By RAY QUIROGA
Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS
Michael Quist is a believer. He believes in the power of people. He believes in this community, and he believes in the Boys & Girls Club of America.
As the recently hired director (officially titled Chief Professional Officer) of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Madre (BGCLM), Quist hopes to muster his own acumen and experience, along with that of his staff, to move the club into the next phase of its already illustrious history.
Quist, whose first day as club CPO was December 17, 2012, was born and raised on the East Coast, and he moved to Central Texas in the 1990s where he worked in ministry. Quist later began a Boys & Girls Club chapter in Burnet, Texas when he found that the club’s goals fulfilled a need that his church was trying to fill in his adopted community.
Quist is married with three children, a son in high school, a recent high school graduate and a 23-year-old daughter. His two sons and wife, who’s a school teacher, plan to relocate to the area at the end of the school year in June.
For Quist, the decision to fill the role as CPO in Port Isabel wasn’t difficult.
“I had applied for a couple of other jobs, and every time I talked to somebody, they’d talk about all the problems they had and when the board president here gave me a call, she said, ‘We have a strong board; we work well together, we’re doing good things.’ It sounded like a very positive place.”
Quist admits that he spent his first month on the job doing something he doesn’t necessarily enjoy doing – sitting behind a desk reviewing financials and other paperwork. “I don’t like to do that. I like to be out, I like to be in the community, so last week it was good to be out and meeting people,” he said.
Quist follows Mary Flores, who resigned as the club’s CPO in October 2012. Quist heralded her proficiency to implement programs within the club that helped develop club members. “The programs are very strong here and the staff is very good. They know what I need before I know,” Quist said.
The BGCLM also has a satellite site at Port Isabel Junior High and an outreach program in Brownsville which encompasses four other sites. In all there are a dozen part-time professional staffers who assist Quist. The club has some 400 registered members and averages around 150 in daily attendance. The club operates within a $400,000 budget and Quist expects it to reach the half million dollar mark in two to three years.
The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Madre is located at 190 Port Road.
Read this story in the Jan. 17 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.