Boys & Girls Club of the Seminole Tribe of Florida won Climate Superstars, the online environmental challenge, presented by Samsung and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America through Torch Club. This was a seven-week challenge where chartered Torch Clubs could earn points while completing various environmental tasks, such as planting a tree, visiting a power plant, learning about water management, upcycling, and more. The challenge ran from September 19 until November 6. There were three rounds of prizes awarding Samsung products to top point earners. The grand prize went to the Hollywood Rez Torch Club of Boys & Girls Club of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The reward for being the grand prize winner was a $25,000 technology makeover presented by Samsung and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Climate SuperStars challenge is now in its second year and hopes to continue inspiring youth to be good stewards of the environment and graduate STEM ready.
Hollywood Rez Torch Club was able to earn their grand prize by showcasing their understanding of reusing material for different reasons. These youth created a rocket made from a pasta box to use as a learning tool, and also made a fun snow globe created by sealing an old glass jar filled with water and glitter. Along with their innovative ideas, they were able to visit a public works facility. This gave them the chance to learn about utility installation and maintenance, as well as meet those who have STEM careers. These are the efforts that were awarded several ENERGY STAR certified products, including two 55 inch Ultra High Definition LED Smart TVs, three Virtual Reality devices, thirty Galaxy tablets, one Gear 360 Camera, and thirty notebook computers.
On January 17, 2017, First Nation Boys & Girls Club received a Club Makeover courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Native Services Unit. Before the Clubhouse was redone, it had been about 10 years since the space had seen any major updates. Now the Club has a fresh new look complete with a new paint job, tables, chairs, billiards equipment, 5 new tablets, wall graphics, and even a jukebox!
This honor was presented to Rose Lowry-Townsend, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina because of her continued success in increasing the amount of Native youth her Clubs are serving.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has recently opened up several new Clubs allowing for additional services provided to Native youth within areas that were not yet being reached by existing Clubs. When given this opportunity, Rose saw the immediate need at her First Nation Boys & Girls Club. Unit Director Tangelina Jarry and First Nation Boys & Girls Club were set to use these donations to give their space a complete makeover.
The On the T.R.A.I.L. to Diabetes Prevention program is well on its way in its fifth year of implementation in Native Boys & Girls Clubs across the county and everyone is eager to start off this grant year off on the right foot! Infusing culture and traditional lifestyles has been a top priority for Clubs implementing T.R.A.I.L., especially when it comes to physical activity portions of the program’s curriculum. At the Boys & Girls Club of Darlington in El Reno, Oklahoma, traditional Native dancers volunteered to teach youth several dances in conjunction with their physical activity requirements. Once participants learned each dance, the Club hosted a Pow-Wow and invited staff from their local public schools to enjoy the performances! Woodland Boys & Girls Club in Neopit, Wisconsin, has also found harmony in combining physical activity and local culture. Traditional Menominee games such as lacrosse and Snow Snake (a traditional winter team sport that involves throwing carved poles, or “snakes,” through snow troughs as far as possible to win points) are being incorporated into the curriculum. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley in Mesa, Arizona will also be teaching and hosting traditional Native games as part of their T.R.A.I.L. program. Examples will include toka, a traditional women’s game that is similar to hockey, and a male equivalent called songivu'l, which more closely resembles soccer. Healthy food choices have also been a focal point for the Clubs.
If you are a NAClubs.org veteran, you know that we like to share the successes of programs, staff members, and Club kids from Boys & Girls Clubs in Native Lands. If you are new, you will quickly find that recognizing and celebrating successes of Clubs is very important to us. This year has seen a wide array of triumphs from Native Boys & Girls Clubs from coast to coast in a multitude of areas. Community and culture has coincidentally been a common theme across the Spotlights shared.
Cultivating culture for future generations has been on the forefront for many Clubs and Chief Executive Officers. Physical activity and culture has been one way Clubs have been able to actively engage youth in connecting with their culture. Hoop dancing, for example, was an exciting way that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale incorporated culture into programming. Hoop dance is one form of visual storytelling that can be done recreationally and even competitively. It has been an outlet for 20 youth from the Lehi Branch to connect with their family and culture. Are you interested in learning more about hoop dancing? Check out how the Woodland Boys & Girls Club has integrated traditional dancing and singing to connect to culture. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud also found ways to connect their youth with their Lakota culture by getting Club kids outside and moving. In Mission, SD, eight Club kids from the Club’s Hiking Club were invited to hike in the Welcome Back the Thunders ceremony which takes place in the sacred Black Hills. Elders, community members, and Club kids alike participated in the hike and sat down for a meal together to complete the ceremony.
This holiday season, ten youth at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota had an exciting chance to work with Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) to host and perform their third puppet show. HOBT is a local non-profit that works with community organizations that serve youth, and they have been in partnership with Little Earth for a number of years. Youth were able to pick the story, music, and even create their own puppets for the performance. HOBT picked the theme, which for this year centered on staff members who work at their local community centers, including Little Earth. Youth created shadow puppets of Program Director Ashlee Jallen herself, as well as the Director of the Youth Development Center. Puppets at HOBT are typically made of paper-mache, and are accessorized with paint, clothing, and/or other decorations to produce a finished character. According to Jallen, youth who participated were incredibly excited to get up on stage and perform with their creations even though normally, they are a shy bunch. At the end of the show, they all got to have a dance party with their puppets, jamming along to popular songs.
Not only has HOBT been creating original productions and performing for various communities since its founding in 1973, but they have also been the producers of the annual Mayday Parade & Festival in the East Phillips community of Minneapolis. Every spring on the first Sunday of May, youth at the Little Earth Extension get to participate in the community-wide event, inviting friends and family to watch. According to HOBT, the parade has been setting the example for art as community building for 43 years. On average, more than 50,000 spectators and participants come to celebrate at the festival. Since it occurs each spring, youth at Little Earth will prepare for it during the fall and winter months after their puppet performances. Often times though, it is stilt-making and learning how to walk on them that brings in the most participation! Ms. Jallen states, “Heart of the Beast is a great community partner to have! They always bring great ideas to the table and a new energy to our organization. I’m glad we are located so close to the theater and the opportunity to participate in such awesome events.” Come springtime, youth at Little Earth will be ready to go for the parade that will be held in May 2017!