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Boys & Girls Club renamed for Max B. Osceola Jr.

From left to right are Carla Knapp and members of Max B. Osceola Jr.’s family – Meaghan Osceola, Melissa DeMayo, Max Osceola III, Margaret Osceola, Sharon Osceola and Amy Cox. (Photo Damon Scott)

HOLLYWOOD – Visitors to the Howard Tiger Recreation Center on the Hollywood Reservation will soon see new large letters on the front of the building welcoming them to the “Max B. Osceola Jr. Hollywood Boys & Girls Club.”

Osceola’s life and work was recognized at an emotional ceremony Nov. 17 in the gymnasium. The center is home to the Hollywood Recreation Department, the Hollywood Boys & Girls Club and the Hollywood Community Culture Center.

Osceola died Oct. 8, 2020, at age 70 from complications of the Covid-19 virus. He was a big influence and left a rich legacy at the tribe. Osceola was Hollywood’s councilman from 1985 to 2010, but his service to the tribe dates to the 1970s when he served as the education director.

Osceola, also known as “Big Max,” was instrumental in the establishment of the tribe’s Boys & Girls Clubs program and for its growth. He helped to forge the tribe’s club charter in 2003. The Hollywood club would be the first to open in 2005. The tribe now has four clubs – in Hollywood, Big Cypress, Brighton and Immokalee.

The clubs, which operate locations across the country, are designed as an after school activity program that provides a safe space for youth.

“It is overwhelming to be a part of this event,” Robert C. North Sr., the longtime tribalwide Boys & Girls Clubs director, said. “We wanted to make this ceremony meaningful, because Big Max was a big man and he created a long shadow and he taught us all how to be stronger. He taught us to understand the importance of investing in our youth.”

Friends and family say Osceola’s support of the Boys & Girls Clubs was an extension of his commitment to youth and education.

Osceola’s son, Max B. Osceola III, said his father taught him that tribal education began from a culture where the Elders are the teachers. But that he also understood that the tribe no longer lived in the Everglades and needed to acquire additional knowledge and education to work and live.

“He believed that anything that helped the education system was a plus,” Osceola III said. “The more we learn the better off we all are – it’s truly the point of the Boys & Girls Clubs.”

His father earned degrees from Broward Community College and the University of Miami. He was inducted into the hall of fame of the Broward Education Foundation in 2017.

“Education was the key,” Osceola III, also known as “Little Max,” said. “He said if we make a person strong, we make a family strong. If we make a family strong, we make a community strong. If we make a community strong, we make the nation strong. This is who he was at the core. This is why we remain the unconquered Seminoles.”

As a longtime Hollywood councilman, Osceola also influenced future tribal leaders, including Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola.

“I didn’t know how I was going to feel today. Much like some of you, I never got to say goodbye to Max,” Councilman Osceola said. “I just learned so much from this man. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for his leadership, his vision, for the work that he put in, and for his love of his people.”

Osceola and Councilman Osceola both shared a love of motorcycles and went on road trips together across the country.

“Probably 90% of his riding was to raise money for kids,” Councilman Osceola said.

He recalled that Osceola would ride hours out of his way to stop by other Boys & Girls Clubs across the country with a donation in hand. Councilman Osceola also traveled with him to visit Victory Junction, a North Carolina nonprofit Osceola supported. The group helps youth with serious medical conditions.

Carla Knapp (Penobscot Indian Nation), national vice president of Native services for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, presented Osceola’s family with a plaque that formally names the Hollywood club in his honor.

“He was a visionary who touched the lives of so many with his leadership, his work ethic and joy for life – as well as a deep commitment to his family, tribe and all of Indian Country,” Knapp read.

More is at

From left to right are Mitchell Osceola, Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola, and Steve Osceola. Mitchell and Steve are Max B. Osceola Jr.’s brothers. (Photo Damon Scott)
Robert C. North Sr., longtime tribalwide Boys & Girls Clubs director, knew Max B. Osceola Jr. for years. (Photo Damon Scott)
Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at