Celebrating 25 Years of Native Clubs at BGCA National Conference

This May, Native Boys & Girls Clubs celebrated 25 years and were proudly represented at Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2017 National Conference. Located in Dallas, TX, this year’s National Conference hosted a series of engaging sessions, special guests, and exhibitors that included the Native Services Unit (NSU). Participants eagerly explored the exhibit hall and learned more about the exciting initiatives and accomplishments of Native Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. On display at the Native Services booth was the History of Native Clubs Timeline, the 2016 BGCIC Annual Report, and a “How to Start a Boys & Girls Club in Native Lands” packet. Guests were also met with a “Welcome” sign that incorporated greetings from each team member’s language, and a beautiful picture board filled with photos taken at various Native Club sites. Members of the NSU team also brought pieces that represented their culture to be displayed at the booth.

Additionally, guests were invited to participate in a session created just for Native Club professionals. The session focused on promising practices for improving the optimal Club experience, where special guest Dr. Beverly Cotton of Indian Health Service (IHS) spoke on mental and behavioral health. It was also an honor for the NSU team to present the Native Spirit Award to Chad Evans of the Boys & Girls Club of the Leech Lake Area for his devoted leadership. Afterwards, members of the Native Advisory Committee (NAC) joined together to discuss accomplishments, progress, and future goals for Native Clubs. Speaking of accomplishments, Conference guests were also invited to attend the local Texas Rangers game, where Boys & Girls Club of Tahlequah member Lyric Peterson sung the National Anthem.

On the last day’s Morning General Session, the NSU, representatives from Native Clubs and BGCIC partners were invited to join the stage in honor of celebrating 25 years of Native Clubs. All National Conference guests witnessed the Ceremonial MOU Signing with IHS. Learn more about the BGCA IHS MOU here or on IHS's Facebook page. What an incredible way to wrap up the year’s BGCA National Conference and celebrate 25 years of Native Clubs!