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The Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County in Longview and the Boys & Girls Club of Big Pines in Marshall have announced they will merge under the Big Pines name, effective January 1, 2017.

The move will enable an expansion of school-based clubs in Pine Tree ISD, Spring Hill ISD and Longview ISD, according to BGCGC president Jon Cromer, who made the announcement Wednesday at a news conference attended by the superintendents of each school district.

As part of the merger, Bryan Partee is being named the new Executive Director of the BGC Longview club.  Partee has 12 years of experience as Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Pines.  The organization started as a single site serving 80 kids a day and has grown to 15 sites serving about 1,000 kids throughout East Texas serving Elysian Fields, Gladewater, Hallsville, Harleton, Hughes Springs, Jefferson, Marshall, Mount Pleasant, Ore City and Waskom.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Big Pines reports that since 2005, all of its regular club members, except for one, have graduated from high school.

A San Diego native, Partee earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis on child studies from the University of California—San Diego.  He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 18 years and have one son, Noah.

Cromer says the merger with Big Pines will benefit the clubs due to shared efficiencies and cost effectiveness of consolidating administrative expenses and will enable the clubs to reach more kids.

“We are especially excited that this merger enables our Longview club to help more kids,” Cromer said.  “Big Pines has specialized experience in reaching out and fostering relationships with schools and serving kids through school-based sites, which is something we have sought to do in Longview for quite some time.

“We plan to grow from one site to 13 sites in January, in partnership with our local school districts,” Cromer said.  “We hope to have 15 sites in Longview by the fall 2017.”

Cromer said the new structure enables the Longview club to serve more families throughout Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill, as well as supporting a dynamic teen program, like what Big Pines has grown and nurtured in Marshall.

Parents interested in information on enrolling their children, grades 6-12, can see fee schedules and learn more

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