Self-Love: Taking time to Rejuvenate your Passion for Serving Youth

December is a special time for any youth development professional. Club kids have a level of energy that is indescribable. Staff are diligently creating activities to keep the kids’ busy minds and bodies engaged. It can be exhausting. Before the fatigue of the holiday season sets in, take time for both you and your fellow staff members to take part in self-love to help keep the flame of dedication to serving youth aglow.

Practicing self-love is not always the most natural part of working in a youth based job but it is a critical component. It is a time for us to reinvigorate passion while acknowledging the successes of our work; both big and small. Self-love, or self-care, can be accomplished in many ways! Check out these strategies to pick which works best for you and your organization.

  • Buddy System- Pick a fellow staff member to check-in with regularly. Checking in with your “buddy” is a time to decompress and share positive words! Talking with your designated listener, or buddy, doesn’t always have to be scheduled but it is important to have at least one person that you can have an open line of communication with!

  • Cultivate awareness and compassion- Be aware of your energy levels. Is the energy tank low? Take five minutes in a quite space, without your phone if possible, and recharge. Also, it is completely okay to need five minutes to yourself! You do important work that can have stressors.

Sharing Knowledge about Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands

Taking the time to meet the staff members of your organization’s Native Units is a great way to show support and connect during Native American Heritage Month. This November, we’ve brainstormed a few creative ways your Club can celebrate with staff and youth from Units on Native lands and included them in the flyer for traditional Clubs.

Download this exciting resource to explore several possibilities and ideas to integrate culture into your organization’s programming, and to raise awareness about the importance of preserving tradition. Display this flyer during promotional events, as well as within your organization’s meeting rooms and front desk areas to spread the word and encourage dialogue.

Remember, supporting Native culture does not have to happen once every November. These ideas and resources can easily be utilized all year round to educate and celebrate your community’s heritage!


Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club CEO Chosen as NCAIED’s “40 Under 40”

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) created a “40 under 40” award eight years ago to celebrate Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nation citizens between the ages of 18 and 39 who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication to achieve significant contributions to Native communities throughout North America. One Boys & Girls Club in Native Lands Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be recognized as a winner of this prestigious designation this November. Jessica Cree Jock, of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and CEO of the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club was nominated by members of her community for her significant contributions and dedication to the advancement of Native communities. Cree Jock has been invited to accept the award at the 40th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards Gala (INPRO) held at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, NM. The INPRO Awards Gala is the longest standing and most prestigious Native American recognition event in the nation. Congratulations to Jessica Cree Jock for all of her hard work and this outstanding recognition!


National Director Recognized at NCAI Annual Conference

Congratulations to Carla Knapp, National Director of the Native Services Unit (NSU), as she was recently awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Leadership Award during the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The award, a surprise, was announced to all tribes who attended the conference!

The Chairman’s Leadership Award is presented to individuals who have provided extraordinary service and are true champions for Native communities. The award recognizes Knapp and the NSU team, who were a special guest of Walmart, for their ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of Native youth in all 90 communities we serve!


2016 Regional Learning Events

Over 252 professionals comprised of Club staff, leadership, and board members from a total of 49 Native Boys & Girls Clubs gathered together for five regional cluster trainings throughout the year of 2016. This inaugural set of Learning Events provided opportunities for Club youth development professionals to network with others in their region, and to learn strategies and techniques to better serve the youth in their communities.

By offering a diverse range of sessions, professionals of all backgrounds were able to participate in meaningful learning experiences that were applicable to their daily lives. Participants were able to sustain and respect each community’s unique cultural values, traditions, and ways while building upon the shared vision of the Native Services Unit (NSU) and practicing integral concepts of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) movement. The event offered programmatic and grant administration sessions on topics such as planning for safety, managing federal grants, working with teens, infusing cultural values into programming, dealing with conflict, developing resiliency in youth, and learning effective Club leadership. Through these Regional Learning Events and other initiatives, the Native Youth Services Unit provides support and addresses needs specific to Clubs on Native lands.