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Exposing Club Youth to Cultural Rich Programming

Wondering how you can revamp your Club with program material that’s relevant to Native youth? With cultural rich programming, the Boys & Girls Club of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has been educating their Club members about their Native heritage for 18 years. This Club, located in Mayetta, KS, added a Singers and Dancers program in the hopes of exposing their youth to more cultural characteristics and tribal traditions. Since then, the program has gained much attention and the dance group has been asked to perform at local schools and various community events.

Nathan Hale, Executive Director, was proud to share that this program will be performing at the Nelson Atkins Museum as part of the grand opening of its newest Native American Exhibit on September 21, 2014. Seven mentees and 50 Club members will dance at this event and, of those 50, five youth are even more excited to be dancing at their first performance! The dance group was also recently invited to Haskell Indian Nations University to perform during the inauguration ceremony of the University’s new president.

Based on a foundation of Native heritage, this program and other culture-based programs are great outlets for Native youth to explore their historical background. “A lot of kids didn’t grow up on a reservation so we are trying to get back to their tribal roots,” Hale said. This program is meant to excite the youth about their cultural roots and it does just that.

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Keeping the Unengaged Club Kid Engaged

Let us set the scenario for you. Club kids are going back to school, meaning after school programming is kicking off. You have a grant funded program, or multiple programs, starting that require you to complete educational lessons and activities. In your group of kids, there is a chance that you see a combination of the following three types of participants.

  1. There is the “self-motivated” participant who cannot wait for the lesson to start, answers questions when asked, and does all activities with enthusiasm.
  2. There is the “going through the motions” participant who may think the lessons are unimportant, but listens quietly and completes the activities because that is what is expected.
  3. Finally, there is the “unengaged” participant who seems to have no interest in what lesson you are facilitating and will do everything but what is being asked.

Now if you have a group of “self-motivated” participants only, then please let us know your best practices! (Really, we would love to share with others.) But if you have a few Club kids in mind that either go through the motions to get things done or are completely unengaged, read on!

Engaging the unengaged has been a task that educators and program leaders have been trying to tackle for years! At times, it can seem impossible. However, we worked to create a list of ideas that will help you make the impossible possible.

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BGCA Native Services Unit
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2107 N. Collins Boulevard
Richardson, TX 75080

Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG