Boys and Girls Club director steps down

Boys and Girls Club Board President Ron Moore said Friday that longtime Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin has stepped down.

“Kevin McLaughlin stepped down as the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Sweet Home on Dec. 31,” Moore said in a prepared statement. “The Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that services to our local youth and other club activities are maintained during the transition to new executive leadership.”

In a statement that will be sent to donors and community partners, Moore said, “Although change may be a challenge, we are committed to approaching this transition as an opportunity to strengthen our club, and we are counting on your continued support as an essential part of that process.”

Moore said that he could not explain further the reasons behind McLaughlin’s departure.

Contacted by phone on Monday, McLaughlin declined to comment on the situation.

“As far as rumors go, we live in a small town, and a lot times, things get blown out of proportion,” Moore said about talk circulating in recent weeks about the status of the club’s executive director.

McLaughlin led the organization for 14 years, Moore said, and the board has appreciated his service.

“He was definitely instrumental in the building we’re in,” he said, and he was responsible for taking the club’s funding and activities to the level where they are now.

For now, Boys and Girls Club of Lebanon Executive Director Jason Utzie will assist in managing the Sweet Home club.

Sweet Home Athletic Director Shari Smith is handling daily management duties, with the help of two other staff members, Program Director Amber Galster, who succeeded Bridget Horlacher, who resigned last year to become director at another club, and Sarah Gray, the club’s administrative assistant.

“I want the community to be assured, we are a strong, viable organization,” Moore said, but he added that community support is critical.

The club is busy getting ready for the club’s annual auction in April, Moore said, and club officials are excited and committed as they move forward with their regular activities as well as new ideas.

Among them, the board is looking at the possibility of building a teen center, with a new capital campaign to undertake the effort, Moore said.