kids smiling at a recent event

Club History

The Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club of Paducah has been a vital force in the Paducah-McCracken County community for over sixty years. Much change has taken place during that time. It began with a dream of Oscar M. Cross, a probation officer, who saw a need for young men to set higher goals for themselves and prepare for their future. Cross had a wife, Dorenda and two daughters Martha and Gail, and he desired to aid in the positive development of youth. He made a commitment to keep them off of the streets, out of the juvenile justice system and to provide educational experiences that were taught outside the traditional classrooms at school.

The members, all boys at the time, met in the basement of the courthouse and were originally named Junior Legion Club. Increased membership necessitated a changed in location to provide more space for activities. The Junior Legion Club relocated to the Masonic Temple Building formerly on the corner of Seventh and Adams Street. The new location brought about a new name. Upon affiliation with the National Boys and Girls Club of America in 1953 the Junior Legion Club became the Boys Club of Paducah. As the years went by more and more youth both male and eventually female became active members and were introduced to ideals of good character, academic achievement, and citizenship. The club once again relocated many years later to the Old Longfellow Elementary School on the corner of twelfth and Jackson Street, its current location, and in 1990 following the lead of the national organization and to acknowledge Mr. Cross’s many years of service in the community the Club was once again renamed to the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club of Paducah.

In 2004, in recognition of the work Mr. Cross had done with generations of youth Jackson Street was renamed Oscar Cross Ave. As the Club continues to grow year after year identifying opportunities to expand and offer even more programs to youth is still the focus of the Club. The need today in 2016 is not less important or any less relevant than in years past if anything the need may be greater. As we move forward into the next decade of service we hope to maintain the vision set by Mr. Cross more than 60 years ago as we continue to have a positive impact on our youth.
In 2004, in recognition of the work Mr. Cross had done with generations of youth Jackson Street was renamed Oscar Cross Ave. As the Club continues to grow year after year identifying opportunities to expand and offer even more programs to youth is still the focus of the Club. The need to day is not less important or any less relevant than in years past if anything the need may be greater. As we move forward into the next decade of service we hope to maintain the vision set by Mr. Cross more than 60 years ago as we continue to have a positive impact on our youth.

The Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club has a proud tradition of developing boys and girls into well-rounded adults and productive, responsible citizens. Over the years we have adapted to meet the changing needs of youth in a changing and increasingly hazardous society. The Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club has developed solutions and alternatives to many of the pressures and problems today’s kids and teens face. We intervene with positive life-shaping programs, producing the direction so many need. We provide a positive alternative to neighborhood gangs and destructive personal behavior.

We are the Positive Place for Kids! Go be Great!!