The Benefit of Community Programs

OUTdrive Episode: 87 with Gary Beckman

OUTdrive Episode 87 with Gary Beckman

It’s often said “it takes a village” to raise a child, and our guest in this episode of OUTdrive believes that to be true. Gary Beckman is the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of West Central Missouri. He outlines the importance of programs and activities available to school age children through the Boys and Girls Club, especially in rural American communities.

Gary has nearly 30 years of experience working with Boys and Girls Club and community members of rural areas across the Midwest. Gary entered the position of Executive Director in 2017 after spending the first 20 years of his career with the Boys and Girls Club in Illinois. He had previously spent 16 years as the Executive Director of a club branch in Pontiac, Ill. and had early career experience working with the YMCA in Chicago. Originally from La Plata, Missouri, Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Tune in as Gary shares the characteristics of support, guidance and grit the Boys and Girls Club helps instill in the youth of our community, and communities around the world.


  • 3:00 – Gary’s childhood growing up in La Plata, Missouri in a multi-generational household and how his involvement with sports put him on the path to his current career.
  • 11:30 – Gary talks about moving to Chicago and starting out working at the YMCA in corporate fitness
  • 15:00 – Gary outlines his move out of the city to rural Illinois and how it ultimately led him to working for the Boys and Girls Club for the last 30 years
  • 17:15 – Gary outlines the basis of the Boys and Girls Club nationally
  • 19:30 – What Gary’s typical day looks like as the executive director
  • 21:00 – The challenges facing an organization like Boys and Girls club in rural America
  • 24:00 – Gary talks about the community partnerships the club has developed over the years and how important investors are to the organization
  • 25:45 – Gary gives details on the annual Boys and Girls Club Night of Heart and Hope happening on February 19th, 2022
  • 28:00 – Gary describes the characteristics of what rural America means to him
  • 29:00 – Gary and Cliff discuss storytelling in marketing and how sharing “your story” can have a big impact for non-profit organizations like the club
  • 31:30 – Gary shares lessons learned and relationships developed from playing sports and how the characteristics of grit and determination are instilled in Boys and Girls Club
  • 34:15 – Gary shares the story of his mother, a Hall of Fame basketball player and the importance of remembering our history and knowing where we come from