Conway man finds himself in dream job at youth club

By Tammy Keith Originally Published August 25, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated August 24, 2013 at 4:31 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

After working as a financial consultant for 1 1/2 years in Little Rock, Clint Brock of Conway made the decision to pursue a position that would allow him to work with children in a recreational setting. The result of that decision is the recent hiring of Brock to the position of chief professional officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County.

Clint Brock of Conway likes kids, sports and working with numbers, and he gets all that in his new job as chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County.

Brock, 43, started in his new position Tuesday.

“Everything just sort of fell into place,” he said of the job.

Brock was selected from among more than 50 applicants to replace Robert Wright, who resigned in April.

The walls are bare in Brock’s new office. A case of Diet Coke on the floor isn’t his (he’s a Mountain Dew man), and the only personal items on his shelves are small paper columns, a craft project his 5-year-old daughter, Shelby, made when she visited him at the club his first day.

“She just loved it,” he said of the club.

So did he.

“We had 180 kids in here,” he said. “Interacting with them, meeting employees for the first time, felt more like me,” he said.

Brock grew up in Newport and and has been in Conway since he started at the University of Central Arkansas. He majored in political science and minored in business with a plan to go into the FBI.

Although he passed the test, “that didn’t quite pan out.” Brock said he was the youngest one in the room and most everyone else applying had a law-enforcement background. He knew the competition was just going to get tougher.

“I’m a pretty faith-based person. It wasn’t meant to be,” he said.

After serving as a customer-service manager at McCain Mall in North Little Rock for 1 1/2 years, he got a job as program director for the Conway Parks and Recreation Department, where he worked for 10 years.

“I ran all the athletic events — baseball, basketball — everything the city offers,” he said.

“That was great. That was a really good learning experience. I got to meet everybody in the world, all walks of life,” Brock said.

He said he was the 11th employee to be hired, and there were about 50 employees when he left.

When Brian Knopp, then director of the program, left, so did Brock.

He had 10 years in, and the city’s plan offers a person his pension at age 60 if he works 10 years.

“I had to make that decision at the 10-year mark,” he said.

Brock took a job at Whisenhunt Investments in Little Rock.

“Another interest, or passion, of mine is finance,” he said. “I love dealing with money and that kind of thing.”

He was a consultant at the company for about 1 1/2 years.

Although he enjoyed it, he worked one on one with people.

“It just wasn’t the passion I had for kids and sport and recreation,” he said. “It wasn’t as social as I like it to be.”

Brock said his wife, Angie, works in Little Rock, and it was important to them that one or the other be in Conway where their daughter goes to school.

Through his work for a decade with Conway Parks and Recreation, he said he already had a type of partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and knew three former chief professional officers.

“I was part of the [leadership] team that built the baseball park,” he said. Two or three acres were dedicated in Conway Station Park at Robins Street and South German Lane, the city’s boys baseball complex, for the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County’s new facility.

It opened in January.

“I know half the people on the board,” he said. “I’ve dealt with them in either sports or business.”

Brock applied in May for the Boys and Girls Club job. The process was slow, but he quit his job anyway and stayed home with Shelby.

“I knew this position here was a strong possibility, and I told my wife, ‘I’ll hang out with Shelby till school starts.’”

He said that time with his daughter was precious.

Brock said the birth of his daughter five years ago and the death of one of his twin sisters in March 2012 changed his focus on a career.

His fraternal-twin sisters, Shelly Gates of Newport and Kelly Terry, were 40 when they got pneumonia at the same time.

Both were hospitalized, but Kelly didn’t respond to treatment and died.

“We were just real close growing up,” he said. It’s still emotional for him to talk about.

It led him to re-evaluate his career. “It’s not always about money. You need to get back to what feels right,” he said.

“One of the big reasons that I feel like this is a good spot for me, I feel like personally I’ve got, for lack of a better term, a servant’s heart,” he said.

His first day at the club, he had an 11-year-old sitting in a chair because of the boy’s behavior.

The child’s grandmother, who is raising him, came to pick him up and he and the woman had a long talk, Brock said.

“She was telling me it’s been a struggle,” he said. “She was hoping it [Boys and Girls Club] would give him some direction. She was so appreciative. It’s the old cliché — if you’ve reached one, you’ve done something.”

Brock said he asked some children who were being disrespectful to sit out of activities for a while, too.

Afterward, he said they shook hands.

“I’m a big believer that kids operate better in structure,” he said. “At the same time, you’ve got to love them.”

Brock said the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County has an opportunity to help a lot of children.

“It’s good to be back in Conway,” he said of his job. “I want to take these first couple of weeks and observe, look at the numbers and from there, we will get a game plan.”

He wants to put “a little bit more emphasis on the homework and education” at the club, he said.

A Power Hour is held at the club from 4:30-5:30 p.m. each day.

“I was really happy with that, just seeing it for the first time. There were 40 to 50 kids in there, sitting down doing their homework, reading — college kids in there helping them if they need help,” he said.

Brock said his goal is to partner with UCA and Hendrix College to bring in more volunteer tutors.

He said another of his goals is to get Boys and Girls Club units in Greenbrier and Vilonia. In addition to the Bob Nabholz Unit, the one where his office is, the nonprofit organization has the Grace Unit in west Conway at Grace United Methodist Church and the Mayflower Unit. More than 300 kids a day are served by the three.

“It’s for Faulkner County, not just Conway,” he said of the club.

It’s also the perfect place for him.

“At the end of the day, I just really wanted to be somewhere to make a difference,” he said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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