BRADENTON -- Carl Weeks has been the face of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County for a long time.
A lot longer than his 13 years as its president.
Come Aug. 31, that tenure will come to an end.
Weeks, 64, announced his retirement Thursday after 42 years as a member of the nonprofit that serves 6,000 youths around the county.
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"It's been a blessed 42 years to be with the same organization and to positively impact the lives of children," he said.
That starts with his own.
Weeks became a club member in 1956 at the age of 8. When he was a teen, he made 37 cents an hour to umpire baseball games.
Little did he know that would eventually take him to a permanent role in the organization for more than four decades, helping guide it through change and growth.
"The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County has experienced tremendous success under the leadership of Carl Weeks," said board chairman Mike Moschella. "He truly believes in the mission of bringing hope and opportunity to every child
in our community. He has worked every day to make this happen. It is rare that an individual has this amount of passion and commitment to their work and to their community."
Weeks helped make the club's slogan, "Great Futures Start Here," relevant for all youngsters who walked through its doors.
Melton Little was one of them.
"There are those few people who you meet in the course of your life that set your moral compass and point you in the right direction," the attorney said. "For me, one of those people is Carl Weeks.
"As a boy, I looked up to, admired and listened to him. As a man, I realized he was actually one of my heroes," Little said. "No one person has done more, given more of himself or dedicated more of his life to children in Manatee County than Carl Weeks. I can't imagine that will change in retirement."
Weeks joked that retiring may not be all that.
"I have a 'Honey-Do list' that won't quit," he said.
Regardless, there will be more time for grandchildren and coaching when the opportunity presents itself.
A national search will be held to find Weeks' successor.
"As we celebrate Carl's retirement, the future looks very bright for our organization," Moschella said. "A solid foundation has been established on which it is now our responsibility to build upon."
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix