Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan Announces Its Return To Van Buren Township

Programs will serve 2,000 youth annually through the Boys & Girls Clubs Tigers youth sports program, behavioral health services and paid workforce training in fashion, AI and more

[BELLEVILLE, MI] – March 8, 2024 – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) in partnership with Van Buren Public School District and Van Buren Township has announced its return to the community during a press conference today. In attendance, at the Bellville High School were Shawn H. Wilson, BGCSM President & CEO, Kevin McNamara, Van Buren Township Supervisor, Peter Kudlak, Van Buren Public Schools Superintendent, State Senator Darrin Camilleri, 4th District, Wayne County Commissioner Alisha Bell, District 7, Bryce Underwood, the nation’s top quarterback from Belleville High School and a dozen members of the newly formed BGC Tigers youth sports program.

In 2008 BGCSM opened the Donahey Club school-based Club in Van Buren Township. Unfortunately, BGCSM was forced to discontinue services there in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an outdated program delivery model.

“When BGCSM closed the Donahey Club doors in 2020, we were largely an after school “safe space” for elementary-aged youth,” Shawn Wilson, President & CEO explains. “Since then, we’ve reimagined our programs and impact to serving a wider range of youth and offering diverse programs including competitive and recreational sports and paid workforce training in highly sought-after industries including, Design, AI, fashion and esports. We are beyond grateful to Van Buren Township and the VBPS District for their partnership and look forward to impacting the lives of youth for years to come!”

The Boys & Girls Clubs (BGC) Tigers youth sports program will serve youth ages 6-14 and offer basketball, cheer, contact football, flag and 7v7 football. The announcement marks the return of a local youth tackle-football and cheer program to the community after the Belleville Cougars (no affiliation to BGC) stopped operating.

“I’m excited to be part of bringing youth sports back to the community I grew up in,” said Connor Sampson, BGC Tigers Athletic Coordinator and Belleville High School Quarterback in 2016. “I benefitted from youth sports and look forward to providing that same opportunity to as many youths as possible.”

There is a need for more out-of-school time providers in the Van Buren Township area. BGCSM’s return looks to help meet this need and is cemented with a direct partnership with Van Buren Public School District and Van Buren Township community. The organization will leverage available spaces at various schools and the Van Buren Community Center (VBC) to provide programs and services.

“This is an incredible opportunity to fill a programming gap for our community youth” states Leon Wright, Van Buren Township Clerk. “Our entire Township Board is thrilled about this partnership, and excited to see how these programs and the community support take our youth engagement to the next level and make Van Buren Township a premier community”.

To close the announcement, BGCSM and Bryce Underwood announced that the inaugural “Bryce Underwood Quarterback Camp will take place this spring in Van Buren Township. The camp was made possible by a $1,000 donation from Gatorade on behalf of Bryce Underwood for winning the Gatorade High School Player of the Year.  BGCSM then matched Bryce and Gatorade’s contribution 3:1.

Images from the press conference can be found here: Media Kit

To learn more or become a member of BGCSM please visit


About Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan 

Founded in 1926, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) serves 21,000 youth, families, and entrepreneurs annually in neighborhoods throughout Southeastern Michigan. BGCSM has reimagined the future of after-school programming by focusing on the root cause of issues facing our community, which is poverty. BGCSM’s mission is to ensure youth leave our Clubs career, start up and homeowner ready.

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