Gord Johnston (left) is retiring as executive director of the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club. He is pictured

Gord Johnston (left) is retiring as executive director of the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club. He is pictured

Longtime Boys and Girls Club director retires

After 25 years of service to the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club, Gord Johnston is stepping aside

After 25 years as an integral part of the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club, Gord Johnston is stepping away from it to focus on his position in Habitat for Humanity.

Johnston started on the board in 1988. He spent five years as a member of the board, then became executive director in 1993 and stayed in that position up until Dec. 2013.

“It seems like a long time, but also seems like just yesterday,” he said. “I love the job, I could have stayed there forever. It’s a great job. But I kind of moved on to Habitat for Humanity, I wanted to get that going. It’s time for some young people to come in and take over and take it in whatever direction they see fit.”

Johnston said one of the big changes he’s noticed in the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club since he’s been involved is the growth. Back then, there was only one facility in Cranbrook.

“We were a pretty small organization,” he said. “And now we’ve grown and grown into three facilities with 15 full-time staff members and something like 90 kids in programs every day. It’s really grown and we’ve been able to provide more services to the community.”

He said the growth came about because of the support of the community.

“We couldn’t do it otherwise. We’re non-profit. We scrape nickels and dimes together to provide programs for kids and with Cranbrook’s support – the city and United Way, local businesses and parents bringing their kids,” he said. “We just had incredible support, which has brought us along. It’s been encouraging too, we’re always fighting to raise the funds.”

Johnston’s role had him raising funds and developing new program areas.

He said raising money has gotten easier as the years have gone on. He said the club’s programs have improved and the reputation in the community as a whole has also improved, which helps when getting that community support.

“I think we provide very good quality programs and people can rely on us, so they look at us to provide those programs and they support those for those reasons,” he said.

Johnston said they have been working on the leadership transition for the past two years.

Lori McNeill has already stepped into the role. McNeill has been in the organization for seven years. Johnston and Debbie Morris, the program director, have been working with McNeill for the past two years to get prepared for the position.

“In these small non-profits, you basically need a jack of all trades, someone who can work with the kids, and do some administration on the side,” he said. “We’re very lucky to have had someone in the ranks that could move into that position, because it’s really hard to find executive directors that will work for very little.

“That’s how I ended up getting the job. We couldn’t pay enough to hire an executive director and I happened to be in the community with a youth employment program, so it made sense for me to combine the two, take on the executive directorship and bring the youth employment program over with me.”

Johnston said the club is a true non-profit, as it doesn’t buy properties or other assets, just provides programs.

His fondest moments as part of the club have just been seeing kids’ families grow within the organization.

“It’s just so powerful to see that,” he said. “We have kids that arrive in our programs now that are infants and they are still with is when they’re 12 years old. We get to know the parents, we get to know the kids, we get to see them grow up and it’s just so rewarding. I’ll never forget that.”

He said it’s been a great experience.

“I don’t even look at it as a job,” he said.

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read