Eric Harper is new Sevierville Boys & Girls Club branch director

Oct. 30, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

The new Branch Director of the Sevierville Boys & Girls Club, Eric Harper, has a unique perspective on how things should be run in the local branch.

He grew up going to the Boys & Girls club in Sevierville.

"It's been a long time, it's all mostly a blur," Harper said. "I was a club member back in '88 or '89. I used to walk over from the middle school."

Harper said he enjoyed all of the activities available for kids at the club, but as he got older in high school he became busier with school activities and no longer had as much time to participate in the club. It was a chance meeting that changed that and sparked a career.

"I went back one day to pick my brother up, and they offered me a job," Harper said. "I never looked back."

Before becoming the Branch Director in Sevierville, he served the same funtion in Seymour. His first job with the Boys & Girls Club was as a Program Specialist in the Sevierville branch.

"I just learn every step of the way," Harper said. "It's an honor to be able to do what we do."

Mark Ross, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, said he thinks the unique perspective will help Harper in the job.

"He grew up there, now he will manage the branch he grew up in," Ross said. "That's a great opportunity for him."

Harper said it will be a tremendous responsibility to manage the branch he once was involved with as a child.

"When I'm talking to kids and parents, I've lived it," Harper said. "I know how they feel."

Harper calls himself a walking example of what the Boys & Girls Club is capable of.

"The Boys & Girls Club gives back so much," Harper said. "I fully believe in our mission. It's a wonderful experience, growing up through the club."

"It's amazing that I have this opportunity, and it's all because of the club," Harper said.