A Legacy of Making a Better Person: Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Texas

A Legacy of Making a Better Person: Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Texas

A Legacy Of Making A Better Person:
Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Texas

by Steve Gamel

 

Rick Troutman could spend all day sharing heartwarming stories that get to the core of why he and wife, Babs, have spent the last 14 years not only overseeing the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Texas – but making it their life’s work. Like the day they stopped in for a treat at Sonic and were approached by one of the carhops. “Ms. Babs? Mr. Rick? Is that you? It’s me … J.R. Remember me?” the boy said. The 16-year-old was a former regular at the Lake Dallas club five years earlier and couldn’t wait to tell his mentors how much he missed coming to the club.

There was also the time one of Rick’s employees got pulled over for speeding but got off with a warning when the officer realized she was trying to get to the club. He, too, was a former member at a San Diego club. Lastly, there was the time a young man showed up to the club specifically to show Rick his used pickup truck. “To him, it might as well have been a Mercedes. And he was so proud to show it off to me,” Rick said with a smile. “I was so happy for him, and I was touched. I figured, ‘I guess we’ve done a pretty good job. He’s going to be OK.’

If anyone tells you they want to start a 501c3 non-profit because it’s easy, they’re lying. And Rick and Babs are prime examples. Babs took over the Lake Dallas location nearly 15 years ago, and since then they’ve added locations in Sanger, Denton, Lewisville, and Little Elm. Technically, Babs retired almost four years ago, but she has never completely stepped away. Together, the Troutmans do everything from hiring employees, seeking out donors and sponsors to keep the clubs running, raising money through various events, keeping tabs on the clubs’ books, buying supplies – and oh yeah, making sure kids are being raised to be quality human beings and feel loved every step of the way.

That last part tends to get lost in translation among many who think the Boys & Girls Club is simply a daycare. Other preconceived notions are that they only take bad kids from poverty-stricken families who live in bad neighborhoods. “We take in some really good kids,” Rick said. “Do we have people who live in low-income housing? Sure. But we also have kids who come from good households. People volunteer and they expect to see these rough kids with torn shoes, but what they get are sweet kids who say yes, ma’am and no, ma’am.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs is unlike other non-profits in that they are a proactive organization. They keep things from happening and ensure a child won’t go down the wrong path. Their mission is predicated on helping children reach their full potential through everything from character development, education, health, leadership, and acceptance. It’s like a mini city, and the kids who spend time there don’t care about color, culture, or how much money you have. “If they have that mindset here, they’ll carry it with them,” Rick said. “That’s a big one for me. We are holistic in that we are trying to make a better person. That’s the impact we have on these kids.”

Slowly but surely, the Troutmans are finding ways to educate those around them and garner extra support. The Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Texas are coming up on their 25th anniversary later this year, and the Troutmans are gearing up for several of their mainstay events to drive more fundraising. The biggest of those is their 13th annual golf tournament on April 25 at Lantana Golf Club. For the first time ever, this event has two title sponsors (Firestone and Interstate Battery) and is already completely paid for.

It’s a great spot to be in for a couple who has dedicated their lives to one mission – kids. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the point where the clubs are financially sound, but if we can get enough people to understand what we are trying to do and support us, we can at least take care of the basic stuff,” Rick said. “Through all the things we go through, these kids are why we do this. We just care about the kids.”


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