In 1969, at a family barbecue, 3 members of the Olney community created the Olney Boys Club and committed themselves to developing a structured and safe environment where children could learn to play sports and expend some of the energies of youth. The OBC was the first chartered non-profit organization in Montgomery County and one of the first youth sports clubs in the State of Maryland. In 1971, the Olney Boys Club changed its name to the Olney Boys and Girls Club to better represent its mission and the make-up of the kids playing for the club.
Over the years, the organization has grown from 115 kids to the current size of 5,800 and has provided services to 45,000 children. Through our history, OBGC’s leadership has been constantly challenged by the ever-changing culture in the communities that we live in and have been vigilant in ensuring that OBGC would survive and continue to be able to provide children with a safe place to play. Since our founding, OBGC has been forced to move its “home” several times from places around the area including Sherwood High School, the old Brooke Manor Country Club and the donated land from Sandy Spring Friends School. As the Club and community grew, so did the demand on available storage and space. A large part of OBGC’s history was defined by our volunteer’s willingness to store equipment and uniforms in their own houses and garages.
As the Club and community grew, the Board of Directors realized the need to transition to a more modern organization had come and the need to secure a site that OBGC could call its permanent home was needed. The Board knew that if OBGC was to survive, it needed to offer its kids and families a safe and permanent place to spend time together rather than having them be forced into running around the county from one field to the next.
In the mid-1980s, the then current Board attempted to purchase and develop a property at the intersection of Brookeville Road and Route 108. The effort was stopped once Montgomery County Board of Appeals declined its request for the zoning change that was needed to allow the park to be built on that site and the search ended for ten years.
In 1997, after being forced to turn 125 children away from the Club due to the lack of facilities, the Board recommitted itself to purchasing a property and building a home that would not only secure the Club’s future, but ensure that every child would have a place to play sports and spend time with their family, if they so decided.
The following year, OBGC negotiated an option to purchase a 118 acre farm called Falling Green from a local sod farmer named Ken Warfield and began the process of putting the financing and capital together that would be needed to complete the project, along with gaining the necessary governmental approvals and zoning changes from the Board of Appeals.
In 2004 OBGC was one of only 53 nonprofit organizations out of 20,000 in the state of Maryland, and the only sports association, to recieve the coveted Maryland Association of Nonprofit Orgnaizations Seal of Excellence Award. The seal was awarded after a rigorous peer review that covered eight areas of nonprofit operations: Financial and Legal Accountability, Mission and Programs, Conflicts of Interest, Public Policy and Public Affairs, Governing Board, Openness and Disclosure, Fundraising and Human Resources.