Charles Morgan was named the first Boy of the Year of the Woburn Boys Club in 1965. Then, in 1966 the Club’s Boy of the Year (now Youth of the Year) program was named in memory of PFC Joseph L. Drew. Joe was an original member of the Woburn Boys Club in 1964. Joe entered the United States Marine Corps where he was spent 214 days. He was killed in action on December 27, 1965, just days before his 19th birthday. The Woburn Marine Corps League is the original sponsor of the award which is presented annually in Joe’s name.
In June of 1966, Charles Gardner joined the Woburn Boys Club as the Executive Director. “The Chief,” as he was known to everyone at the Club, would hold that role for twenty six years, until his retirement in 1992, at which time Boys Club Lane was renamed Charles Gardner Lane.
By 1970, a fund drive spearheaded by Gerard “Spike” Boyle has been successful in raising funds for an addition to the Club. The addition included a gym, locker room and weight room.
In 1975, CPL Charles McMahon Jr. was assigned to the United States Embassy in Saigon. He and LCPL Darwin Judge of Iowa were killed during a rocket attack. They were the last two Americans killed in action during the Vietnam War. Charlie was an original member of the Woburn Boys Club and was the 1971 Boy of the Year. A Memorial Wall at the Clubhouse preserves his memory as do the two scholarships that are presented annually in Charlie’s name by the Fall of Saigon Marine Association.
In 1985 an Alumni Association was created to promote the welfare of the Club and to renew old friendships. Each year, Alumni Association members George & Sue Ellen Holland donate two scholarships to Club members in memory of James L. McKeown. In 1990, Jamie was the first Club alumnus to become President of the Board of Directors.
In 1992, the Club officially changed its name to the Boys & Girls Club of Woburn. Girls and boys have had equal access to the Club since 1991. Co-ed programming rapidly expanded throughout the 1990’s.
The Club has worked collaboratively with the Woburn Public Schools since 2000, when childcare extension sites were established at the Linscott Rumford and Hurld Elementary Schools. Later, in 2005, After the Bell opened at the Shamrock Elementary School. And, in 2012 Before the Bell was launched at the Shamrock Elementary School and a new After the Bell site opened at the Joyce Middle School.
In 2014, the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary of service to youth & teens. The organization was renamed the James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club of Woburn in memory of Club alumnus Jamie McKeown. The Building Futures Campaign was also announced, with a goal of raising $8million for a renovation and expansion of the existing Club facility.
A small crowd of officers, donors, project contributors, Club staff and friends of the James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club of Woburn gathered on Thursday, September 8, 2016 to officially break ground on the long awaited renovation and expansion project at Charles Gardner Lane. Construction should be complete by the 2017-2018 school year and the Club moved into the Clapp School to continue programming during construction.