Lehi Hoop Dancers Compete in World Championship

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale was proud to see ten of its Lehi Hoop Dance participants compete this February in the 26th Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition, hosted by the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The event brought dancers and spectators together from all over the U.S. and Canada to highlight unique dance styles and skills. Judges evaluated the nearly 70 performances this year based on five criteria, including precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativity and speed. Both female and male competitors performed in four age divisions: “tiny tots”, youth, adults, and seniors.

The Hoop Dance is practiced by tribes around North America as a form of visual storytelling. Traditionally made of wood or reed, many modern dancers also use plastic and decorate hoops with tape or paint to make their performance stand out. Many dancers portray the seasons, sacred colors and other symbolic designs on their hoops, honoring their communities and heritage. The competition featured a wide array of dancers performing their best routines. “I liked watching other hoop dancers from around the country. I have never seen so many before,” said Club member Deian, one of the Lehi performers. Another Lehi performer, D’Andre, likes the family connection he feels when hoop dancing. “It gives me a challenge [and] it’s a family thing,” he said about the hoop dance.

The Lehi Hoop Dance group was started in January 2015 and provides space for 20 youth and teens to express their creative talent through dance. Coaches Kevin Duncan and Josh Billison lead classes for Club members at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale - Lehi Branch in Mesa, Arizona. “I like learning from Kevin. He is so patient,” said Deian about his dance coach. “I like when our families got to see all our hard work,” said Lehi hood dancer, Yenbaah, who appreciated the support from his community and friends during the competition. By providing a safe and fun learning environment, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale supports programs like the Lehi Hoop Dancers to celebrate participants’ culture and challenge them to accomplish their goals.

To see a video of the 26th Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition, click here.


“Ottawa County Has A Heart” Benefit Concert Raises $11,000

The Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County hosted their first annual benefit concert early this spring with VISTA member Gary Jones as an organizer. “Ottawa County Has a Heart” took place at the Coleman Theater in Miami, OK, a historic tourist destination and center for arts and educational opportunities in the area.

Jones took the lead in planning the concert in the fall of 2015, forming a committee that met regularly to discuss details and recruit community sponsors for the event. Gary worked to recruit 36 sponsors total, with 32 being new partners for the Club.

The concert featured three local musical acts, a local elementary school principal performing a magic show, and Gary himself performing a ventriloquism act.

“All of the performers did a great job,” Gary said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.” The event was very family-friendly, and many families and community members came out to support the Club and see their favorite musicians perform.

The event also included a presentation designed to show what goes on at the Club and its impact in the community.


Moody County Youth Shares What the Club Means to Him

The Boys & Girls Club of Moody County, located in the beautiful city of Flandreau, SD, has achieved great success over the past five years. Twelve year old Julius G. has been a Club member in Moody County, a unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, since December 2010. Julius has been able to witness and experience much of the Club’s tremendous growth during his membership tenure. A recent interview with Julius captured his impressions of the Club and how it has helped him grow.

Julius immediately enjoyed coming to the Club after school as well as throughout the summer and connecting with staff members. What is the best part of being a Club kid? Julius likes “to hang out with [his] friends and play fun activities like dodge ball and help make meals for the younger Club members with staff.”

In addition to spending time with peers and staff members, Julius has been able to participate in many Club programs and activities including a program called Clubs against Tobacco and SMART Moves. He shared that those programs helped him learn about making healthy relationship choices and become more confident in his knowledge of harmful habits like smoking. The Club also offers time for Power Hour where youth are given the opportunity to finish up school work, read quietly, and participate in mentoring programs like STEM Mentoring and other OJJDP-funded initiatives. Julius receives mentoring and enjoys spending time with a trusted adult who listens to his struggles and achievements.


Club’s Archery Team Shoots for a Cure

Last fall, the Boys & Girls Club of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ archery team held an amazing event that brought together mentors, mentees, and their community in Atmore, AL. Through archery tournament admissions and raffle tickets, their "Shoot for a Cure to End Childhood Cancer” event raised over $5,000 for St. Jude's Research Hospital!

The success of the event was largely due to the team’s ability to bring their community together to support the cause. Community partners included the local recreation department, who provided the site for the event, community business owners who provided raffle items, and the local Pepsi Company who donated drinks. In addition to recruiting community partners, the team’s 40+ members sold “Shoot for a Cure” tee shirts and volunteered during the event at the raffle station and concession stand. The youth also created a moving video that highlighted the need for cancer care and research in order to promote the event.

Beyond the success of their “Shoot for a Cure” event, the Club’s archery program teaches discipline and confidence all year round. All Club members rotate through the Club’s thriving archery program on a weekly basis and can choose to join the Club’s archery team if interested. The team is leveled so that beginner, intermediate, and experienced members are all welcome to join.


Special Recognition for Mentor at Boys & Girls Club of Nowata

Mentoring matters in the lives of youth across the county. Each January, we have the opportunity to create awareness about the positive effects of mentoring, share best practices that create a thriving environment for mentors and mentees, and celebrate the mentors who have impacted our programs so deeply. This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata celebrated one of their dedicated mentors who was recognized at the “Mentor Day at the Capital” event.

As a part of National Mentoring Month, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Boren Mentoring Initiative accepts nominations for stellar mentors from youth serving mentoring organizations across the state to join in a celebration called “Mentor Day at the Capital”. It is a chance for mentors and mentees alike to honor mentoring and to share fun, educational activities at the Oklahoma state capital. For the first time, the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata nominated one of their mentors to take place in this prestigious event. Rachelle Pearson, who has served at the Club as a mentor for 3 years, was selected as one of over sixty mentors statewide recognized for her efforts in supporting youth through mentoring!

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