Ohana Mo'olelo Night at Nanakuli

Open houses are a great way to expose a Club and interact with the community at large. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii knows how useful open houses are, and wanted to embrace these helpful events yet at the same time not neglect opportunities for current members. Club Director Claudia Fernandez decided to integrate club participation into open house style events by creating themed Family Nights! Claudia and her staff plan these nights four times a year, and are marked by different themes such as the most recent Ohana Mo'olelo Night that was held at the Nanakuli Clubhouse.

This is one of the few Family Nights to be culturally themed, which Claudia says comes at a time that is more necessary than ever for youth to know who they are and their cultural roots. Activities at the event included a cultural story time, where Club staff retold tales of Hawaiian demigods such as Maui and the history of the island nation, as well as arts & crafts of traditional Native styling. Only one thing could make the night better….food! Luckily, the night also entailed a potluck dinner where families of Club members brought dishes to reflect their heritage. Club community partners such as the University of Hawaii participated as well, surveying parents about the programs and events of the Club to provide constructive feedback to Club staff.


Twin Cities Youth Paint Mural on the Greenway

This summer, youth at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota had the exciting opportunity to assist local artists with a large-scale mural on the Greenway, a large bike trail in Minneapolis. It all started when the Midtown Greenway contacted the Little Earth Education Department to express interest in getting several teens in the community to help work on a mural they were planning for the trail. From there, the organization partnered with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) to work with students and create internships for teens. Collaboration with Little Earth began nearly a year ago, and they began (and completed) the mural in August 2017. Youth from the Little Earth extension unit participated and assisted during a planned community day, and worked with the interns and artists on various sections of the mural.

Located just a few blocks away from Little Earth housing, the mural depicts the three interns that were a part of this project. It also includes an image of a Native woman carrying other people, symbolic of the weight women carry throughout life, as well as how women pass on heritage and culture. In addition, each young girl is holding an object sacred to the Little Earth community. These items include a tobacco pouch, sage, and corn. Other images represent tribal stories and animals considered sacred to the culture.


Lumbee Days at the NMAI in Washington, D.C.

The Lumbee Tribe, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), recently hosted Lumbee Days at the NMAI in Washington, D.C. This event was an opportunity to showcase the Lumbee people, their culture, history, and artists to the world; allowing the Tribe to narrate their own story so that others can begin to learn and understand who they are. About twenty Lumbee youth from the Boys & Girls Club of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina participated in the laying of the wreath, a somber ritual at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Sierra M. and Tyee S., from the local high school ROTC, the Tribal Chairman, Harvey Godwin Jr., and Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, Club CEO, participated in the formal ceremony, laying the custom cultural design to signify respect to the fallen Lumbee soldiers and all soldiers. Chairman Godwin shared, “In Lumbee culture it is important to honor the military service and sacrifice of our members, that is an essential lesson for our youth and why it was vital to me that our Boys & Girls Club members take the lead in laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

The youth of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina were actively involved in a variety of programs during the 4 day event. They shared their knowledge of native arts including corn husk dolls, pottery, and gourd rattles during hands-on activities in the museum’s imagiNATIONS Activity Center. The youth demonstrated traditional art techniques to young museum visitors and provided them with an opportunity to make their own to take home.


Bay Mills Youth Learn about Ecosystems

This summer, The Boys & Girls Club of Bay Mills partnered with Bay Mills Community College (BMCC) to conduct a program for their youth known as “Science Camp.” Science Camp is a week-long activity in which youth in 4th – 7th grade participate in a variety of unique and exciting activities that include:

  • Native traditions, plants & medicines
  • Traditional Harvesting of Fish
  • Forensic Science Studies
  • Aquatics research: Learning about aquatic ecosystems within the Great Lakes Region
  • Health & Fitness Science
  • Nutrition
  • Farming

According to Bay Mills staff, one of the most popular activities is the aquatics research on ecosystems. For this activity, the Bay Mills Biology Department takes youth on a trip to a local stream located near the Pendills Creek Fish Hatchery, where they are taught how to properly examine, measure, and log information on fish. Participants learned that if you catch a fish, you can look up the species on your state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website to see if it is a tagged species. If it is, the head of the fish can be brought to any DNR office for research. The youth also learned how to recognize plants and different aquatic bugs.


Summer Baseball Thunders through Rosebud Communities

There are very few opportunities on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota for youth to learn and play organized baseball. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud took that information, turned it into an opportunity, and started their very own baseball league called Thunder League Baseball! This league is a way to teach youth on the reservation how to play and enjoy baseball over the summer months. This summer, there were seven teams and over 80 youth that participated in the league. The season-ending tournament came to a close with two teams, Sunrise and Mission, facing off for the championship title. Mission came out on top with a score of 13-7 over Sunrise. However it was Sunrise player Preston B., who has been an active player for the Sunrise team for the past four years, that earned the honor of Thunder Player of the Year for being the team member that was the closest to hitting an out-of-the-park home run.

Andrew Haines, Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud-Antelope Site Director, felt that the Thunder League was a huge success this year. He offered praise to Preston and all the boys that were dedicated to being true team players. Haines commented that “the goal is to bring baseball back to every community in the Rosebud Reservation,” and they got one step closer this year by adding the Okreek and Swift Bear communities.

Congratulations to the Mission team, Preston B., and all of the Rosebud staff and youth that were dedicated to making this a great season for Thunder League Baseball!

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