Letter to the editor: Responses to B&GC CEO's letter

Editor's note: Last week, Boys and Girls Club of King County President/CEO Calvin Lyons gave the order to transfer longtime Ballard B&GC director Mark Hendricks to Federal Way. The decision spurred confusion, frustration and sadness in the community. After being out of office for a few days, Calvin Lyons sent out a letter apologizing for missteps in communication and clarifying why he made the decision. Below are a few responses to that letter, from three community members who have been heavily involved in the Ballard Boys and Girls Club and who have been organizing the community reaction, including a rally and a petition.

Dear editor,

It is obvious that had Mr. Lyons engaged with us prior to all of this, had he engaged with Mark and Shelley prior to all of this, things would look a lot different.

I still have questions. I still have different opinions. But, I can admit this email is a good first step after miles of missteps.

And I can tell you that our positivity has sent a loud and clear message. The corporate office has had nothing poor to say about our community. All they can say is 'look how Ballard reacted' and have it be the most awe-inspiring message of community, love and positivity. Our actions are a reflection of who we are, not of who they are.

So I will choose to continue to react the way that I have been, the way that we have been -- with positivity, passion, and compassion. By doing so, we are proving that we are great leaders of great character and that is what the Boys and Girls Club stands for. That is what Mark Hendricks stands for.

Noelle Olmstead

Dear Editor,

Our compassion and love for this community and for our kids is what will help us move forward. Our pursuit for answers has paid off, and we have made a step forward! There is still work to be done and our thoughts to be heard. We all know what is correct and false in the two letters. But I do believe this is a step forward and has now given us some information to elaborate on. As a community and family we will take time to collect our thoughts, gather details, and wait to express our feelings at the parent and community meeting next Tuesday. I know that Mark Hendricks will make a huge difference no matter where he goes, because he is a true mentor and an honorable man. Let’s take this time to teach our kids some valid life lessons. Stand up for what you believe in, don’t be afraid to speak your mind, and treat others how you would like to be treated.

Katrina Sigurdson

Dear editor,

This community showed Mr.Lyons the values and characteristics of what a true leader SHOULD do. We became a voice for those who had been told not to speak under fear of retribution, we stood up against those in positions of "power" with dignity and unwavering resolve. We should always continue to show the next generations to come, that they CAN and SHOULD hold their "leaders" accountable for poor decisions and choices. We must continue to speak out on behalf of children to ensure they are entitled to grow up in a world that Mark Hendricks and the Ballard Boys and Girls Club has given to all of us over the last 25 years. And SHOW our children what qualities make a great leader, as Mark Hendricks has done for all of us.

Stephen Howey

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