Korean Culture Exchange with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Leech Lake Area - Eagleview Unit

Every year during the first week in August, Club members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Leech Lake Area - Eagleview Unit welcome guests from New York who are part of a Korean/Ojibwe cultural exchange. While these visitors currently live in New York, they are originally from Korea and visit the Club to spend time with the youth from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation.

The week was full of activities for the guests and youth to share and learn! There were planned group recreation games such as kickball, basketball, tag, or volleyball. Club members sampled Korean dishes such as squid, fish, noodles, and rice and arts and crafts projects included nail and face painting, as well as creating bracelets, necklaces, and dream catchers.


Club Alumni, Natasha Mathison: Remembering Her Roots

Natasha Mathison, an alumnus of the Boys & Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles, is a perfect example of what it means to be a leader. She is a Retail Marketing and Management major at the University of Wisconsin – Stout, and hopes to work at the headquarters of a major retail company someday. In addition to her studies, Natasha was elected president of the Native American Student Organization (NASO) at the university. During her time serving on the NASO, she has helped to plan many events, including a canoe trip, a cultural arts and crafts workshop, a powwow demonstration, and an event at which Native American author, Winona LaDuke, was a guest speaker.

Natasha attributes much of her success to her experience at the Club, stating, “[The Club] definitely helped me to stay out of trouble and gave me a positive outlook on life. It helped me figure out where I wanted to go in life. If it wasn’t for the Club, I…would’ve started hanging out with the wrong group of people. I may have moved in a completely different direction.” Her fondest memories at the Club stem from her time in Images, a leadership development program for teenage girls. As a member of Images, Natasha had the opportunity to New Jersey, South Carolina, and New York City.


Brianna Shepherd: Regional Youth of the Year

Boys & Girls Clubs of Indian Country extends a special congratulation to the Southwest Regional Military Youth of the Year, Brianna Shepherd (Navajo). In addition to being a member of the Holloman Air Force Base Youth Activities Center in New Mexico, Brianna was also an honor roll student, avid volunteer, and Keystone Club leader throughout high school. A daughter of an Air Force master sergeant, Brianna’s family moved throughout her childhood, but the one place Brianna could consistently go to find immediate friends and caring adults was the Boys & Girls Club.

“The Club has been in my life since I was in the fourth grade,” she said. “Over these past seven years, I have grown to love all that it stands for. It has played a big part in my experiences as a child and young adult. The Club is one of the few things that have always been here for me through some of the best and worst times. It has helped me through multiple military moves, provided me with friends, assisted me in becoming more involved in my community, and bestowed upon me some of the best experiences and opportunities.”


Native Club Wins Alaska Club of the Year

In a small village of about 800 people on Prince Wales Island in Alaska, you will find the Boys & Girls Club of Klawock. Most of the island’s people are of Tlingit Haida descent. And although the Club is located in a small community, they are doing big things; including winning this year’s prestigious Alaska Club of the Year Award!

The Club is very active in the Klawock community, and this year they hosted and participated in a variety of activities for youth; including hosting the 14th Annual Prince of Wales Island International Marathon and Half Marathon, a basketball camp, sleepovers, pool days, various sports, concerts, spelling bees, and science fairs. Basketball is a favorite among youth at the Klawock Club; the high school’s basketball team won the state championship this year! A highlight for fans of basketball was when Prince of Wales Island Alaska Native Damen Bell-Holter, player for the NBA Boston Celtics, was a guest speaker at the Club.


Penobscot Boys & Girls Club Leader Receives Maytag Award

For the past three years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and one of their partners, Maytag, has been honoring dependable leaders throughout the BGCA movement with the Maytag Dependable Leader Award. Recipients of the award are given a $20,000 check for their Club, as well as a plaque. This year, one of Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country’s (BGCIC) greatest leaders, Carla Knapp of the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club (PBGC), received the award.

Carla, an enrolled member of the Penobscot Nation, served as Chief Professional Officer (CPO) of the PBGC for 13 years. During her tenure as CPO, Carla brought the Club from being a unit with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Waterville to its own organization, and later took on other units on Native lands in Maine. In 2013, she was promoted to serve with BGCA’s Native American Service Unit to assist other Clubs on Native lands across the country.

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