Sunday Dec 27 2009
Auburn Boys & Girls Club founder to retire
By: Kristine Guerra, Journal Correspondent
Bonnie McAdams has led the group for 17 years
After 17 years of running the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn, Bonnie McAdams is stepping down. “It’s just time,” said McAdams, who turns 67 in February. McAdams co-founded the club 17 years ago to provide children a place for recreation and companionship. She’s the first president of the club’s board of directors and served as executive director for six years. “I saw the need from my own children. They said there’s never anything to do here,” McAdams, a mother of two, said. “Then I thought maybe we could do something about that. So, we did.” Dec. 31 will be her last official day with the club. McAdams said she’s confident the club will be in good hands. Chief Professional Officer Randy Tooker, who has known and worked with McAdams for seven years, has nothing but praise for her work ethic. “She’s completely selfless. The job requires her to be on-call seven days a week and Bonnie has run more than a marathon with it,” Tooker said. “(She’s done) everything from speaking to a group at 4 a.m. on a weekend to attending an open house or event needed any night of the week.” Tooker said he hopes McAdams will finally have time for herself. Katie Fuller, who’s now taking over as development director, said the people at the club are “extremely moved” by McAdams’ decision to retire. “She’s what started it,” Fuller said. “People are very emotional about seeing this great icon to this Auburn community retiring. It speaks a lot about her character and dedication.” For McAdams, her memories with the Boys & Girls Club will always remain personal and the payoff often came in little surprises. For instance, McAdams said she once got a phone call from a former club member, then a teenager whom she first met at a juvenile hall, but who now works for a corporation in Las Vegas. “He wanted to thank all of us, and he was very excited he had this job,” McAdams said. “When you get a call like that, it’s kind of special.” Just recently, she ran into a young man with a 4-year-old daughter. “He said ‘Do you remember me? I was member number 89,’” McAdams said. “The reward is just in going all around Auburn and seeing these young people who came through the program, seeing them as parents, seeing them working in the job market and out of trouble.” Asked what she’s doing when she’s not working for the club or what her hobbies are, McAdams couldn’t think of any. “I haven’t had any (hobbies) because I’ve always worked so many hours,” she said. “I’m going to have to look for some.” She and husband, Tim, a retired firefighter and arson investigator, have lived in Auburn for 30 years. Before starting the Boys & Girls Club, she worked as regional director for a company in Minnesota. The job required her to be gone for weeks. “I just felt like I needed to change,” she said. McAdams said she would like to thank the community for all the support throughout the years. She said she’d now have a little more time to spend with her family and to do some traveling. She will also serve as director emeritus for the club. “I just figured I have a whole new adventure coming,” she said. Fuller said she’s excited about her new position. She said the relationships that McAdams built throughout the years have made her job so much easier. “I have some pretty big shoes to fill,” Fuller said.