GREENFIELD — Greenfield native Chad Hudson spent many of his boyhood afternoons at the Hancock County Boys and Girls Club. Whether he was playing sports or participating in other activities, the place cultivated many memories and experiences, ones he now said he wouldn’t want to live without.
So, when the opportunity to lead the club came knocking, Hudson knew he couldn’t miss the chance. On Tuesday, he’ll take over as the organization’s executive director.
“I am so excited to be a part of an organization that puts our youth as the focal point of growth and success in the community,” he said.
The club began its search for a new director in late January when Darren Turner resigned after more than a decade with the organization.
Twenty-nine applications from highly capable individuals were received, board of directors president Steve Menser said, and reviewed over the three-month search. Eight were interviewed by a four-member selection committee, then two by the full board.
Ultimately, Hudson emerged as the front-runner, Menser said.
“This was a difficult search because we had many qualified applicants,” he said. “Of those eight people (interviewed), I thought any could do a good job.
“But Chad rose to the top because of his background.”
Hudson holds a master’s degree in educational curriculum and instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in administrative leadership from Indiana University. Most recently, he served as the Director of the Excel Center for the Goodwill Education Initiative in Indianapolis. Prior to that, he spent many years as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools, including teaching at Doe Creek Middle School in New Palestine from 1999-2000.
Board members are hopeful that Hudson will breathe new life into the organization, as well, by attracting new members and educating the community about the true Boys and Girls Cub mission. Candace Sexton, who served as the interim director in Turner’s absence, will return to her post as Jim Andrews Unit Director.
Andrea Mallory, a club board member who served on the selection committee, said she believes the perception of the Boys and Girls Club is that it is just a place for recreation. While physical activity is a key component of the club, education, healthy lifestyles and the arts also have a large impact on the organization. She is hopeful Hudson will work to communicate that to county residents.
“He is a genuine and loyal person,” Mallory said. “I’m excited for the neat things he has planned for this organization.”
Hudson said one of his goals as director is to insure the club is recognized as an instrumental organization in the county, known for its dedication to youth development. He said he hopes to create positive connections with current and future homeowners, business owners, community members and “numerous county difference-makers that grew up in and around the Boys and Girls Club.”
The most important quality Hudson brings to the job is his experience working closely with children, Menser said.
“We didn’t want somebody who would sit in the office all day,” he said. “(Hudson) knows he’ll have to roll up his sleeves and come to work in gym shoes.”