BTNAA 33rd Biennial Alumni Family -Celebrating Boys Town's Centennial
With Boys Town’s Centennial as the backdrop for the 33rd Biennial Alumni Family Reunion alumni from all across the nation converged on the most famous village in the world to celebrate one of the most unique family reunions in our country. Alumni began trickling in early on July 10th to tour the campus and share memories with their families and by Wednesday the 12th the Hall of History was chock full of alumni poring over photographs, old Boys Town Times and reminiscing with each other. In the meantime a group of alumni headed to Okoboji for a tour of Boys Town’s camp and to host a picnic for the youth attending camp at that time. The Okoboji group returned in time to attend the first ever “Appreciation Reception” held to honor and thank staff and former staff for the influence they had on the lives of so many alumni. The event was well attended by alumni and staff and many memories were swapped and stories shared.
Thursday morning saw alumni arriving in earnest and the BTNAA Board of Directors hold their annual face-to-face meeting. It was the last meeting of the board under the old board structure and Father Boes presented an update on what was going on at Boys Town. Several alumni members attended the meeting as guests and a lively discussion on a range of topics was the order of the day. Highlighting the afternoon was a picnic hosted by the BTNAA for Boys Town youth and youth care staff to celebrate Father Flanagan’s birthday. Nearly 600 attended this picnic held at the Boys Town lake picnic grounds. New to this reunion were the several picnic pavilions that were built by the Boys Town maintenance staff…what a great addition to the area! Thursday evening saw alumni converge on Sortino’s Pizza restaurant for a no-host evening of food and fun. This event, originally started by the late John Corrigan, ’68 and now carried on by his classmate, Larry Adams, was well attended by many different generations of alumni.
Golfers hit the links early on Friday morning and managed to keep the little white ball in play most of the time while others spent time registering at the Hall of History and scouring through the photos and other items available for alumni. At noon, the 50 Year reunion classes of 1966 and 1967 relocated to a picnic area in Omaha to hold a “Hog Roast” organized by Mike Smith, ’67. It was well attended and the “old guys” had a great time. The alumni choir had their first rehearsal on Friday afternoon and voices were loosened and brought back to fine mettle in preparation for Mass on Sunday to be followed by a short presentation of patriotic music. The Welcome Social on Friday night filled the Great Hall to capacity with more than 500 alumni and families in attendance. It was an evening full of warmth, reunion and more than one exaggerated story!
Saturday morning kicked off a full day of events with the convening of the General Assembly in the Music Hall, election of new board members and officers, presentation of awards, an update from the President of the BTNAA Scholarship Fund, John Fox, ’82 and presentations by Father Steve Boes, National Executive Director, Mr. Bob Pick, Executive Vice President, Youth Care and Mr. Jeff Peterson, Executive Director, Home Campus. Following the presentations everyone moved over to the Alumni Veterans Memorial where 27 new names of alumni who were killed in action or died while serving in uniform. It was a moving and meaningful ceremony and all alumni veterans gathered for a group photo following the event. In the afternoon alumni kids and families were treated to a wagon ride to Boys Town’s farm to see the animals while others toured the campus, high school and Career Center. A sold out crowd of 370 attended the Recognition Banquet at the Embassy Suites – La Vista and everyone enjoyed an outstanding meal and recognized the 50 and 25 year reunion classes as well as honoring Judge Bill Maddux, ’53 with the Father Flanagan Distinguished Alumnus Award. Other awards presented that night were, Outstanding Young Alumni, Mary Carter, ’03, The President’s Award, Ed Flanagan, ’81, the National Honorary President, Knobby Meysenburg and a special award to Sharon Nelson for her many years of supporting the Father Flanagan canonization movement. A highlight of the evening was the celebration of Joe Renteria’s 100th birthday with a cake ablaze with candles to the hearty sounds of the crowd singing Happy Birthday as Joe and Boys Town celebrated 100 years.
Sunday morning saw an overflow crowd at church as the alumni choir filled Dowd Chapel with heavenly sounds and thrilled the congregation with the Patriotic Music concert after mass. Shortly after mass everyone headed, once again, to the picnic grounds where more than 450 attended the Farewell Picnic. Everyone shared this family meal with promises to return in two years and celebrate, once again, this unique reunion of the Boys Town alumni family.