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!
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.
This February, the 2017 National Mentoring Summit was convened by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership in Washington D.C., and hosted panels and workshops that discussed key topics in the mentoring field. One session of particular importance, “Positive Practices in Mentoring Native Youth,” was hosted by Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Native Services Unit (NSU) and discussed mentoring in Native Lands. Carla Knapp, National Director of Native Services, along with Directors of Organizational Development Tim Reiplinger, Anna Calkins, and Kelly Concho-Hayes served as presenters for this interactive session.
The session gave participants an overview of BGCA’s Native Mentoring Program, shared Native Adaptations of BGCA programs, best practices, and lessons learned while mentoring Native youth. Panelists included Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Glen Marshall, Boys & Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles CEO Heather Peterson, Boys & Girls Club of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation CEO Nathan Hale, and Pueblo of Pojoaque Boys & Girls Club CEO Andrea Garcia. Each of these leaders shared their mentoring experiences and best practices at their respective Clubs, and how each experience positively impacted their mentees and mentors. Several best practices surrounding mentor recruitment, sustainability, and cultural relevancy were discussed during the panel and open Q&A.
What is a VISTA?
An AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) is a volunteer that serves a 1- year term of service while focusing on capacity building for an organization, not direct service. VISTA members receive benefits including a living allowance, health and dental coverage, training, and the choice of a Segal Education Award or end-of-service stipend. Members are local or national recruits and many are between 18-24 years old, although the program also attracts older adults as well. The value of a VISTA member is estimated to be $23.56/hour, which is $46,904 a year at no cost to the organization they are placed at.
What can they do for your Club?
An AmeriCorps VISTA is great for Boys & Girls Clubs because they can accomplish a wide range of tasks. They can secure resources to start a gardening program that Club staff will implement to teach members about healthy living and eating, work on grant writing to bring more funds in to the Club, and can work on community outreach and public relations to spread the influence of the Club. The VISTA member’s job is to build the capacity of your Club so that more youth can be reached through new and improved programs.
When seeking support from local/national stakeholders and the federal government, it is critical to have the most up to date research and facts that demonstrate your organization’s efforts benefit youth in measurable ways. This past January, Boys & Girls Clubs of America released an updated, streamlined Frequently Cited Statistics (FCS), as well as a guide for finding similar state and local statistics that can be used when making a case for your organization. For information on how your Club can effectively use FCS, continue reading below!
What is FCS?
FCS is a resource designed to help your organization communicate the need for Boys & Girls Clubs locally and nationally. These statistics have each been thoroughly researched and updated from reliable resources that include the U.S. Census, MetroTrends, City-Data.com, U.S. Department of Education (ED) Data Express, among others. Information from these sources have also been used in BGCA promotional collateral publications, funding proposals and other communication materials, so your organization can rest assured that everything is up to date and reliable.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina recently received donations from Under Armour! Under Armour sent a generous amount of athletic apparel including shirts, shoes, pants, and more for the youth to enjoy. When seeing the pile of Under Armour packages, the youth were thrilled and could not wait to see what was inside. As different items were handed out and youth were able to take the apparel they were given home with them, the gratitude they and their parents felt was apparent. Donations like these will encourage the youth to stay active and healthy in their new apparel. The youth at the Club expressed how thankful they were for their new Under Armour apparel.
Pictured here are some of the youth of First Nation Boys & Girls Club receiving their gifts from Under Armour with grateful attitudes and smiles!