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!


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!


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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