About Us

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On Christmas Day in 1913 the best gift ever given to tens of thousands of children was "unwrapped” - Wakeman Boys Club opened on Harbor Road in Southport! The opening of the Club was made possible thanks to the generosity of Frances and Cornelia Wakeman Crapo who made a charitable donation which was used to establish the Club in honor of their grandfather Jessup Wakeman.

In 1954, having outgrown the original clubhouse, Wakeman moved to Center Street in Southport and the membership grew to more than 300 members. Under the direction of Edward "Red” Baker who took over the reins in 1945, Wakeman became the place to play baseball, football, and of course basketball. The impact that Red had on generations of young people was legendary. Alumni still tell stories of piling into Red’s station wagon and driving to other Boys Clubs around the state to play games against anyone that would accept the Wakeman challenge! Boxing, photography, pool, ping pong and skittle bowl were also very popular with the members. Red and his staff including Joe Skubas and Art Donnelly fostered a "home away from home” atmosphere but tolerated no nonsense from members; to own a Wakeman membership card was a privilege not a birthright! Membership of the club continued to grow through the years.

In the late 1980’s with current Executive Director Dave Blagys at the helm, membership approached 750 boys and girls. Girls had always been allowed at Wakeman and the word "girls” was added to the Club’s name in 1983. A capital campaign led to an expansion project to add the Warren Gym and some other improved program space in 1992. Membership grew steadily and in 2005, a second capital campaign added a computer center, art studio, weight room, turf field, lobby and parking lot. Membership had climbed to 3,000 boys and girls!
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