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November 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA Member Application is Open!

If you would like to build the capacity of your Club and create and improve programs to better serve more youth in your community then an AmeriCorps VISTA member could be a fantastic addition to your Club! AmeriCorps VISTA members (Volunteers in service to America) serve a term of 1-year and the value of a VISTA member in 2015 was estimated to be $23.56/hour and for 40 hours a week that’s $49,004 a year at no cost to your Club!

The Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project has been helping Boys & Girls Clubs all over the country to implement cultural programs, recruit additional staff, increase their positive impact on the community, and build strategic relationships with businesses since 1994.

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Reconnecting to Nature, Not Wi-Fi

As adults, we are too often “plugged in”. At any point in the day you can find us at a computer to finish a grant application, or on the phone advocating for a Club kid who has shown great improvement in academics in an after school setting. That also doesn’t account for checking emails while helping prepare materials for the community dinner, or sitting in front of a screen to learn how to implement a new program. If we unplug, we will notice that our Club kids are just as plugged in, if not more, because it has become their norm.

Green spaces and activities outdoors have been found to have a positive impact on youth who are suffering from disorders such as depression, anxiety, obesity, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Inspired by the Wild Network and their collection of outdoor activities known as Wild Time, we have created five relevant ways to get your Club kids outside and engaged in the wonderful wild around them! They are as follows;

  1. Habitat Hunters- The television show House Hunters meets the great outdoors. Form groups of youth and send them on a hunt to find habitats of indigenous insects or animals. They could draw, photograph, or use written word to describe what they found. Want to extend the activity? Have the groups write a story about one of the habitats or present what they found to the group.
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Reading for Fun: Celebrating Dr. Seuss's Birthday

Every year, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss by highlighting reading all across the country. To participate in the celebration, schools, libraries, and community centers are bringing children together to read, with the goal of encouraging them to continue reading throughout the year. This day is about developing reading skills and interest in reading among children while having fun. Schools and community centers are using the entire month of March to participate in different reading activities to promote the many benefits of reading. You can find ideas for planning your activities, as well as material resources you can use!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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Sharing Laughs and Spreading Hope with Red Noses

A few years ago, the Red Nose Day Initiative was featured on our Home Page with no idea how the movement would eventually help share the stories of Native Boys & Girls Clubs. Well, it is now 2017 and red noses are still not only for clowns and birthday parties. While they symbolize fun and entertainment, they continue to take on a bigger meaning worldwide through the Red Nose Day campaign lead by an organization known as Comic Relief.

The Red Nose Day Campaign wants to bring awareness to the fact that over 1 billion kids live in poverty, and through awareness, relief to the youth living without every day necessities. Each year the Campaign donates to non-profit organizations to help further their impact. In 2015 and 2016, proceeds from Red Nose Day were used to build capacity and support increases in average daily attendance in Native Clubs.

Before the iconic red noses hit stores and celebrities take the stage for the Red Nose Day Special on NBC, the Campaign wants to challenge youth to get involved to inspire others. Youth have the unique power to motivate others to take action in their own communities for real impact. The Red Nose Day Challenge invites school aged youth to take a pledge and make a video about why it is important to help end poverty for children and how they plan to make a difference. This is a great opportunity for Boys & Girls Clubs, in collaboration with their local school, to showcase their passion for making futures bright.

With the momentum of the Red Nose Day growing greater with each year, it is a great time to get involved if your community has not already!

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From Mindset Monday to Feel Good Friday

February is a time of pink flowers, candy hearts, paper Valentine’s, and love! However, it is also a time when the “winter blues” can still set heavy in the heart. Spread cheer, and all around “good vibes,” throughout your Club to let staff and Club members know that they are loved. You don’t need extra funding or staff. A white board or community cork board with extra space will do.

Each day of the week pick a theme, post it on the white board/cork board of choice, and have those coming in and out of the Club respond to the theme of the day. The theme could be silly. It might be a chance to practice reflection. It might also be an opportunity to shower a friend in kind words. Here are a few examples of themes that have been used in a classroom setting with success!

Mindset Monday

Set the tone of the week by posting an encouraging quote. Another option is to pose a question that will get the Club kids thinking about how to change a negative thought to a positive. An example? “What can we do instead of saying ‘I can’t’ when faced with a challenge?” The Club kids can then write their answer on a Post It note and stick it to the board.