Josh Davis Returns to Southie to Take Helm at Boys & Girls Club

By Ginger DeShaney

Josh Davis’ career has come full circle.

His first job after graduating from Tulane with a degree in Sociology was Education Director at the Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club from 2001-2007. He then held several other positions with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, including Director at the Orchard Gardens and Dearborn Clubs, before coming back to Southie to replace Harry Duvall as Executive Director.

 “Ever since I was able to work, I was working with children in some capacity,” said Josh, who credits his passion to his parents. “Just the idea of giving back to the community has always been instilled in me since a very young age.”

 He has hit the ground running since assuming the ED role on Jan. 4, 2023. He spends a good amount of time on administrative duties – such as general oversight and management of the building, strengthening corporate relationships, fundraising, organizing training and professional development for staff.

“But there’s nothing better than getting out into the program areas and spending time with the staff, participating in an activity, or just having a normal everyday conversation with a member,” he said. “Those organic interactions with the Club members are what makes this place so special; that connection with an adult who really is taking an interest in what they’re doing today and, ultimately, what they want to do as they continue to grow in the Club.”

Josh is working on a strategic plan for the Edgerley Family South Boston Club for the next five years, under guidance from the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston Nicholas President and CEO Robert Lewis Jr. But the heart of the Club will remain the same: “and that’s the fun, engaging activities, allowing the members to be themselves, to explore their own career interests, to really figure out who they are. And I think that’s what’s great about this building.”

Josh’s strategic plans include:

  • Ensuring every teen has identified a path for life after the Club, whether that’s college, the trades, or jobs, and offering internships and other opportunities “so that we’re really laying out a wide menu of options for our members to decide what they would like to do,” Josh said.
  • Emphasizing increased participation in the Homework Room for all ages.
  • Focusing on mental health as the community comes out of the pandemic and expanding social work services and resources.

Josh, 44, will make sure that the Edgerley Family Club continues to set all kids up for success and provide the resources and guidance they need.

In addition, Josh wants to make the Club an option for the wider community who could benefit from its resources. He’d like schools, local organizations, and community groups to use the building when the Club kids are in school and even offer swim lessons, music lessons, and gym access.

The summer program, which ends Aug. 18, has about 300 kids; the Edgerley Family Club will aim for about 285 kids for the after-school program. In the meantime, Josh is coming up with creative ways to remember all the kids’ names.

“I take it as a sign of respect when we know the child’s name and they reciprocate,” Josh said, noting all the staff know every child’s name.

Josh is grateful for the dedicated veteran staff members he has to lean on: Pattie McCormick, Associate Director of Development; Tim Bothwell, Director of Operations; and Mike Mogan, Teen Director, who have all been with the Club for decades. Add in the new staff members, who are passionate, and he has the perfect combination.

Josh is excited to be leading a team of like-minded people who are entrenched in the community and want to make a difference. “I know that I can’t do it all myself.”

The Club and the community have been so welcoming to Josh. And he’s humbled by the fact that kids he used to help with homework are now dropping their own kids off at the Club.

“Giving young people opportunities that they may not otherwise have has always been a part of my life,” Josh said. “And then to have the opportunity to assume a role like this … is something I take very seriously. It’s a big responsibility and something that I’m very passionate about.”