Mary Budke, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, sits with students in the KinderKids program she helped start. Budke has been involved with the Sequim club for seven years and was hired Tuesday to lead the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash
by MATTHEW NASH
Interim no more, Mary Budke is now the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.
Board members for the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs announced Budke on Tuesday, Nov. 9, as their choice out of 45 applicants.
"We are really pleased Mary wanted to apply for the job," said Jerry Sinn, board president. "Mary has capabilities, skills and proven leadership to lead our organization in meeting the challenges and opportunities of continuing growth and a difficult economy."
Budke has served as interim director since former executive director Bob Schilling resigned in May.
"I am really excited to be a part of this organization and it's an honor to be moving forward," Budke said.
She's worked her way up since 2004 when she started as a summer program counselor, then snacks coordinator and teen room supervisor. In 2006, Budke was promoted to unit director of the Carroll C. Kendall club in Sequim, where she created and implemented KinderKids, a kindergarten enrichment program.
Budke's background is in banking but, at age 40, she sought an advanced degree in education. She said pursuing the degree and working for the Boys & Girls Clubs came after she realized working with children is her calling.
"Mary's long-term commitment to the kids and families we serve, coupled with her team approach to managing, is the perfect combination for what we will need to meet the needs of the communities we serve," Sinn said.
Accomplishments and goals
Since becoming interim director, Budke said, one of her accomplishments includes shifting employees to new positions, which Budke believes created a new energy. She said she's also changed the direction of the Tween program and put more emphasis on existing clubs like the Torch Club, a student service group.
She's led the Port Angeles Steering Committee in a different direction and is looking at extended programming there.
The Port Angeles club could face temporary relocation as the Housing Authority of Clallam County, which rents a building to the club, plans some redevelopment that could include the club's site.
Some of Budke's main goals in 2011 include building up a reserve account, keeping the Teen Club running and maintaining financial stability.
She said the biggest challenge is supporting growing club attendance in a poor economic environment.
Sinn said staff anticipates a 15-percent increase in average daily attendance in 2011.
"The more popular we are with kids and parents, the more money we spend," Budke said. "The challenge is when our community is stressed and people need us more."
Budke said a year-round effort will be thanking donors and the community.
"Without our community, we wouldn't be here," she said.
"We provide a great service for Sequim and Port Angeles. We feel we're in partnership with other nonprofits and groups and together we can help children reach their potential."
Board members said the vacant unit director position is being reviewed and a decision will be made later.
The Boys & Girls Clubs is holding its annual fundraising auction Saturday, Nov. 13. To reserve a ticket and/or speak to Mary Budke, call 683-8095.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.