Joanie Petty
Executive Director

These days, children have immediate access to global media outlets. While Petty said that staying informed can be a good thing, for a child, it can also prove scary. “Kids have access to things, which is good because they can get answers and find things out,” Petty said. “But they also have a tendency of not feeling so safe.” The Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge, Petty hopes, will become a place of refuge for area children. “It gives them a safe space,” Petty said. “Safety’s right up there with fun in the things we promote. Safety is a basic need that most people have.” Having a “family” of sorts, with adult mentors and other children, gives kids an opportunity to relax outside of their home and school settings.


“We want to give a safe and positive experience that they can find within themselves later on in life,” Petty said.Another area of focus in the Martinsville-Henry County community that Petty plans to promote is that of strong leadership. The new executive director said she has a role model in Mary Poppins, and lives by the lyrics of “A Spoonful of Sugar.” “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun,” Petty recited. “You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.”


Education’s also a major focus of the Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge. With programs based off of the Measurement of Academic Progress assessment, coaches help students grow academically.

Our Philosophy

A safe place to learn and grow...
Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals...
Life-enhancing programs and character development experiences...
Hope and opportunity.

Our History

   Elizabeth Hamersley and sisters Mary and Alice Goodwin invited boys into their homes for tea, cake and a bit of kindness. Soon, a meeting hall had to be used to meet demand, the Dashaway Club in 1860. 

   In 1873, John Collins began offering games that boys could play if they behaved. He is considered the first Youth Development Professional. For 25 years, pioneers of today’s Clubs developed knowledge about working with youth.