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Poarch Band Hosts 2017 National Native American Mentoring Banquet

To honor mentors for National Mentoring Month in January, the Boys & Girls Club of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Atmore, Alabama hosted a Mentor Banquet at the Wind Creek Casino. The National Native American Mentoring Program is a site-based program that takes place at the Club on a weekly basis for a minimum of one hour, allowing mentor/mentee matches to participate in fun, engaging activities throughout the course of a year. Mentors that sign up consist of Club staff, Tribal staff, and members of the community. Several staff at the Club mentor through their well-known archery program, and others mentor through activities such as sports, music, games, and arts and crafts. These activities are often preformed in addition to regular conversations and check-ins with their mentees.

During the 2016 year, the Club had a total of 15 mentors serve, with two additional individuals who signed up after the first of the New Year. Though their numbers are constantly increasing, they also had 40 active mentees in 2016; an amazing number to say the least! Community/Mentor Coordinator Donna Koehrsen gave a speech about their mentor program, and then called up each mentor to present them with certificates of recognition for their dedication to the program. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stephanie Agerton, who has been a part of the program since the Club first opened in 2011, was also recognized for her five years of dedication. Equipped with such a devoted, enthusiastic team, it’s no wonder they choose to honor and demonstrate their appreciation every year!

For more information, or to learn more about their program, be sure to check out the Poarch Creek March 2017 Newsletter!

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Healing Through Traditional Beats at Bay Mills

Each and every Thursday at 5pm, the aroma of burning sage can be smelled throughout the hallways of the Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills, in Brimley, Michigan. Accompanying this sacred scent are the rhythmic vibrations of hand-crafted drums. They can be heard from every corner of the Club, echoing past each room. Youth patiently and eagerly await this day of the week, the day they finally get to practice with the traditional drumming program.

The Bay Mills traditional drumming program is celebrated for encouraging youth to connect with their Anishinaabe culture. Mentor and instructor Mike Willis leads young men at the Club through a new song each week, while Tonia Jimmie assists, creating balance by leading their young women through their roles and passing down knowledge about the drum. Willis, a Professor and Department Chair of Native American Studies at Bay Mills Community College, has served as a drumming mentor for Bay Mills since 2007, with Jimmie coming to assist over the course of a year. According to Club Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sandra Walden, Willis has been a member of the Bear Creek community for nineteen years, and whenever he has been given an opportunity to sing and drum, he’s taken it.

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Baskets of Fun at the Nanakuli Clubhouse

The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii’s Nanakuli Clubhouse has made a splash in athletics with some of its youngest members!

Nanakuli developed a team with thirteen young Club members who only wanted to play and learn the sport of basketball. They were entered into a bracket for 7-9 year olds for a two month season. The season consists of practice three times a week, and five games that lead up to a tournament. The team was led by a dedicated volunteer coach, Pedro Santana. During their practices, Pedro worked with each player to develop skills such as dribbling, passing, stealing, shooting, and most importantly, teamwork. All Santana asked of his team was that they had fun no matter what the outcome of each game happened to be, and that they were giving 100 percent whether it was in attitude or effort. The youth worked hard, showing up for every practice and game which ultimately paid off. The work put in by the youth and their coach produced an undefeated season, with them winning all five games going into the final tournament.

Not only were the youth rewarded with a winning season, but they were also surrounded by caring adults who were sure to embody a safe, positive, and fun place throughout the process. Nanakuli’s team and coach represent what sports and athletics can do for our youth when taught and played in a supportive environment. The lessons these youth have been instilled with this season are lessons that go far beyond the basketball court, which is in no small part due to the leadership provided by the adult staff. Congratulations Nanakuli Clubhouse on your big win, amazing season, and wonderful sportsmanship!

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Samsung Climate SuperStars: Seminole Club Earns $25,000 Award

Boys & Girls Club of the Seminole Tribe of Florida won Climate Superstars, the online environmental challenge, presented by Samsung and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America through Torch Club. This was a seven-week challenge where chartered Torch Clubs could earn points while completing various environmental tasks, such as planting a tree, visiting a power plant, learning about water management, upcycling, and more. The challenge ran from September 19 until November 6. There were three rounds of prizes awarding Samsung products to top point earners. The grand prize went to the Hollywood Rez Torch Club of Boys & Girls Club of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The reward for being the grand prize winner was a $25,000 technology makeover presented by Samsung and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Climate SuperStars challenge is now in its second year and hopes to continue inspiring youth to be good stewards of the environment and graduate STEM ready.

Hollywood Rez Torch Club was able to earn their grand prize by showcasing their understanding of reusing material for different reasons. These youth created a rocket made from a pasta box to use as a learning tool, and also made a fun snow globe created by sealing an old glass jar filled with water and glitter. Along with their innovative ideas, they were able to visit a public works facility. This gave them the chance to learn about utility installation and maintenance, as well as meet those who have STEM careers. These are the efforts that were awarded several ENERGY STAR certified products, including two 55 inch Ultra High Definition LED Smart TVs, three Virtual Reality devices, thirty Galaxy tablets, one Gear 360 Camera, and thirty notebook computers.

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First Nation Boys & Girls Club Receives a Club Makeover

On January 17, 2017, First Nation Boys & Girls Club received a Club Makeover courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Native Services Unit. Before the Clubhouse was redone, it had been about 10 years since the space had seen any major updates. Now the Club has a fresh new look complete with a new paint job, tables, chairs, billiards equipment, 5 new tablets, wall graphics, and even a jukebox!

This honor was presented to Rose Lowry-Townsend, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina because of her continued success in increasing the amount of Native youth her Clubs are serving.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has recently opened up several new Clubs allowing for additional services provided to Native youth within areas that were not yet being reached by existing Clubs. When given this opportunity, Rose saw the immediate need at her First Nation Boys & Girls Club. Unit Director Tangelina Jarry and First Nation Boys & Girls Club were set to use these donations to give their space a complete makeover.

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

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