have!

After the first session, Gavin*, a 4th grader, said, “If we don’t give up, we will get it.” This came after being flustered, anxious, and angry because he wasn’t having immediate success. “There is a tendency these days for instant gratification and with crochet and cross-stitch it isn’t that way. It takes time and repetition to become good at these skills,” said Jennifer.

Gavin thought about quitting many times. Other kids were frustrated at the end of the first session because they couldn’t immediately master the techniques. But our Club members were persistent, and after some practice and patience, a breakthrough occurred.

“I could see them finding success and happiness,” Jennifer added. “I went to help one kid but Isabella*, another member, stepped in and said, “I can teach this.” The pride on their faces and passion they displayed was infectious.”

Throughout the program, Gavin was confronted with many challenges. But in the end, he overcame all of his obstacles and created a beautiful masterpiece for his mother. A heartfelt note was written on the back to let his mother know how much he loved her.

Twice a week for six weeks, 40 Club members learned how to persevere. They learned that by not giving up they can be successful. “This is something that we strive for at Club,” Jennifer said. “Let kids experience the hard parts of learning something new so that they can adapt, grow, and experience success. Across the board, our kids are achieving great things and realizing their endless possibilities.”

Friendships are created in many different ways. In Shawano, the pages of a book brought together two Club members in an unsuspecting way.

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.

At Club, we know that reading is a building block to success. However, for some kids, learning how to read, write, and pronounce words can be a challenge. Olivia*, a 4th grade Club member, is taking it upon herself to mentor Sophia*, a 3rd grader.

Olivia helps Sophia with anything she needs to succeed during the school day. Together they read, but it is Olivia’s growing leadership that’s making the biggest impact on Sophia. Having a peer mentor helps Sophia learn in a way that’s comfortable and fun!

Olivia helps by saying a word and Sophia sounds it out and writes it down. Sometimes Sophia gets distracted and starts to doodle. When this happens, Olivia knows it’s time for a “brain break” and then gently guides Sophia back to the task at hand.

Last month, while Olivia and Sophia were working together, another Club member approached and said, “This looks like it is really easy to do.” Olivia quickly replied, “Just because it’s easy for you doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone else.”

When Olivia was asked why she helps Sophia she said, “It makes me feel good.”

Some of Club’s greatest treasures are caring mentors who build deep and meaningful relationships with our members. These mentors often come in the form of Club staff or volunteers, but sometimes, peer mentors make the biggest impact. Club is so much more than an after-school program. It’s a place where positive peer relationships are formed and learning experiences spark joy that leads to great futures.

Embrace infinite possibilities at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Bay & Lakes Region as kids grow into their futures of success. Read more in the spring 2024 Club Connection edition.
Watch the mission spotlight video that highlights Ms. Venus and her family at Club.
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