Boys and Girls Club begins search for new leader

By Tammy Keith Originally Published May 2, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 1, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
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The Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County Board will advertise nationally for a new chief professional officer, said Ronda Warneke, director of development in Conway.

Robert Wright, 50, who held the position for four years, resigned effective April 30.

“This is my decision,” Wright said, although he did not elaborate.

He said he resigned April 19.

Liberty Parks, unit director since January of the Bob Nabholz Unit in Conway, is serving in the vacant position in the interim.

Warneke said the position will be advertised on the Boys and Girls Club of America website to recruit applicants “who have experience at a Boys and Girls Club.”

Wright, a lifelong Conway resident, said strides were made under his leadership.

“When I got there, transportation was lacking. We had two vans right then,” he said. “Today, we have four 15-passenger vans and two school buses that we run and pick up kids in. Of course, when I started in 2009, we were at the old building, and I was part of helping raise the $2 million to build and move into the new 15,000-square-foot facility.”

The new facility at Robins Street and South German Lane, which opened in January, is almost twice the size of the former location in downtown Conway.

The city donated land for the project in Conway Station Park, the new boys baseball complex at the former Young Business Men’s Association Fairgrounds.

Wright said the number of children utilizing the county’s three Boys and Girls Club units went from about 125 to 300 a day while he was at the helm.

“God has worked through me to help the community,” he said.

In addition to the Bob Nabholz Unit, the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County operates the Grace Unit at Grace United Methodist Church in west Conway and the Mayflower Unit.

Wright was director of the Faulkner County Council on Developmental Disabilities for 11 years prior to coming to the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County.

“I love the Boys and Girls Club,” he said.

Bryan Quinn, president of the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County Board, said in a press release that

applications for the chief professional officer position should be submitted by June 1.

“In the meantime, we are confident that Liberty, Ronda Warneke and the rest of the Boys and Girls Club staff will continue to provide excellent programming and a great overall experience to the kids,” Quinn said.

In an email to supporters, Quinn wrote, in part: “If you get a chance to say thanks to Robert for all his service and dedication to the kids of Faulkner County, please do so; I know he deserves it. … If you know of anyone that would be willing and able to fill such a position, please send them our way.”

Wright said he has no immediate career plans.

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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