Many say the previous chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weld County left big shoes to fill.
So when Todd Bale took over a couple weeks ago after Greg Kimbrough left for a position with the national organization, he hit the ground running, prepared to not only fill Kimbrough’s shoes but a big coffer as well.
Bale’s first order of business as the new headmaster of the 50-year-old club is to double the number of kids it currently serves and start supplying transportation, a goal that needs about $500,000 to implement.
“That’s a scary number for us, but that’s where we should be today if we want to double the impact,” Bale told a packed house at the annual Hope and Opportunity Breakfast, held at the club’s Monfort Youth Development Center just west of 23rd Avenue and 4th Street. “Do you want to invest on this side where it takes $1,000 a year to reach one child or invest on the back end with your tax dollars where it takes $30,500 a year to support one incarcerated person, or even $9,000 for one year on public subsidy. The one number that means the most to me is 57 percent of all kids who go through the program say the club saved their lives — saved their lives.”
Bale most recently served in the same capacity at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He said he came to Weld County not as a stepping stone for his career but because it is a place he’d like to raise his family.
“This is a place that invests in its kids and its non-profits. I’m here for the duration,” he said. “I want to see these kids go from kindergarten to high school and even college.”
Bale told the crowd they should be proud of their club, which celebrates its 50th year of service in 2014. It has weathered recessions, wars, storms and many other events when others have not.
“The doors remained open through it all,” he said. “That is amazing and because of this community.”
Charlie Shoop, treasurer of the board, said Bale was chosen after a national search that attracted more than 30 applicants.
“Greg did great things for the clubs, and he left us in a great position,” Shoop said. “But change means growth and opportunity, and we are ready for a new perspective. Todd comes to us with a lot of experience and a proven track record. He is a big thinker with big ideas and big aspirations. I am confident he’ll be great for our community.”
Bale and his wife Alicia live in Windsor where they home school their seven children between the ages of 8 months and 11 years. He was quick to add that his children spend just as much time at the club as member children do because he wants them to grow up appreciating diversity and what the club has to offer.
Bale started with Boys & Girls Clubs in 1997 in Alabama with two employees and five members. He has worked for the organization ever since, saying it just takes one person to change a child’s life.
“Boys & Girls Clubs has given more back to me than I ever put in,” he said. “Kids don’t ... choose to have all their possessions swept away in a flood; they don’t choose to grow up with a father who is incarcerated or deported. They don’t choose addiction; they don’t choose to grow up in poverty. They don’t choose any of that. We choose to help save a life. That’s our choice.”