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Celebrating Arts Director Anne Gordon’s 50 Years at Edgerley Family South Boston Club

Anne Gordon collage

“Anne has always put herself forth as a resource for members, someone they can call upon and depend on, and I suspect that this won’t change on Anne’s last day. It’s in her DNA.” — Pattie McCormick, Associate Director of Development

As Anne Gordon retires from 50 years of service as Edgerley Family South Boston Club’s Arts Director, colleague and friend Pattie McCormick reflects on Anne’s legacy and their four decades working together at the Club. 

After 50 years of dedicated service to Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Anne Gordon is retiring! While that headline is awesome on its own, it doesn’t even come close to capturing the impact she’s had on our community over the years.

Through the years Anne has been known as: a work-study student (when tuition was $150 a semester at Mass College of Art), Arts Assistant, Discovery Director, Cultural Enrichment Coordinator, Arts Director, Summer Camp Director—but to me she has been a dear and trusted friend who has touched the lives of so many members, and I can’t imagine not physically seeing her every day at the Club.

Undoubtedly you will continue to feel her presence and spirit in the Wagner Family Discovery Room where she has spent most of her working life. The artwork hanging from every nook and cranny could have been done by any member over the years, created in a space where, no matter how busy the area was, Anne made every kid feel like they were the most important one in the room.

Anne is a gifted youth worker, particularly skilled at working with the shy and sensitive kids struggling to make the leap to become a “Club kid.” Anne’s very deliberate attention chips away at their fears and insecurities, not only providing them with an atmosphere where they feel comfortable expressing themselves, but giving them the confidence to explore other areas of the Club. And it’s not uncommon to walk into the room and find one of the Club’s more rambunctious members quietly awaiting Anne’s instructions as they embark on a new creation together. Through Anne’s patience and understanding, they discover what she already knew: that they can accomplish anything.

“Anne Gordon runs a fantastic Discovery Room that is engaging and encouraging to my child. Her program is the reason I continue to send my child to the South Boston Club.” — Club parent

Anne is a trailblazer with her creative programming. Way before it was cool to recycle, much of the art created at the Club was, and continues to be, from recycled goods. This is not only a cost-saving measure that delights Club directors, but a core tenet of Anne’s belief system. It teaches members to respect our earth, be responsible citizens, and think outside the box. Anne’s inventive projects show kids that they have the power to change things and make them better, whether it be a milk carton or the world.

Anne has used Discovery’s curriculum to celebrate different cultural backgrounds, with each month focusing on different regions of the world, teaching kids to embrace their roots and respect their differences. Art is not only a way to learn about one’s self, but a way to learn about others.

Anne also teaches simple life skills, making sewing, knitting and gardening long-time favorite activities. Just ask any alum who needs to hem a pair of pants and now has the skill to do so. Or ask a current third generation member of the Club (recently applauded by Anne as perhaps one of the best knitters ever), whose newfound skill allows him the focus that he usually finds difficult with his Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) diagnosis.

Anne put the “FUN” in Fun-in-the-Sun, the Club’s Summer Camp Program that she has so seamlessly directed for most of her tenure. The program’s sterling reputation is not just neighborhood-wide, attracts campers from all over Boston and beyond. Many campers are the children of alums, who know with Anne at the helm, their child is safe and having a summer to remember. Anne’s epic Friday Special Events like the “Sidewalk Art Festival” and “Water Fun Day” are activities that generations have enjoyed.

“Anne is the best! She is always looking for fun and interesting ways to engage with the Club members. She has encouraged my child to try to new things and to be more confident in how she approaches new situations.” — Club parent

When a member becomes an adult and moves on from the Club, Anne continues to follow them—something she has always done because Anne realizes that the backbone of the Club is the community it creates. She follows their milestones, celebrating life’s joys, and supports them through difficult times. Anne has always put herself forth as a resource for members, someone they can call upon and depend on, and I suspect that this won’t change on Anne’s last day. It’s in her DNA.

I consider myself very fortunate to be part of Anne’s journey at the Club—one that I know impacted countless member’s lives as well as our staff’s. She set high standards for herself and those around her, and if staff are lucky enough to have learned from her, they are better off for it. And so is the Club, as we carry on her many attributes in our work with Club members.

— Pattie McCormick
Associate Director of Development
Edgerley Family South Boston Club