The Oneonta Boys and Girls Club has long been a place where youth have come to be supported. Regardless of creed, color, or cultural differences, the Club has provided paths for positive development. Carl J. Delberta, Sr., a former professional boxer and Oneonta policeman, realized the need in this area for facilities where a boy could get in good physical condition and stay off the streets.
In 1947, Carl began a lifelong pursuit with the training of a handful of boys in his backyard. As a policeman in Oneonta, Carl worked with boys during his off duty hours. They met in garages and empty warehouses all over Oneonta.
Carl and his boys wanted a building so much that they devoted their spare time working to make it possible. They sold scrap paper and rags. They worked as checkers in coatrooms for tips. They cleaned up the parks after dog shows to earn money. Carl conducted many boxing shows in Neahwa Park.
The area responded. Many people were generous, and in May 1968, the original facility at 70 River Street was dedicated. As time passed and the organization grew, the membership expanded from 8 to over 500, and volunteers were numerous. The Oneonta Boys Club had become not only a place of physical development and growth, but also a place where boys could come to challenge their minds, express their individuality and creativity, and begin developing a strong sense of community and belonging.
After 50 successful years of working with thousands of young boys, we felt it was time to start helping young girls as well. The original building was not sufficient in size to meet the needs of both boys and girls. We also needed to incorporate modern facilities which would create a friendly environment for the handicapped.
It was with a great deal of enthusiasm that the Board of Directors announced plans for expansion on September 19th, 1996, and construction began in 1997. The existing building was greatly enhanced with the addition of a new gymnasium and other facilities for girls. Exciting programs were added so that all children and young adults could be better served. The Oneonta Boys Club, Inc. began doing business as The Oneonta Boys and Girls Club when it was formally dedicated in September of 1998.
Boys and girls will benefit from this facility and these programs for years to come. The Club has always been and continues to be funded by contributions from its members, local businesses, and from the many area people who believe in the standards the Club sets.