Martin Sensmeier Meets with Senator Murkowski

Alaskan native actor, model and youth advocate Martin Sensmeier met with Senator Murkowski while visiting Washington, DC area. He was on Capitol Hill advocating for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Together with Denzel Washington Martin also attended the Boys & Girls Club of America Youth of the Year Gala where the National Youth of Year winner was announced. Congratulations to winner Whitney S. of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County!

Martin Sensmeier (Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan) recently joined the all-star ensemble cast of the remake of The Magnificent Seven. Martin plays Red Harvest, a featured role in the mainstream, big-budget movie featuring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke. The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, the director of another Denzel classic Training Day. The film is scheduled to be released in 2017. 


Boys & Girls Club of Darlington Using Strategy to Retain Teens

At the Boys & Girls Club of Darlington, CEO Pam Silk has created an uncommon solution to the all-too-common challenge of engaging pre-teens and teens in Club programs. Silk says she looked around and saw older youth present but not necessarily engaged in Club activities. In an effort to hear what might interest her Club members, Silk created a survey featuring fifteen new activity options. All 7th and 8th grade Club members were asked to rank the activities offered using a scale ranging from “very interested” to “will not attend”. Silk was careful only to offer realistic, inexpensive options that would be possible to implement.

The results of the survey were surprising. The most popular option was a creative writing workshop, followed closely by archery lessons, then cooking club! “All of these are do-able”, says Silk, “And we plan to get started right away.” Silk hopes the new programming will still allow her older Club members time to “hang out and talk”, but will also engage and inspire them in new ways. We can’t wait to check back in soon to hear how this retention strategy works out!


Resources for Mentoring Success

Whether you are well acquainted with mentoring best practices or you are new to this type of programming, it is beneficial to know where resources are located to enhance program implementation in your Club. Check out these three resources to find what new information can be incorporated into your OJP Mentoring program today.

Are you looking for documentation specific to your OJP Mentoring grant or more information about available evidence based programming? is home to administrative, financial, and programmatic requirements that are explicitly for OJP Mentoring grant implementation. In addition to grant specific documentation, there are guides available for various Boys & Girls Clubs of America designed programs that are evidence based that can be implemented along with mentoring.


Walmart Donates $250,000 to BGCA to Support Healthy Habits Programs for Native Club Members

The Walmart Foundation announced today a donation of $250,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The donation will be used to provide Healthy Habits, BGCA’s outcome-driven nutrition education program, to more Native kids and teens.

Most U.S. youth do not meet the recommended health guidelines, which is especially true for American Indian and Alaska Native youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 31.2 percent of 4 year olds in these populations are obese and diabetes rates for these groups are 177 percent higher than the general population.

“We want to ensure that more people have access to the foods they want and need, and our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country will help an often underserved population learn ways to eat healthier,” said Angela Collier, Sr. Manager, Walmart Foundation. “We are proud to work with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help Native kids and teens live a healthier lifestyle and make smarter choices.”

Boys & Girls Clubs are in a unique position to provide nutritional education for Native kids and teens. Clubs serve approximately 82,000 Native youth in 24 states, representing some 90 different American Indian, Alaska Native and Hawaiian tribal communities through nearly 179 Clubs.

Through this partnership 16 Clubs in Indian Country will be trained to deliver nutrition education that will equip Native children and teens with skills and information they need to eat healthy. Youth at these Clubs will learn about basic cooking techniques, smart food shopping, working around resource constraints and using resources from the local community to create healthy meals for themselves and their families. Healthy Habits is part of BGCA’s award-winning Triple Play program.


National Director of Native Services Unit Testifies on Behalf of Tribal Juvenile Justice

Carla Knapp, National Director of the Native Services Unit for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, testified in Washington D.C. before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in support of legislative fixes and funding changes to clarify tribal authority involvement regarding juvenile justice. In a testimony adamantly maintaining that incarcerating Native American juveniles does more harm than good, Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming praised Carla’s work as National Director. In her testimony, Carla emphasized the importance of preventive intervention facilities and programs that the Boys & Girls Clubs can offer. Stating that in an informal survey of former members, 57% said that the Clubs saved their lives, and they meant this literally, Carla’s testimony put a spotlight on the impact facilities like Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of at risk youth.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America has 171 sites established across the country serving Indian country with efforts in place to expand to 200 sites.

For more details on the full testimony, read the press release here.