Penobscot Boys & Girls Club - Presque Isle Trip to Blue Hill Farm

Inspired by the On the T.R.A.I.L. Diabetes Prevention Program, youth at the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club in Presque Isle, Maine, recently took an exciting trip to the Blue Hill Peninsula to learn local stories of the surrounding area. It has a long history of family farming and fishing, and has recently received national media attention for promoting and supporting local farms and food enterprises. Thanks to the work of these “local heroes”, delicious, high-quality food is produced year-round. This was a fantastic opportunity to get youth interested in eating locally produced and organic food. In the spring, Club staff will be working on a large community garden project together with their youth, growing their own food to share with elders in the community as well as the Club's food program. According to Program Coordinator Ashley Rekem, “I thought that a trip like this was a good precursor to whet their appetites for high quality produce and farm products.”

Youth in the program visited the Winter Farmer’s Market in Blue Hill, which was held inside a glass greenhouse. They also visited and toured the world renowned Four Season Farm on beautiful Cape Rosier, owned by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. Together with Eliot's daughter Melissa and her two children, the family produces year-round using a variety of tools and techniques developed by Eliot over his 40+ years of experience. Youth learned the process for how they produce their delicious vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, and eggs.


Carter County Youth Take Tornados into Their Own Hands

The Boys & Girls Club of Carter County runs a program that introduces a science lesson to the youth once a week. One of the recent lessons was on tornados and the science behind them. Located in Oklahoma, these youth are well acquainted with tornados and the protocols that come with them. In fact, the Club is only one hour from Moore, Oklahoma where a tornado touched down in 2013, leaving heavy destruction in the town. Therefore, the facts the youth learned about these storms could be very practical, since they are faced with the threat of them regularly.

Along with the lesson and presenting the youth with information about the weather patterns that are necessary for a tornado to form, the program used games and activities to engage the youth. This lesson was accompanied by a game of jeopardy with the periodic table, because it taught the youth the “elements” that cause tornados. The youth were split into groups and chose categories to answer, and discussed each question as a team.

Finally, the youth were given materials to replicate a tornado in their own hands! Youth were provided with a plastic water bottle, water, and baking soda and were told to swirl that bottle in a circle in order to create a funnel within their bottles. All of the youth enjoyed the activity and got to bring their projects home with them to show their family members.


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!


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.


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

Direct: 972-581-2374