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Opening of the Nespelem Boys & Girls Club

The number of Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands is growing again! A second Boys & Girls Club is opening on the Colville Reservation in Nespelem, WA. Success of the partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County and the Colville Business Council has been evident in the Inchelium community, located on the Colville Reservation, with the Inchelium Boys & Girls Club. As a result, the Colville Reservation will be expanding to the Nespelem Community Center with a soft opening for the Boys & Girls Club scheduled in mid June. The Nespelem Boys & Girls Club will have easy access to the community as the Clubhouse will be located at the local community center. Though this will be a shared space, the gym in the community center will be closed off to the public for Club kids to use during specific times.

"We're pleased with the decision of the Colville Tribes to expand the Boys & Girls Club into the Nespelem district,” said Bill Tsoukalas, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, “Today there are over 170 Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands. Our organization includes partnerships with the Tulalip Tribes, Spokane Tribe, Warm Springs Tribe as well as the Colville Confederated Tribes.”

Nespelem Boys & Girls Club will be working hard throughout the summer in preparation for their grand opening this fall!

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Painting Party at Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills

The Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills in Brimley, MI, hosts quarterly events for their teens at the Club. Usually this event is centered on a lock in where teen Club members get the entire Club to themselves for the night, with the exception of a few staff chaperones. However, when it was time for the teen event this past quarter, the lock in was not a possibility because there were no chaperones available.

Instead of canceling their teen takeover night, they decided to make it into an extended evening event. While the boys’ teen night turned into an open gym tournament, Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills staff member, Valencia Lyons, decided she wanted to try out a special event for the teen girls. This is where her idea of a “painting party” came into play. She got the idea from the increasingly popular Paint Nite, an event where people typically go with a group of friends to work on a painting project led by a professional artist, with food and beverages usually served.

Lyons figured she could take this idea right to the girls at the Club, and she was right! Staff members were nervous about the turnout (it was spring break for the schools in the area), but 20 teenage girls showed up to the event! They even had to scrounge up more canvas due to the unexpected turnout.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Goes the Distance

During National Boys & Girls Club Week, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Support Services travelled over 200 miles to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Peach Springs, a branch of the organization. Though the Unit Director, Amelia Walema, was aware they were making this trip, most of the staff and all of the youth were completely surprised by the visit. Peach Springs is Greater Scottsdale’s most rural Club, with the closest town being 50 miles away. Because of this distance, youth and staff from Peach Springs do not get the opportunity to interact much with support services, making the surprise visit that much sweeter.

Sixteen staff members journeyed to the Club to enjoy lunch and activities with the youth and fellow staff members. They participated in every kind of activity, from board games to arts and crafts to dance. They even played rounds of jumbo cup stacking, where Club youth challenged staff members. The staff turned it into an amazing day for the youth and they finally got to meet the team that makes their Club experience possible.

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“It’s a-me, Mario!” Iconic Game Celebrated in Alaska

Spring Break has passed, but the memories that have been created are worth a thousand words. It’s the time of year when Boys & Girls Clubs and Club staff get busier as youth are out of school and coming to the Club for longer hours! In March, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southcentral Alaska celebrated National Mario Day, a holiday dedicated to the popular Nintendo game and beloved characters, Super Mario and his brother, Luigi! This day of nostalgia occurs on March 10 due to the way the date appears when abbreviated (Mar10).

Club youth celebrated by having special gym activities to get moving! They worked to create life sized Mario karts, and then subsequently raced them in a Club-wide Mario Kart Tournament. Club staff created cardboard turtle shells to toss out onto the gym “race-track” as youth raced one another, staying true to the Mario Kart videogame! A character contest was later hosted in addition to the races. Youth were encouraged to dress as their favorite Nintendo character, but most chose to dress as one of the famous Mario Bros, with their signature overalls and caps! Participants also had the opportunity to make their very own personal pizzas and host a Mario party for the remainder of the day. Needless to say, National Mario Day was loaded with fun, creativity, and competition.

Mama mia, we can’t wait to see what Alaska Clubs have planned for next year!

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Celebrating Native Alaskan Culture

Culture plays a key role in youth programming at Native Alaskan Boys & Girls Clubs. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that activities that honor traditions take place at each Unit on a monthly basis. The various activities Clubs engage in are unique to each community. The Boys & Girls Club of Tyonek, for example, maintains Junior and Senior Native Youth Olympics teams, as well as a drumming group. In the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kotzebue, youth participate in Environmental Club. Every year they have participated in subsistence fishing, berry gathering, stinkweed salve-making, and traditional drum-making. The Boys & Girls Club of Metlakatla takes a yearly Club-wide camping trip where youth collect and preserve Native foods like sea asparagus and local fish. Metlakatla’s cultural programming also benefits from a strong relationship with the local school, which employs a Sm’algyax language teacher. She volunteers at the Club once per week, teaching members to read, write, and speak the language.

Dancing is also a significant part of many Native Alaskan cultures. In the Boys & Girls Club of Klawock, Club members have learned and participated in traditional local dances for many years. Recently, youth and staff members dressed for a dance at the local Whale House for their grand re-opening.

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

Direct: 972-581-2375
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG