LEOMINSTER — Jon Blodgett traveled all the way to Baltimore unaware that he was about to be named staff member of the year.
A recent conference of Boys & Girls Club employees singled out Blodgett for the Outstanding Program Staff Member Award, which considered staff members from all 189 clubs scattered throughout the northeastern United States.
“I didn’t know I was nominated until I got there,” he said. “We went to the dinner and that’s when they announced the award. The whole club knew but me.”
“The whole club,” as Blodgett puts it, has grown a lot since he first started working at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster in 2010.
Blodgett, who is in charge of the club’s teen center, came on at a time when only five children ranging from ages 13 to 19 were actively participating in programming. Since his arrival, the teen center has grown to 281 members.
“There was no program schedule originally so we had to start from scratch,” said Blodgett, who started building out offerings that would be both enticing and rewarding to teenagers.
Since then, he has been put in charge of new additions like the club’s championship-winning robotics team, beekeeping program, and hiking group, but he said much of his job has also been about getting kids involved with workforce development training.
Club Executive Director Donata Martin said Blodgett’s impact on the club as a whole has been nothing short of extraordinary.
“Teens are involved in so many things outside of school yet he manages to encourage kids and get them here on a regular basis,” she said. “That’s really a skill and a talent.”
Blodgett said he was surprised that he was honored by the Boys & Girls Club, adding that he thinks he’s not the only one worthy of recognition.
“There are so many people out there that are doing the same thing,” he said. “Half the people in this building should be recognized.”