Mayor Glenn J. Mecham


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Marshall White Center boxing program has attracted many of Ogdenís inner-city youth over the many years of operation. Boxing is a structured program of physical conditioning, developing self-esteem, positive attitudes, self worth, and helping teens learn to deal with anger and conflict in a controlled situation. Each teen is taught self discipline and learns to control their anger by channeling their energy through boxing.

The boxing program is a drop-in program. Young people are encouraged to attend practices year round four nights a week. An experienced volunteer coach is present for the practices. The Marshall White Center hosts three tournaments a year and provides transportation for our participants to attend tournaments and matches out of the city area.

All our young people participating in the Marshall White Center boxing program are USA/American Boxing Federation registered. There is a one time nominal registration fee per year. This fee pays for the registration of each of the teens with the USA/ABF. As USA/ABF members our teens can box in any USA/ABF sanctioned match or tournament nationally. All the boxing matches at the Marshall White Center are USA/ABF sanctioned.

The MWC Boxing program consists of the following activities and programs:

  • MWC Boxing Program involves youth in a structured program of fitness and conditioning four days per week throughout the year.
  • MWC Boxers are given the opportunity to workout with other members of the club as well as participate in tournaments and matches throughout the area.
  • All members of the boxing team must sign a code of conduct and promise to remain drug and alcohol free.
  • MWC provides opportunities for members of the boxing team to participate in fund-raising activities for their club as a service project for the community.
  • The MWC Boxing Team actively recruits membership for their own Boxing Advisory Board. This Advisory Board consists of five members between the age of 13-21 years old. They will be charged with giving input for members of the boxing team, recruit other teens, recommend activities and assist with program development.
  • Members of the Boxing Team are given educational opportunities to become involved in anger resolution workshops and drug resistance education.

2. When was the program created and why?

The Marshall White Community Center is located in the heart of Ogdenís inner-city. The surrounding area represents 48.4% minority population, 23.5% single parent households and an unemployment rate of 23%. This area is one of the oldest sections of Ogden and over the past 10 years has seen a decrease in population in excess of 10%.

Ogden has experienced a great increase in crime, vandalism and gang related activities in the past 18 months. For the last five years the Marshall White Center has remained a sort of "safe haven" for the neighborhood youngsters.

The Marshall White Center has operated a recreational Boxing program for 23 years and has recognized that this program has not only produced champions, but has also addressed some areas in the lives of our youth, who because of lack of parental involvement, poor self esteem, economically disadvantaged become prime candidates for gang recruitment and detrimental behaviors.

The Marshall White Center Boxing Program has been very instrumental as a deterrent to gang activities. This program is designed to take young people off the streets and place them in an activity they can enjoy and can excel in. The young people from the inner city areas that participate in this program often are those who have no other place in the community to belong, which presents the greatest threat of gang involvement. They come to the Marshall White Center and are offered an opportunity to belong to the program which leads to a feeling that they belong to the center and to the community.

3. How is the program financed?

The Marshall White Center boxing program operates from funds generated through registration fees ($35.00 per years), through fund-raisers (Host four to five boxing tournaments yearly which average $600.00 profit after cost), and through grants which are submitted yearly to the Neighborhood Development Enterprise Initiative Grants, W.C. Swanson Foundation, and Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

4. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?

Below is just a small list of organizations that are involved with our collaborative efforts to address the gang problems in our community:

United Way of Ogden, Ogden City Recreation, Ogden City Police - Gang Task Force, Ogden City Police - Letís Play Program, Ogden Housing Authority - Youth sports Program,

Weber State University, Utah Jazz Basketball, and Salvation Army of Ogden.

We have made remarkable success with many teens and kept many kids out of trouble through our boxing program. The Marshall White Community Center and Ogden City recognize that the Crime and Violence in our community can be combated, but the effort must come from all organizations within the City. It recognizes that "IT TAKE A WHOLE VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD."

5. What are major lessons learned from the program?

We have recognized that the crime and violence in our community are a real and dangerous problem. With an increase in crime in the past year, it has become apparent that programs like the Marshall White Center boxing program must be available as an alternative for crime and gang activities. If the community doesnít provide a place for our young people then the gangs will. In order to achieve any success in combating this problem, it requires a strong collaborative effort with the community and with all organizations within the city.

We have learned that there are three basic elements required for the success of this program:

1. It is essential that the program have a consistent, positive, adult role model who is knowledgeable in boxing and can challenge, support and coach these young people. If the participants respect their coach then they begin to find respect in themselves and what they are doing.

2. When members of the community support the program by attending matches and tournaments the boxers begin to develop a greater sense of pride in themselves, in the center and in the community. It is imperative that the boxing program invites and encourages community members to attend matches and tournaments. It has been demonstrated that when the participants compete in tournaments with members of the community present to cheer them on, they generally stay in the program longer.

3. We have learned that the more organizations involved in the program the more our young people benefit.

6. Contact person:

Gerod "Butch" Sawyer

Director, Marshall White Community Center

222 28th St.,

Ogden, Utah 84401

(801)-629-8346 work,

(801)-393-9625 fax


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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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