World Habitat Day – Reflecting on Our Impact

World Habitat Day is celebrated every year all across the world on the first Monday of October. It is celebrated in many countries including Pakistan, Germany, Hungary, United States, Brazil, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico, China, Kenya, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Senegal, and more. World Habitat Day was first declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December of 1985. Each year since, it takes on a new theme to bring attention to UN-Habitat’s mandate to promote awareness of our joint responsibility to positively shape the world for future generations. Every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.

As part of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ vision to build great character and citizenship, local Clubs have the opportunity to engage youth by reflecting on our environmental impact, especially after the recent hurricanes. Teaching youth they can be good stewards of the Earth is one of the best ways for them to become stakeholders in their communities. Explore what Club members think are harmful to their communities, and allow them to examine how their actions contribute to them. Together, develop a community-wide initiative to bring awareness and preserve the Club and community.


Creating a Judgment Free Generation

The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness month! The purpose of taking to recognize this month as a special initiative is to create awareness, share prevention techniques, and educate communities about the effects of bullying. As rates of suicide continue to rise, it is important to recognize the effects of bullying on our Club kids as well as the community. Staff members are in the optimum position to start prevention practices. Defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involve a real or perceived power imbalance, bullying can come in many forms that include but are not limited to threats, rumors, physical and verbal attacks, and exclusion. As more people become educated on this topic, more people are stepping up and acting out against bullying on a local and national level.

Remember, it is important to honor and respect one another. Bullying behaviors should never be tolerated from anyone. Encourage youth to go to a trusted adult if they or someone they know is being bullied. Bullying can be prevented, especially with the strength of a community behind it. Work with your kids to create a judgment free generation!

Need ideas on how to address bullying with your Club youth? Check out these bullying prevention and Positive Club Climate resources from BGCA:


Beating the Back to School Blues

Fun Activities to Start After School Programs

The end of summer can bring mixed emotions to children and adults alike. It is a time of transition from days of play to days that are scheduled around school, homework, and extracurricular activities. While the school year can be a welcoming relief to some, it can cause stress for others. Back to school doesn’t have to be plagued with the blues! Here are fun ways to get Club kids back into the swing of programming and introduce new faces that may be showing up at the Club.

There’s no sugar coating it, summer is over. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t sweeten up going back to school! Grab a bag of Skittles or M&M’s for some fun at the first few days of after school programs at the Club. Give each participant 5 pieces of candy. Each color will represent a fun fact that the youth can share. You decide the fun fact! Here are some examples: a red candy means that the participant will share something fun they did over summer, an orange candy means that the participant will share their favorite music artist, a blue or purple candy means that the participants will share something the group doesn’t know about them like a hobby they have picked up or a special talent. The options are endless!


Summer Slide Prevention Tips

With summer right around the corner, it is easy to want to put thoughts of academics to the side. It then becomes increasingly difficult to maintain education and physical activity levels because there is no longer a set program to follow. This summer, Clubs and families can improve child well-being by encouraging reading and physical activity!

Summer slide tells us that reading skills in our youth decrease over the summer months. In order to prevent this, try taking youth to the library, letting them choose their own books, and encouraging them to bring books along on road trips and vacations!

Did you know that 62% of children really enjoy reading and say that it is a fun way to pass the time? The more youth are presented with the opportunity to read, the more they can explore their enjoyment of it. Along with the slide in academic skills, physical activity can decrease over the summer as well. This can be prevented with simple structured summer programming which can prevent unhealthy wellness practices in youth. The opportunity that youth have to participate in the Club over the summer can significantly help in the prevention of physical activity loss.

More information on summer slide prevention can be found here!


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!