Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee - 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee
Linda Ogle was recruited to join the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains board of directors shortly after the death of her husband Jerry. The board member who recruited her thought it would help her cope with her loss and increase her social interaction. When Linda accepted the board invitation in 1997 the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains had an operating budget of $80,000 and was attempting to start up a capital campaign to build a permanent home for a Sevierville Branch.
Linda quickly jumped into a lead role and helped build the Sevierville Branch and became known as the “Steak & Burger lady” for her sponsorship of the annual fundraising event. Linda was named the Tennessee Area Council “Rookie of the Year” in 1998 and was instrumental in opening a new Pigeon Forge Branch that same year.
In 2003 Linda won the coveted Boys & Girls Club Medallion for her work in opening two new branches in Kodak and Gatlinburg on the same day in 2003. Linda was also recognized as Tennessee Area Council Board Member of the year in 2015. Linda is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Lifetime Giving Society and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Heritage Club.
In 2015 Linda served as the Board President for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains while also serving as the Pigeon Forge Capital Campaign Chair at the same time. Through Linda’s leadership the campaign raised 2.4 million dollars in eleven months with only 27 gifts. At the same time the Club’s operating support finished with a surplus and the program posted the highest average daily attendance and frequency of attendance in organization history. Linda has had a major role in all three Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains capital campaigns throughout our history.
Although Linda Ogle deserves great accolades for her historical financial support, it is her heart for mentoring Club members that really stands out. Linda has always wanted to be involved in the Club environment with the kids. She has worked for years mentoring a small group of young ladies in a program titled “Women of the Round Table.” In 2015 Linda and a couple of other board members created a new program titled “Lead to Feed.” The program provided one on one mentoring to kids while another group of members learned how to prepare a meal. Linda is a long time participant in the annual Youth of the Year judging process and often accompanies the winner to Nashville for the State interviews.
Linda continues to be hungry to learn new methods to make her Boys & Girls Club better. She has attended more than ten National Conferences, Regional Conferences and Tennessee Area Council Meetings at her own expense. She normally attends most of the sessions and sits near the front row and takes excellent notes. In addition she has donated multiple auction items to regional and state Boys & Girls Club events and as well as being an active bidder at all auctions.
Linda Ogle is an inspiration to our board, our staff and our members. She makes everyone around her better and she makes you smile while she is doing it.