Wayne Longo joined Grenville Baker Boys Club in 1961 and got involved in many of the sports and programs offered, including baseball, wiffleball, basketball, football, bowling, floor hockey, the shop program, and enjoyed marching in the Memorial Day and Halloween parades, and playing in games room tournaments of ping pong and pool. During the summer, Wayne attended Camp Small Fry and later became a camp counselor.
It was at the Club that he met two people who became lifelong friends: Russell Tietjen through sports and Colin O’Donnell through Camp Small Fry. (Today, Colin is a longstanding member of the Club’s Board of Directors!) He didn’t know it yet, but Wayne was about to make another life-long friend.
In 1968, Wayne became involved in the Co-Ed Program, which invited girls to participate in the Saturday evening events the Club hosted. There was bowling, ice skating, roller skating, movies, dances, and trips to see the Christmas Tree in New York City among other activities.
In September 1971, Wayne asked Arlene Lindenberg on a date to go roller skating in the Boys Club gym. Wayne and Arlene both fondly remember the first song they skated to, which was “Midnight Confessions” by the Grass Roots. It was the first date of a long-lasting love and friendship. Wayne asked Arlene to “go steady” (that’s how it was done back then!) on October 6, 1971 and they continued to participate in Club events. He proposed on Christmas Eve 1977, and they were married on October 6, 1979.
In 1980, the Locust Valley Girls Club merged with the Boys Club to become Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club. And while Arlene may have missed the official “girls club” offerings, she certainly made her own fond memories at the corner of Forest Avenue and Weir Lane.
After tying the knot, the couple stayed local, moving to Bayville, to raise their two wonderful children. These days, happily together for over 49 years (married for 41), the Longos enjoy their family, including two grandchildren! They are still actively involved with Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, and over the years, have attended the annual Gala, art auctions, clambakes, golf outings, field cleanups and more.
Recently, Arlene and Wayne took a “behind the scenes” tour of the Clubhouse renovation and expansion project, as they are more excited than ever about what the Club means for kids in the local community. When we asked them to expand on this sentiment, they remarked, “The Club has always been a safe place for children to discover who they are, have fun, make friends, learn life lessons, play team sports, and receive academic and emotional support. The new Clubhouse has room for even more kids, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
It is a wonderful thing. And the Longos know better than most, that the Club is a place where life-long relationships are made!