The Craig community officially welcomed Jonathan Godes, the executive director of the newly founded Boys and Girls Club of Craig, to the town at a luncheon Friday. The abundant laughter, smiles and inspirational, tear-jerking stories from the community about their BGCC experiences suggested that the talkative, enthusiastic 26-year-old brought big plans and lots of inspiration with him.
Craig seems a comfortable fit for Godas and his wife of three years, Carrie, since both were raised in small, agricultural towns in Iowa. After they graduated from the University of Northern Iowa at Cedar Falls, they moved to Fort Collins.
Godes recalled thinking that Fort Collins felt big at the time, but when he wife got a job at DeVry University in Colorado Springs in 2002, he said she was downright intimidated by the skyline.
Two years later, they had just become comfortable with Colorado Springs when Jim Dodd, interim executive director of BGCC, came to check out the environment where Godes was working as branch manager for the Pikes Peak Boys and Girls Club Region.
"I saw how he interacted with the kids and his passion for kids," Dodd said. "I could tell that this was more than just a job for him."
A week later, Dodd offered Godes the executive director position at the BGCC, and Godes accepted. Jonathan and Carrie won't move to Craig until August, so Jonathan will act as a consultant this summer.
"It is kind of a shock coming back to a small town, since I had gotten used to the conveniences (of a larger town)," Godes said. "There will be adjustments on the personal side, but on the professional side, I know I am coming into a great place."
Godes compares his new position to a superintendent at a school. He gets to work with the kids, as well as oversee the direction of the organization.
"We are about making it a positive place for as many kids as possible," Godes said.
The most benign problem with children these days, he said, is allowing them to sit in front of Nintendo for hours.
Sari Cobb, wife of BGCC board member Chuck Cobb, agreed, and thinks the BGCC will affect not just the children, but the community.
"Most of the kids are at an age where they don't need a sitter, but they need something," she said. "There are a lot of single parents or double-income parents in Craig. Having a sense of security with their kids is important. It will tighten the community."
The BGCC's collaboration with other nonprofit groups throughout Craig will help to further connect the community. Horizons Specialized Services is one of many groups that will share the new facilities with the BGCC.
"A problem in small communities is that everybody is fighting for a piece of the donated pie, and many of the services are repetitious," said Michael Toothaker, adult community coordinator for Horizons. "The Boys and Girls Club of Craig is a way to unite the community into one mission."
Godes said what he loves most about Craig, and what he missed about small towns, is the sense of community.
"The second time I came here, I actually saw people I knew, and they asked me how I was," Godes said.
For more information about the Boys and Girls Club of Craig, call Jim Dodd or Pres Askew at 826-0411.