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Native Services Unit Receives Traditional Artwork

The Native Services Unit office in Dallas, TX has a new addition! A handmade birch bark frame containing a Native American Nations map was constructed and donated by Joseph Knapp, Penobscot Nation Tribal Member and Chief Professional Officer of the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club. The beautiful frame surrounds and complements the Native American Nations map that depicts locations of Native American tribes and their original names.

Made of winter birch bark and sinew, the frame represents the birth of a new relationship between Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country (BGCIC). Relationships are a key part of Native life; group sharing of knowledge and responsibilities is integral to the Native lifestyle. Generosity is also valued, especially in helping others.

The birch bark was custom fitted, delicately sewn, and laced with sinew to fit the frame. Sinew is prepared from animal tendons that have been split into threads. The threads are strong, durable, and flexible, making sinew valuable to many indigenous cultures for traditional use in sewing as an art form. Harvesting birch bark in the winter is a daunting task that requires great patience and skill. The proper techniques of birch bark harvesting are passed down through generations of Native culture. The meaning of the beauty in Native art far exceeds its literal meaning alone. Everyone at the Dallas Service Center and the Native Services Unit are excited to have such a beautiful work of art in the office, courtesy of Joseph Knapp and the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club.

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Giving Thanks with the Red Mountain Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale

The Red Mountain Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is always busy giving thanks in a variety of ways! During this past holiday season, they kicked off by teaming up with the company Packages from Home to send canned food items to American troops that are stationed at various locations around the world. The Club-wide food drive was a hit because of the amount of items they received to send to the men and women who are deployed! That’s not all. The Club also hosted two dinners that were designated for the youth and teen members, as well as their families and guardians. Members were able to share a delicious meal with their guests followed by participating in fun activities such as constructing foam teepees, creating hand turkeys to display what Club members are thankful for, and a friendly turkey making competition. The attendees at the teen dinner had the opportunity to enjoy song and dance from the Lehi Pow-Wow Club in addition to an eloquent speech prepared by the “Youth of the Year” winner. The Club had a wonderful time helping others and celebrating what they are thankful for most!

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Cultural Learning through Drum Making

Several times during the year, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs Boys & Girls Club invites an Elder to the Club to provide cultural learning through drum making. Utilizing a type of grass roots effort, the Club has been striving to strengthen their culture within Club members and their community. They have determined that a great way to do this is to learn how to make drums from an Elder while also learning the teachings that go along with it. The drum making activity reinforces the Aroostook Band of Micmacs culture, as well as instills the skills of cooperation, sharing, problem solving, and respect. The Elder in the group tells a story about the tradition of drum making in their culture while the drum making occurs. Most recently the Club invited Joseph Peter Paul to participate in drum making with Club members. Four drums were made through a combination of adults and peers helping one another. Everyone involved in this activity had a great time and valued the experience!

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Tobacco Free Park

This past summer, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation partnered with the White Earth Tobacco Coalition to make the city park in Mahnomen, MN smoke free. Club members utilize the park on a daily basis, which is located next to the Club. Representatives from the Club met with the Mahnomen City Council several times and educated the council and public on the dangers of second hand smoke. In August, the Mahnomen City Council voted to make the park smoke-free. A sign was placed in the park earlier this fall declaring the park “Tobacco-Free Grounds.” The Mahnomen Unit Club members give a BIG "Thumbs Up" in thanking the city council for their proactive approach to keeping kids safe.

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Google Partnership with a Local Club

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Country has some great friends in their community. When Google decided to expand their data center in Pryor, OK they brought in contractors from all over the country to facilitate this expansion, which takes five to six years. The contractors identify a charity or organization in the local community to assist, and this year they chose the Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Country to be a recipient of their generous support. Mike, Google's safety manager, met with the Clubs' Chief Professional Officer, Rose Craig, to determine how they could best help the sites. She invited Mike to the Club's advisory board meeting, and by the end of the next week he had planned and executed a fundraiser among all the contractors. They shut down operations for two hours, brought in lunch, a dunk tank, and held both a live and silent auction. In that short time they were able to raise over $12,000 for the Clubs. They also provided the main Club with a Google Chrome book so they can work alongside the 6th graders who also received them this year as a school pilot project. Mike is now a member of their Club's advisory board and has been a great asset to Boys & Girls Clubs of Green Country. The Clubs are extremely grateful for this partnership.

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For more information, read about the BGCA Native Services Unit team members and how to contact
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Contact Us

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

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