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Marking 20th year serving Boys & Girls members
JOHN SCHARF2-1-08-10a
Lead youth coordinator John Scharf looks over bumper pool rules with a member. Scharf is marking 20 years next month with the Boys & Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop. - photo by HIME ROMERO
John Scharf has more than a few things that he can look back on with a smile.

But next month, the longtime Boys and Girls Club staffer will hit his 20-year mark – celebrating the day he joined then-Executive Director Chuck Crutchfield and embarked on what has been a long and satisfying career helping guide the youth of Manteca.

And Scharf – who jumped into the Boys and Girls Club as a Lodi youth headfirst – isn’t bashful about how closely he holds the organization and the benefits it provides.

“Like a lot of the kids that I’ve come across, I didn’t necessarily have the best home life and being at the Boys and Girls Club gave me a chance to be around other kids from similar backgrounds,” Scharf said. “In a sense, I can say the Boys and Girls Club saved me. I don’t know where I’d be right now if I hadn’t have found that place.”

It was through a school program that Scharf landed his first job on the staff at the Boys and Girls Club of Lodi. It was an institution that would introduce him to future Manteca Executive Director Mark McCool as he learned the ropes of the popular after-school hangout for local kids.

When a spot officially opened up, Scharf was hired and would spend two years in Lodi before Crutchfield called and asked if he’d like to come to Manteca and take a position that would eventually engrain him into the fabric of the club itself.

Since making the move he has become extremely active in the community through volunteer work with the Manteca Police Department and the Sunrise Kiwanis. He has developed a reputation for always being reliable and available whenever a situation called for it.

Through his work with the police department, Scharf says that he has learned a lot more about Manteca and the people in it whether it was through his on-shift patrolling with officers or making house checks as a Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police volunteer.

Now the majority of his police volunteer work is with the Explorers program putting him in his element with young people who are aspiring to achieve their dream by pursuing a law enforcement career.

At the end of the day, however, his heart still lies with the kids that he deals with on a daily basis. It is a position that he considers a blessing to still be in.

“In a sense I get paid to hang out with these kids, shoot pool with these kids, and be a part of the lives of these kids,” Scharf said. “A lot of people would like to have a job where this is all that they did, and I’m lucky to have been able to have done this for as long as I have.
“When I think about it being 20 years though, it just doesn’t seem that long. I guess time really does fly when you’re having a good time.”

When he isn’t fulfilling one of his many volunteer obligations or putting in additional hours at the club, Scharf enjoys following the Oakland Raiders and spending time with friends.