Chartered in 1997, and located at 334 N. Lawrence Street, in Charles Town, the Jefferson County Boys & Girls Club (JCBGC) was founded by community members with the desire to provide programming for young people in their community.
Opening with just 12 members, the club’s first home was Zion Episcopal Church. From there, the club located to its current location, where for nearly a year, it operated out of a trailer on the grounds until new facility renovations were completed in 1998.
Growing from the original dozen members, the club now serves over 300 youth each year. Unit Director Chris Burg, a 2010 graduate of Martinsburg High School, played two seasons of football at Shepherd University, while majoring in elementary education, before transferring to Bethany College (WV), where he switched majors to sports management, and found continued success on the football field as well within the community.
After returning to the Panhandle in 2016 following graduation, he became director of JCBGC, and has been endeavoring to do as much as he can for the organization, and area youth, ever since.
“Almost all of our staff at the club are Shepherd University students,” he indicated. “I’ve been lucky to have some quality, educated, goal-oriented college students work for us.”
Burg explained that the most notable project JCBGC is gearing up for is their summer camp program. “This is an eight-week program that runs Monday-Friday, from 9am-5pm, consisting of field trips, swimming, and much more.”
Burg’s ultimate goal at the club is to affect as many youth as possible. “I believe it’s a very important time in the world to focus on the youth and help them in as many ways as possible,” he stressed. “Crime and violence is a huge topic amongst people in this area, but I believe that if we shift our focus to our current youth, we can save lives and instill core values that can last a lifetime.”
JCBGC provides meals, afterschool care, educational support, life advice, sports, and recreational activities to area youth. “But with all that we offer, we need help,” said Burg. “What we do, and where we want to take it, won’t get easier without community support. Whether it be financial help, or volunteer work—however someone can give, we’re willing to accept.”
Burg knows how vital to the success of the community an organization like JCBGC inevitably becomes.
“I grew up in the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Boys & Girls Club, and I’m from this area—so to see the condition our community is in, and has been the past couple of years, has motivated me to be the change I want to see,” he affirmed. “I definitely see myself being involved for a long time. This is both a job and a passion for me. It’s hard for me to see a person that needs help and not help them, because I was fortunate enough as a young person to have positive influences around me, and that made me who I am today. Some of my fondest memories come from being a member of the Boys & Girls Club, so I guess all I’m doing now is trying to return the favor.”By Staff Contributor