Avital component of any community is its youth and the resources available to them as they grow up. For Mike Flynn, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) of Ridgefield, making a positive impact on young lives has always been what drives him. Thankfully for us, he’s made it his life’s mission to champion our youth here in Ridgefield.
Mike is very much a family man, coming back to live in his hometown of Bethel right out of college, where he lives with his wife and their two boys, ages three and five. Sports have always played a significant role in his life – from childhood through college – now coaching his kids in t-ball and baseball with the Bethel Little League. When he’s not coaching, he’s playing in the local men’s baseball and slow-pitch softball leagues. Some of the guys he plays with are even old rivals and teammates from high school!
Mike originally went to Southern Connecticut State University to become a physical education teacher, but his plans changed when he discovered his calling during an internship with the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven:
“It was the first time I’d ever walked into a Boys & Girls Club. I was probably 20 years old.” He met the program director, DJ, and saw the rapport he had with the kids and families: “It really connected with me, and I remember saying, ‘This is what I want to do.’” Because of this experience, he changed his major and went on to earn a degree in Community Recreation Management.
As it turns out, he’s a natural with kids, so much so that he’s celebrating his 20th anniversary with BGC this year. He did his senior internship with BGC of Ridgefield in 2002, where he felt a connection right away. Since then, he’s moved from being a Program Coordinator all the way to
Chief Executive Officer, and he’s never looked back.
For those who aren’t familiar with BGC, the club serves many different purposes. “The whole idea is that it’s a place for kids to grow up with positive role models – people that care about them and provide them with opportunities to learn and grow throughout their school age.” The pandemic put this mission to the test, but Mike praised both his team and the members of the board for how they managed it: “The work we did through the pandemic has been some of our best.” From repurposing a clubhouse to act as a pop-up pantry to messaging their kids on social media to check-in, the team at BGC of Ridgefield stayed true to their goal of ensuring the children that walk into their lives are looked after.
“It’s not a 9 to 5 job – the staff here work around the clock, and we’re fortunate that we’ve built one of the top teams amongst BGC nationwide. It’s the people inside the building that have a direct impact on the kids.”
When he’s not running the club, you’ll find Mike on a beach in Rhode Island with his family. Unwinding on the weekend probably consists of spending all day on a beach in Block Island, later cooking dinner while listening to anything from The Grateful Dead to 90s Hip Hop. This year’s Super Bowl halftime show – featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and more – was right up his alley.
Mike is one of those lucky people that found his passion early on in his life. Though his work forces him behind the scenes, Mike genuinely cares about the people he serves. Parents from all over can drop their kids at Ridgefield’s Boys & Girls Club and be comforted knowing they’re in
good hands. •