Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 14, 2012

Boys & Girls Club president to retire

VALDOSTA — The nationwide search is on and, around the first week in December, administrators from the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta will begin compiling a short list of candidates to replace Robert Soper, who has devoted the past 35 years of his life to the club's president and chief professional officer roles. Because Soper has been with the organization for such a long time, the club plans to slowly acclimatize the club’s new president and chief professional officer, Soper said.

He said he plans to relinquish the post at the beginning of the year, but he also said he’ll still have a role with the club until the end of 2013.

“I'll still be here, but it'll be more of a consulting role,” said Soper. “I'll serve until the successor is named, and then I'll work with that person closely for a defined period of time. I’ll be available to them until the end of next year at least.”

Soper said the club’s structure makes it unique, but its makeup could make it harder to find a replacement. Valdosta was home to the old, Boys Club model, which didn’t include females and was founded on programs that predated the modern club’s sports and recreational focus.

“We're a hybrid Boys and Girls Club, so we want to make sure that the person who comes in is a good fit because it's a unique situation here in Valdosta, because we’ve been here before sports became a heavy focus of clubs. We've been very fortunate that the Valdosta community has supported the efforts of the old boys clubs, as it transformed from a Boys Club to a Boys and Girls Club.”

Soper said he’ll probably miss the challenges and variables that go into the president’s position. He said he has spent the last few years focusing on facility development  but said he’ll miss everything from fundraising and resource management to staff training and board development.

“It's been fun,” said Soper. “We've always had good volunteers, from the staff level to board level. I'm also very thankful for the support that people have given me personally. I'm not quite gone yet, but I’m getting close.”

For more information on how you can support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Valdosta, visit or call 229-242-0676.

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