The Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County in Longview and the Boys & Girls Club of Big Pines in Marshall have announced they will merge under the Big Pines name, effective Jan. 1, 2017. BGCGC president Jon Cromer said the move will enable an expansion of school-based clubs in Pine Tree ISD, Spring Hill ISD and Longview ISD.

Boys & Girls Clubs, LISD to partner in after-school program

Wed Dec 14, 2016

The Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County in Longview and the Boys & Girls Club of Big Pines in Marshall have announced they will merge under the Big Pines name, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

BGCGC president Jon Cromer said the move will enable an expansion of school-based clubs in Pine Tree ISD, Spring Hill ISD and Longview ISD.

The program will provide services during after-school hours to LISD students for three hours per day Monday through Friday at Bramlette, J.L. Everhart, Hudson PEP, Ware and South Ward Elementary Schools as well as Forest Park, Foster and Judson Middle Schools.

Other activities that will be offered through the afterschool program are homework assistance, health, fitness, mentoring, arts, pro-social asset building, and science.

Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services, said the program will provide LISD students with "out-of-school learning, enrichment, college- and career-readiness, and physical activity opportunities."

"It is our hope that this partnership will enable all our young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens," he said, adding that the agreement will last through the end of the current school year with options to renew and expand next year.

The organization started as a single site serving 80 kids a day and has grown to 15 sites serving about 1,000 kids throughout East Texas serving Elysian Fields, Gladewater, Hallsville, Harleton, Hughes Springs, Jefferson, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Ore City and Waskom. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Pines reports that since 2005, all of its regular club members, except for one, have graduated from high school.

As part of the merger, Bryan Partee is being named the new Executive Director of the BGC Longview club. Partee has 12 years of experience as Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Pines. A San Diego native, Partee earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis on child studies from the University of California—San Diego. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 18 years and have one son, Noah.

Cromer says the merger with Big Pines will benefit the clubs due to shared efficiencies and cost effectiveness of consolidating administrative expenses and will enable the clubs to reach more kids.

“We are especially excited that this merger enables our Longview club to help more kids,” Cromer said. “Big Pines has specialized experience in reaching out and fostering relationships with schools and serving kids through school-based sites, which is something we have sought to do in Longview for quite some time.

Cromer said the organization plans to grow from one site to 13 sites in January, in partnership with local school districts, and "we hope to have 15 sites in Longview by the fall 2017.”

The new structure enables the Longview club to serve more families throughout Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill, Cromer said, "while also supporting a dynamic teen program, like what Big Pines has grown and nurtured in Marshall."

Parents interested in information on enrolling their children, grades 6-12, can see fee schedules and learn more at BeGreatLongview.com.