From the Boys and Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (News Release) - Steve Davidson knows he has big shoes to fill, as he becomes just the second president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas in the history of the organization.
Davidson steps into the position after a nationwide search by the Boys and Girls Club corporate board following the death of the organization's CEO Jeff Woods
The club, with the assistance of the Boys and Girls national organization, received more than 80 resumes of which 60 were from leaders currently working in clubs from across the country, said Bryant Krenek, Boys and Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas corporate board chairman. Over a 90-day period the corporate board search committee conducted numerous phone and personal interviews before selecting Davidson.
"From the moment the committee spoke with Steve, he was our leading candidate," Krenek said. "Steve is the kind of leader that is very easy to approach and his openness will make you feel at ease immediately. East Texas is full of friendly people, and his communication skills blend well with all of the communities served by our clubs.
"We wanted a mature CEO with experience in many settings who would make East Texas his home and bring a fresh perspective to our organization," Krenek said. "Because Steve has worked in so many different Boys and Girls Club settings and has done every job in a club, he has the depth of experience that can enrich our programs and make kids yearn for more knowledge."
Davidson comes to East Texas from Nevada, where he served as chief operating officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada. He managed 14 club sites that served more than 22,000 youth annually with a budget of more than $6 million.
Prior to his work in Nevada, Davidson was the president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale in Arizona where he managed nine club sites, numerous outreach locations and served more than 18,000 youth annually on a budget of $9 million.
"It has always been a dream of mine to be the CEO of a Boys and Girls Club in a smaller community," Davidson said. "I love being active in the community, but all of the communities in which I have lived consisted of two to three million people. I did not feel like I made an impact, but I feel I can make a big impact here in East Texas."
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas have locations in Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Diboll, San Augustine, Polk County and Hardin County. The clubs serve about 2,000 students during the school plus another 1,500 in extracurricular activities - gymnastics, football and swimming.
In total, Davidson has more than 35 years serving youth through a Boys and Girls Club organization, and he has taken management courses and is a training affiliate for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
"I grew up in a community of about 12,000 north west of Philadelphia," he said. "I am looking forward to the peaceful environment of a small town."
Hitting the ground running, Davidson has been in Lufkin and Nacogdoches since late February. He has met with many community and law enforcement leaders and has plans to develop on-going relationships with them.
"We want our city leaders to feel confident with what the Boys and Girls Club represents," he said, adding he wants to involve them as volunteers in club activities so the youth get to know them.
"It's about open, positive relationships."
These first few months will be a learning process, he said, adding he and the board want the organization to be the best it can be and to do that he needs to know everything.
"The legacy Mr. Woods has established here in Deep East Texas is truly remarkable. The after school, summer, aquatics, football and gymnastics programs have provided a great foundation from which we can build and grow," Davidson said.
As he learns more and more about the program, Davidson said he expects to make some changes that will enhance the programs as well as the club as a whole for both parents and students.
"One of the things I have noticed is the clubs are closed more than I am accustomed to them being closed," he said. "I think we should be open spring break and open more in August. We will look into that. Parents need a place for the kids to go."
Davidson has looked into the current security programs of the clubs and has some ideas for change, which involve bringing in police officers as volunteers as well as possibly during events. "If we have events, we will want the police department to know about it. We will keep the lines of communication open. It's a relationship we plan to build.
"We want the police department to see us as partners in the community. That way when they see a kid in trouble they trust us and will refer them to the club. We can help turn the kid around. That is our responsibility."
Davidson also envisions the organization collaborating with other non-profits in the community, which will help both groups.
"We want to collaborate in as many ways as possible. We can partner with other agencies and share resources. For example, I think it would be beneficial to have Junior Achievement here in our club teaching the kids. I can see having Scout troops meeting at the club. They can use our facilities in the evening as a place to meet and work."
Along with programs for the students, Davidson also is planning for training and other programs for club leaders. A safety committee, made up of a staff member, a board member, a community member, a police officer and a school district official, has been established. The group discusses safety at the clubs. They have looked at staff to student ratio and at ways for staff to be more active in its daily supervision.
"We will never compromise the safety and security of our kids," he said. "There is no bigger responsibility we have than taking care of someone else's child."
Davidson and his wife, Elizabeth, have two grown children.