Author: Lauren Matlock

Campers Spend the Week Conquering New Challenges and Experiences at Travel Camp

Travel Campers spent the week embarking on  new adventures, trying new experiences and for some, overcoming fears! Travel Camp took trips to Indiana Zipline Tours, Tropicanoe Cove, Columbian Park Zoo, Dave & Busters, Woodland Bowl, Sugar Valley Tube Float and Zip City!

We are already looking forward to Travel Camp 2022.


Small Campers Make a Large Impact on our Community at Caring Hands Camp

2021 Caring Hands Camp

Our 12
th Annual Caring Hands Camp took place June 7th-11th and July 12th-16th.  Caring Hands Camp is a community service-based camp that teaches youth the importance of giving back to their community.

Check out the story on WTHR Channel 13

Each day had its own theme, Animal Protection, Disability Awareness, Senior Giving, Hunger Relief and Kids for Kids. Campers learn the importance of the theme though partnership with organizations in Boone County and the surrounding areas and then complete service projects to give back.

This year’s partnerships included Boone County Sheriff’s Department’s K9 Unit and Animal Control Division, Oinking Acres, Watch Us Farm, Isaac’s Art Studio, Boone County Solid Waste Management, Crown Pointe Senior Living, The Harvest House, Pack Away Hunger, Isaiah 1:17 House and SAFY.

Campers raised $1,743.00 at their lemonade stand and donated it to the new Isaiah 1:17 House, packed over 10,000 meals to fight food insecurity, created 120 adopt me bandana for the Humane Society, made 120 bird feeders for the residents at Crown Pointe, made 120 stress balls for the clients at BACA, made 24 blankets for children in foster care and donated hundreds of pounds of produce to the animals at Oinking Acres! 

Camp is made possible though our generous sponsors at St. Francis in-the-Fields Church, Boone County REMC, Tri Kappa and David and Rosemary Means.

Registration for next year’s Caring Hands Camp opens March 1st at 7am.  

Summer Camp Registration Opens Monday, May 11

The Boys &Girls Club of Boone County is opening registrations for Summer Camp at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 11.  Camp will he held at our Club Units in Lebanon, Whtiestown and Zionsville. As parent’s register their children, Club leadership is asking them to carefully review information about process and procedure, which follow current health and safety guidelines.

Learn More

What addition safety procedures can we expect to ensure the health and wellness of the kids and staff?

  •  Any and all field trips will be by pod and only to outdoor locations.
  • Campers and staff will have temperatures checked and answer questionnaires/health screenings before entering Clubs.
  • Campers and staff will have temperature checked a second time at lunch.
  • Masks will be available for members and required when appropriate.
  • Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 will not be allowed to participate and must go home. If this happens your child will wait in an office away from other youth and staff for everyone’s safety.
  • If a child or staff member has had direct contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must self-quarantine for 14 days and call their healthcare provider.
  • Each program area will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each activity.
  • Campers and staff will regularly wash their hands.
  • Deep cleaning will happen in the evening/ before the clubs open the following day.
  • Social distancing practices put in place must be adhered to by each staff person and camper.

We have carefully reviewed guidelines from the CDC, FSSA and the state as we have planned this year’s camp. Due to social distancing and occupancy guidelines, we are restricting the number of campers at each location and organizing children in groups by age of up to 9 campers per group. We’re calling the groups pods and will have these groups in camp together all summer to ensure limited exposure to others.

Summer Camp Details and Registration

  • Registration opens on Monday, May 11.
  • Monday to Friday, June 1 through Friday, July 31, 7 a.m. to 6 p.
  • Cost is $100 per week or $30 per day.
  • Campers must be members of Boys & Girls Club of Boone County. ($65 membership)
  • Parents can register using the portal on the organization’s website.
  • The total campers at each location and planned pod group totals based on current guidelines:Lebanon:  36 campers (4 pods)
    Whitestown:  54 campers (6 pods)
    Zionsville:  45 campers (5 pods)

Leadership will continue to monitor the situation and guidance from state and national officials throughout the summer to determine if changes to the camp structure need to be made.  During these uncertain times, we are excited to reopen and continue our mission of providing a safe environment for those who need us most.


Mark Branch
Chief Operating Officer
Boys & Girls Club of Boone County

Giving Tuesday, May 5th – Support the Meal Program

The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County’s Meal Program, established in mid-March, has become an essential Boone County program with an increasing daily need. Since county schools moved to eLearning and the statewide shelter in place order was issued, the organization staff and volunteers have served nearly 6,000 meals in-total, drive through style, to members of the community who have found themselves financially challenged.

Each day an average 250 hot meals are now planned and served. Boys & Girls Club of Boone County leaders estimate it will take at least $50,000 to fully fund the program through the end of May, when the school year traditionally ends. Club leadership is committed to ensuring community members who are financially challenged receive at least one hot meal a day and are asking for the community’s support on Giving Tuesday, May 5.

The Food Program need

The Indiana Department of Education estimates about 40% of school-aged children in Lebanon are economically disadvantaged. Boone County’s unemployment rate was at 2.2% in February. The latest data from March shows statewide unemployment was 9.8%.

Prior to schools moving to eLearning to ensure student health and safety, the Lebanon Club served about 100 youth daily through a program funded by the Department of Education. The funds are no longer available because the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County has closed facilities in compliance with the State of Indiana Executive Order. The three Clubs in the county are slated to safely reopen in June.

Our staff and volunteers are committed to ensuring the basic needs of youth in our county by providing a hot meal each day,” says Mark Branch, CEO Boys & Girls Club of Boone County. “Our team and volunteers are doing a fantastic job each daily fulfilling the need. We’re asking for community support to continue this program through May.”

The Giving Tuesday Now ask

The average cost of a hot meal including supplies is $4 per person per day. The team is serving an average of 250 people each day. The Meal Program began in mid-March with a grant of $5,000 from the Community Foundation of Boone County. Several generous businesses have donated food for youth and families too. To fully fund the cost of food and supplies for the Meal Program through the end of May will take up to $50,000. Gifts will be matched up to $20,000 thanks to a generous matching donor.

The Club also needs volunteers each evening to pack meals for the program. Business owners that want to provide donated food/meals or sponsor meals also are needed to sustain the program. Contact Katie Reasoner, resource development director, for more information and details.

“Thank you to each and every business and organization that has supported the Meal Program since we started in mid-March. We could not do this without you,” says Reasoner.

This Program has been supported by

The Boone County Community Foundation, Zionsville Presbyterian Church, United Way of Central Indiana, Fitzmark, Global Plastics, Backroads BBQ, Boone County REMC Round Up Program, Lebanon Christian Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church, Northview Church, Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering, Chik-Fil-A, Panera Bread, Second Helpings, Campbell’s, Milky Way, Noah Grant’s, Zionsville Youth Soccer Association, Boone County Chamber of Commerce, Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, Centier Bank, Meijer, Purity Wholesale Groceries and Duke Energy.

The Need for Meals Continues to Increase.

Wow, what a week!  We hit two milestones by serving over 300 meals on both Tuesday and Thursday nights.  We can’t thank Backroads BBQ enough for the continued support.  By 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, we had run out of the initial meal.  Mike and the crew at Backroads were able to supply an additional 150 meals for us within 30 minutes.  Christian Stafford, Lebanon Unit Director and Bridget Griffin, Kitchen Manager have continued to go above and beyond to meet the needs of the Boone County community. In just five weeks, we have served 5,363 meals!

We are committed to serving the meals  until May 29 from the Lebanon Unit, 403 W. Main St.  Meals will be available Monday through Friday, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The support from the community for food donations, monetary donations and volunteers has been generous and is so appreciated.  We could not do this program without everyone’s support.  You are all truly demonstrating we are IN this together. We will continue to write grants and solicit donations to keep the program funded.

Donation boxes are available outside the Zionsville Unit, 1575 Mulberry Street or at any of the locations in Lebanon, Whitestown and Zionsville from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday – Friday.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 5 for the Giving Tuesday, #Togetherwegive fundraising campaign.  Look for more information, videos and opportunities to give in the next two weeks.

Our Food Partners

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

At the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County, the health and safety of our members is our top priority. In light of the news about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to reassure you that we are taking additional measures. Health officials are encouraging all of us to be proactive in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Everyone has a role to play.

It is imperative, if your child is not feeling well, has a cough, fever or other symptoms that the child does not attend the Club. If any member at the Club exhibits any of these symptoms, the staff will call the parent and have the child sit behind the desk until he or she is picked up.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyday prevention measures for individuals, including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching face with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Our staff regularly clean equipment and surfaces in each of our Units which includes game tables, tables and chairs and program equipment. We are increasing our daily cleaning in order to keep up with the germs. In addition, we have a nightly cleaning crew.

Our sports leagues will continue as scheduled. We recommend either fist bumps in the line or no handshake line at all to prevent direct hand to hand touching and potential spreading of germs.

We will follow the Zionsville Community School and Lebanon Community School policies in regards to hours of operation. If the schools close, the Club will also close for the health and safety of our staff and members.

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our Club staff.


Mark Branch
CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Boone County

New CEO Brings Decades of Experience to Boys & Girls Club of Boone County

Mark BranchThe Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club is thrilled to announce Mark Branch as the organization’s new CEO. Branch was selected from a competitive field of applicants after a 3-month executive search. Over the past year the Club has undergone a merger and has three unit locations in Boone County – a Lebanon Unit, a Whitestown Unit and a Zionsville Unit. The hiring of this CEO is the final step in the process.

We are beyond excited to have Mark Branch serving as our new CEO. Mark has a proven track record of strong leadership and has unmatched experience with the Boys & Girls Club.  Boone County – and most importantly the youth of Boone County – will benefit from his leadership.
said Board President Rob Schein

Branch began his career as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club in Indianapolis. After seven years at the helm of an Indianapolis club, Branch moved to Cleveland, TN where he was the Executive Director and oversaw two units and served 1,800 kids. After receiving two merit awards, he moved to South Carolina and oversaw three Units.  In a three year period, he increased those three Units to 5 Units while also leading a capital campaign which raised $7.5 million – exceeding the original $5 million goal.  After his success in South Carolina, Branch returned to his roots in Indianapolis and served as Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis for seven years.  There he was responsible for overseeing staff of 22 full-time and 90 part-time employees that served 12,000 youth in Marion County. He joined the national staff of Boys & Girls Club of America in 2006 and most recently served as Lead Director where he was responsible for managing Clubs in the Midwest, Southwest and Pacific-West Regions of the country.

After serving Clubs nationwide, Branch was eager to return to a CEO role that would allow him to utilize his three decades of experience and leave a lasting legacy. He has supervised and developed countless staff members, which makes him the perfect compliment to our long-tenured Unit Directors.

The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County has seen a 60% increase in members in the past 10 years, creating a huge community need. The three Units collectively serve 450 members daily in before and after-school programs. In total there are 3,000 members who participate in sports leagues and summer camps.  At the Lebanon Unit, dinner is fed to 75-100 children, five days a week.  Without the meal provided by the Club, most of these kids would go hungry until school the next day. Under Branch’s leadership the Club is poised to launch into its next phase and provide unmatched service to the youth of Boone County.

36th Annual Golf Outing Benefits the Youth of Boone County.

2019 Golf Outing

The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County (BGCBoone) hosted the 36th Annual “Tee It Up for the Kids” golf outing on Friday, August 2 at the Golf Club of Indiana.  This year’s event marked the 10th year Ameriprise Financial Endeavor Group, has been the presenting sponsor.

Eric Bilitz, President of the Endeavor Group states, “How can you beat a day like today when you get to play golf for the benefit of the kids in the community and the organization who mission is to help those kids be the best they can be?”   In addition to the presenting sponsorship for the golf outing, Ameriprise has been contributing to the Club for 20 years, supporting sports, capital projects and the annual campaign.

This year’s event was the first joint golf outing since the merger of the Lebanon Area Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Club of Zionsville into the Boy & Girls Club of Boone County.  The outing raised more funds for the youth in the county than the independent outings have raised in past years, over $25,000.  Rob Schein, BGCBoone board president states, “Thanks to partners such as Ameriprise, the Club is able to keep our member fees low in order to serve all the youth of Boone County.  48% of the $1.56 million budget is raised through special events, corporate sponsors, individual donations and grants.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Boone County– Lebanon, Whitestown and Zionsville– serves 425 members daily and currently has 3000 total members. In addition to their daily programming, they offer sports leagues and summer camps. In Lebanon, they feed an average of 85 kids, five days a week. Without the meal provided by the Club, most of the kids would go hungry until school the next day. The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Boone County is to enable all area youth, especially those that need them most, to develop the skills, fitness, and character they need to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.

In addition to Ameriprise, Global Plastics and PWG/Levitetz Family Foundation were presenting sponsors for the event.  120 golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the course with box lunches and a post golf cookout in the Clubhouse.  The Florida scramble format with a putting contest, game cards, silent auction and a raffle were enjoyed by the golfers.  We look forward to hosting the 37th annual event in August of 2020.

Easter Eggtravaganza held at the Whitestown and Zionsville Units.

Kiddos had a big time at the annual Eggtravaganza event.  Just what we need, kids hopped up on sugar!


Boone County Family Feud

Family Feud

Great night supporting Boone County non-profits with the first Annual Family Feud.  BGCBoone came in a close 2nd.

Sarah is busy catching up on all the Super Hero movies so she will be ready for next year.

Family Feud