top of page

Prior to the opening of BGCP, no daily after-school enrichment program was available for local children and youth – to this day, no alternative daily after-school program exists. 


Recognizing the challenge posed for local families, a group of community leaders researched potential options and determined that a Boys & Girls Club would be the perfect fit.  Through the generous donations of 10 founding families and funds from Mountain Youth Charities, BGCP opened for the 2014-2015 school year.  BGCP’s inaugural summer camp followed in 2015.

As membership doubled, it was clear we needed a new facility to serve our growing community.  In April 2022 we opened the doors of our new facility at 558 Frank Allen Road.


BGCP remains the only five-day per week after-school program for students in Southern Jackson County.  Families pay $12 per year for an individual Club membership; this grants members access to countless opportunities and programs offered at the Club. Teen participation is free!  Registered teens are welcome to drop in the BGCP Teen Center during open hours.


Meet the Team

J'Len Wilson

Youth Development Specialist

Sarah Pursel

Program Director

Brandon Norwood

Director of Health & Wellness

Spencer Copen

Operations Director

Magnolia Lewis

Membership & Administrative Coordinator

Brittany Gray

Resource Development Coordinator

Lori Quinn

Director of Resource Development and Finance

Carmen Waite
Brandon Norwood
Brittany Gray
J’len Wilson
Sarah Pursel
Spencer Copen
Magnolia Lewis
Lori Quinn

Board of Directors


Robin McKinney Walker

Robin McKinney Walker is the Director of Development at Camp Merrie-Woode.  She did her undergraduate work in history and French at Davidson College before getting her law degree from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.  She served on the boards of the Junior League of Tampa and the Junior League of Greater Orlando.  She enjoys being involved in fundraising efforts and event planning. She also stays current on different areas of the law and non-profit management.  In her free time, she likes to hike, climb, and enjoy the outdoors.

Nat Turner.jpg

Nat Turner

Nat Turner is a founder and Managing Director of Whiteside Capital Partners, LP, a firm specializing in energy and technology investments and management.  Nat is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in Applied Physics – Geophysics.  He has served on numerous charitable and corporate boards and is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Glenville Cashiers Rescue Squad.  Nat, and his wife Ellen, have two grown children and one new grandchild.  Nat enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and spending time with the family.


Cary Weems

Cary Weems has an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a Masters in Business from the University of Chicago. After a career in banking, she and her husband Herron had triplets, and she became a full time mom. She has served on the Boards of Garrison Forest School and the Friends Of First Tee of East Lake, as well as steering committees at Duke. She takes great pride in her 3 Volunteer of the Year awards, at Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences, First Tee of East Lake and Duke. She and her husband live in Saint Simons, GA and Cashiers where she hikes, paints, plays lots of golf and mahjong.


Duncan Wheale

Duncan is a Georgia Senior Superior Court judge who now resides with his wife Carolyn in Cashiers. Over the past several years he has served on the Boards for Cashiers Rotary, The Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic and the Blue Ridge School Education Foundation. While living in Augusta, Georgia Duncan was appointed by two Governors to chair both the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel. In 2004 he was selected as Child Advocate of the Year for the state of Georgia. He also serves as Tooth Fairy Blue Suede Elvis for the Free Dental Clinic. 


Anne McKee

Anne McKee is a retired retail shop owner.  She was an English major at Stratford College. She was married to the late A. William McKee who helped to found the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau.  She has two grown children named Woodward and Cris.  She has served on the boards of the Cashiers Area Humane Society, the Hampton School, the Highlands Cashiers Hospital Foundation, and on the Vestry of the Church of the Good Shepherd.  She enjoys hiking and playing golf when she gets the chance.


Ron Thigpen

Ron is the retired President of Georgia Bank & Trust Company in Augusta, Georgia.  He and his wife, Mary Carolyn  have resided part time in Sapphire since 2002. He currently serves on the Boards of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, Wesley Woods Foundation and the Development Authority of Columbia County.  He was a founding director of the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta and served two terms as a Commissioner of Columbia County, Georgia. He enjoys reading, woodworking and outdoor activities.


Liz Harris

Liz joined McKee Properties in 2004 and was fortunate to have been mentored in the real estate business by its founder, the late A. William McKee.  She is now a Partner/Co-Owner and VP of the company. As a partner in many successful real estate projects and investments in Cashiers, she offers an experienced perspective. Liz and her family are proud to call Cashiers their home, and are dedicated to preserving the character and vitality of the Cashiers/Highlands area.


Sallie Peterkin

Sallie has lived in Cashiers most of her life.  She has ties to Camp Merrie-Woode, High Hampton, Cornucopia Restaurant, Slabtown Pizza, and many other deeply rooted traditional Cashiers names - old and new.  She is married to Brien Peterkin and together they raised 3 children in Cashiers. They now enjoy sharing the beautiful area with their new grandchildren.  

LOGO_Builder_10212019 copy 3.png

Joe Pryse

Joe is one of our newest board members.

LOGO_Builder_10212019 copy 3.png

Mike Benitez

Mike is our current board secretary.  

Eleanor's Pic_edited.jpg

Eleanor Welling

Eleanor Welling and her husband, Irv, live in Cashiers and maintain a condo in Greenville, SC. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and has worked as a Middle School teacher, a fundraiser for non-profits, and a Greenville City Councilwoman. She has served as the chair of the Cashiers Community Fund, the chair of the Outreach Committee at Good Shepherd, and the founder of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cashiers. She enjoys a deep spirituality, the outdoors, painting and people in general.

Joy Clark Brown Pic_edited.jpg

Joy Brown Clark

Joy Brown Clark holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham. In her 37 years in education, she was president of the Alabama Middle School Principals Association and received the Principal of the Year Award from the Alabama High School Athletic Association.  Joy served on several leadership positions on the Board of Directors at The Country Club of Sapphire Valley. Joy and her husband, Walter Clark, have three children and nine grandchildren.  When not in Sapphire, N.C., they reside in Birmingham, AL.

Merrel Hattink Pic_edited.jpg

Merrel Hattink

Merrel Hattink joined Dorsey Alston Realtors in Atlanta, Georgia where she has worked as a Real Estate Professional for over 25 years.  In partnership with her daughter, Merrel successfully manages Hattink Homes, a small real estate sales team under the Dorsey Alston umbrella.  She is a native of Georgia and graduated from the University of Georgia. In addition to selling real estate, Merrel is a committed volunteer.  Merrel is married to Willem Hattink, and together they have three children.  They are active members of the Piedmont Driving Club, Lonesome Valley, Country Club of Sapphire Valley and Northside Methodist Church. Merrel is an avid bridge player and has taught the game to many students.  She also loves hiking, travelling, pickleball, tennis, and croquet. 

Lynn Dillard.bmp

Lynn Dillard

Dr. Dillard holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with concentrations in curriculum and statistical measurement from Emory University.  She has over 40 years of teaching experience including the university level and has served as a principal and district director of programs for differently-abled students in Jackson County.  Her primary interests are metacognitive skills, nontraditional learning, and inclusion of all students in the learning process.  She has been a permanent resident of Cashiers for 46 years.


Jim Robinson

Jim Robinson is the founder and owner of Design South Builders, a residential design/build firm based here in Cashiers.  Jim received his Masters degree in Architecture from Tulane University.  He has been working in the Cashiers area for over 12 years, and lives with his wife Kristin on Lake Glenville.  They have two grown children, James and Caroline.  Jim enjoys the lake life, fishing, boating and swimming. 

BFK Profile pix 2021_edited.jpg

Bambi Famous Kaine

Raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her five siblings, Bambi spent her childhood years as an outdoor, sports, and animal enthusiast. Bambi pursued a nursing degree at Villanova University. She relocated her family to Sarasota, Florida, where she excelled as an executive sales consultant with both Merck and Novartis. Inspired by several family members in real estate, Bambi obtained and has held her Florida license with one of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World since 2007. Bambi is a dedicated community member who fosters philanthropic endeavors. She established a 501(c)3 scholarship and mentoring program for high school students in Florida.


Sarah Jennings

Sarah Jennings is the Special Events and Marketing Director at Lonesome Valley.  She received a marketing and communications degree from North Carolina State University and has spent much of her career planning and executing large scale corporate and social events.  Her husband, Richard, is a custom home builder and they live in Cashiers full time with their sons, Edward and Richard, who are also proud club members.  She is currently an active board member of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, Cashiers Valley Preschool and Summit Charter School. 


Allen Tansil

Allen Tansil is a retired executive recruiter from the Atlanta area.  He completed his studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  He and his wife Jo Ellen have four grown children named Wendy, Amanda, Ryan, and Robyn.  He has served on the board of MUST Ministries in Marietta, GA and currently serves on the Lonesome Valley Property Owners Association.  Allen enjoys hiking and playing golf. 


Ron Keller

Ron is an Indianapolis, IN native and graduate of Indiana University with a BS In Accounting. After a brief four year career in professional baseball, including two years in the major leagues with the Minnesota Twins, he embarked on a career in the financial services industry. Ron retired in June 2021 after serving clients for 52 years. He has been an active volunteer in the local community since establishing his residence in Cashiers in 2005.   

Tom Barry
Lauren Bennett
Kathryn Davis
Andrew Hudson
Karla Magaña
Pat Morse
Mitzi Rauers
Angie Tyre
bottom of page