The Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County, which provide youth development programs for about a thousand local kids, has hired Stan Creel as its new Executive Director. Mr. Creel is replacing Jerry Lane, who retired in 2014 after a career of more than 40 years in the Boys & Girls Club.
“I am excited about seeing the Boys and Girls Club soar to new heights,” Mr. Creel said. “I’m eager to hear the board’s vision and then lead our team of staff to create exceptional environments and programs for the youth and families of Ocala and Marion County.”
Prior to the Boys & Girls Clubs, Mr. Creel supervised special events for the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department. During his tenure at the city he lead youth and adult programming, including summer camps and after school programs for the E.D. Croskey Recreation Center.
Mr. Creel is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism. He works with youth programming and as a karate instructor at Meadowbrook Church. His is also a member of the City of Ocala Racial Harmony and Cultural Awareness Task Force.
One of his goals for the Boys & Girls Clubs is to improve its facilities: “I want to see a new facility built in Silver Springs Shores, so that children in that community have the same benefits and opportunities as our current locations. Improving the quality of our current facilities will be a high priority upon my commencement.”
Jerry Lane, who continues to support the Boys & Girls Club as a volunteer, began his career with the organization in Hamilton, Ohio as a fresh graduate from Ohio University.
“Everything I learned was from that first director,” Mr. Lane said.”He was an old school guy who was there forever, but he was a lot of fun.”
Mr. Lane led the clubs in Marion County since 2005. During his tenure the organization added units in Silver Springs Shores and opened a new facility in Dunnellon. His son and daughter-in-law work for the Boys & Girls Club in Lakeland, Florida.
“It’s very important to keep kids involved so they’re not on the streets,” Mr. Lane said.”Free time is not good time for teens, so we try to keep them busy. We work on character development and we give them hope. We try to get them not to give up on things when things get rough.”
When considering his legacy with the organization, Mr. Lane recalls a young man he served when he was Executive Director of the Gainesville club. “He still has issues from when he was a little kid. And he still calls wanting advice when things aren’t going right. He’s in his 30s now.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County serve more than 1,000 children annually with branches in Ocala, Dunnellon and Silver Springs Shores. The Clubs serve children, especially those in need, by providing targeted programs and activities that focus on academic success, character development and healthy lifestyles.