Hall County has a new set of hands on the Boys & Girls Clubs movement.
The organization announced Monday that Joe Ethier is its new chief professional officer.
"It is a tremendous opportunity," Ethier said. "The potential of the organization and what they’re already doing in the community is so impactful. And it really is exciting to be a part of it."
As chief professional officer, Ethier has overall responsibility for the Hall County organization as well as oversight of strategic planning and operation of the club.
He has only been in Hall County for a few weeks, but Ethier has been involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1991 when he graduated from Valdosta State University. Ethier said he chose to work for the Boys & Girls Clubs because he wanted to be a part of something beneficial in the community.
"It was really cool to be involved with an organization that gives back ... to be a part of something that you know that you do something good every day," Ethier said.
It seems Ethier found his niche in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and he has 16 years with the organization to prove it.
"With any job that you get, there’s obviously challenges and opportunities," Ethier said. "Every single day, I’ve enjoyed going to work. And there’s not too many jobs, I think, that ... you really have that."
But what really keeps Ethier coming back, he said, is knowing the role the Boys & Girls Clubs plays in people’s lives and its opportunity to change lives.
"To know that I ... can play a role in making it better for someone down the line every single day is personally rewarding," Ethier said. "It’s for the betterment of society; it’s the betterment of the people. It’s exciting to be a part of something like that."
Robert Soper, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Valdosta, said Ethier came to the Valdosta club with no experience. However, Ethier had a tremendous work ethic.
"He ... used that work ethic throughout whatever position he had, which helped lead him to success," Soper said. "In our way of thinking, success is you have impact on the kids ... (Ethier) never lost the desire to make sure all of his efforts were beneficial to the youth he served."
In his 13 years in Valdosta, Ethier served as the club’s unit director, athletic director, director of program services and director of operations.
In December 2004, Ethier left Valdosta to be the chief professional officer of the Mitchell County Boys & Girls Club in Camilla.
During his time there, Ethier received the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Richard Ullom Award for professional excellence and served as the chairman of the South Georgia All Staff Training for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
This year, Ethier was named one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Brightest Leaders, and The Professional Association’s Executive of the Year for the Southeast.
In Hall County, Ethier is working with about as many youth as he was in Mitchell County, but he said he sees a greater need for youth outreach in Hall County, and he is eager to be a part of it.
"The potential for that type of impact is very attractive to me," Ethier said.
It was his Boys & Girls Clubs background that made Ethier an attractive candidate for the Hall County position, said Joyce Wilson, vice president of development and marketing for the Hall County club.
"He came with some good credentials," Wilson said.
The Hall County Boys & Girls Clubs serves about 360 young people, from age 6 to 18, on a daily basis.
The organization has been in Hall County for more than 50 years, and provides programs that stress educational achievement, career exploration, drug and alcohol avoidance, health and fitness, gang and violence prevention, cultural enrichment, leadership development and community service.