Diamonds and Gold are for real in Indiana and Arkansas, but I found a real gem right here in Boone County.

It is called the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County, Lebanon.

From the outside it is not an imposing structure. But looks are only skin deep and it is what is inside that counts.

Through the doors, daily, more than 60 young, vibrant, boys and girls run toward adventure, learning and love .

The club opened its doors first, in Boone County, as the Boys Club. It was envisioned as a way to attract “at risk” boys away from what some would say “ boys being boys.” That is an euphemism for getting into trouble. Not necessarily bad stuff but in the minds of some, – trouble.

It was 1953.

That was a good year. Ralph Houser, according to Lebanon’s Boys and Girls records,was the club’s first executive director. A September 2003 Lebanon Reporter item quotes Houser, “ They had tried to start from scratch, several times, to develop a city wide program.” He organized the club, obtained its first charter and remained the Executive Director until 1962. It helps when you have experience. Houser had experience with clubs in Muncie and Rushville before coming to Lebanon.

Directors have come and gone, and while the club was named the “Boys” club , girls were included in the activities. In 1983 the name was changed to officially become the “Lebanon Area Boys and Girls Club.” Membership was open to boys and girls ages 5-18 and while most lived in Lebanon, Zionsville and southern Boone County were served also until their interest grew to the point that clubs were opened in Zionsville and Whitestown .

There is much more to the story. Stay tuned.

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