Monthly Archives: October 2015

Skagit County Clubs Honored at Conference

Jim Clark, President/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Stephanie Hooper, Board President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County; Annette Booth, Board Past-President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County; Taylor Bannister, Anacortes Club Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County

Jim Clark, President/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Stephanie Hooper, Board President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County; Annette Booth, Board Past-President, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County; Taylor Bannister, Anacortes Club Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County

It was a brief two days for Boys & Girls Club staff and board members at the Pacific Leadership Conference in Long Beach, CA, however, two surprise awards made it quite the adventure. 

It is no secret that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County has been making waves in the most positive terms, especially when it comes to increasing impact in the community. Thursday morning, at an opening session attended by nearly 600 of their peers, Club leadership was honored to receive a “Gateway to Impact Award” from Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The award is bestowed on a Club organization demonstrating significant growth in the number of youth served in their Clubhouses each day. Compared to near-static numbers for the Pacific Region – consisting of nine western states and Guam – Boys & Girls Clubs in Skagit County have grown more than 26% over the last year, and that trend has continued into the fall, making it likely that the young organization will be honored again next year.

Also receiving kudos was Club CEO/Executive Director, Ron McHenry. The recipient of the “Sparkplug Award”, in recognition of ‘exception determination, leadership, tenacity, and spark’, McHenry was feted in front of his peers and mentors at the gala event held at the Long Beach Aquarium Thursday night, October 1st. The “Sparkplug Award” is one of just two individual awards at the closing dinner, and is annually bestowed upon a Boys & Girls Club CEO new in their career. The “Horizon Award” is designated to an individual who has made a contribution in their profession and is nearing the end of their career.

Making it just that much more special was that Stephanie Hooper, current Board President, and Annette Booth, immediate Board Past-President, made the long journey south at their own expense, having been alerted by Boys & Girls Clubs of America staff as to the surprise announcement. Lloyd Tolle, a mentor of McHenry’s since he joined the Club movement in 2004, made the introduction, and another of his mentor’s – Angela Ware, Senior Vice President for the Pacific Region, joined in the presentation.

“I am completely overwhelmed by this recognition, and while I am honored by it, I am not alone in earning it,” says McHenry. “My staff team, who works continuously to better our programs and initiatives in the best interest of youth, our Board and volunteers who work hard on our behalf, and the Skagit community which has shown such amazing generosity through their investments in ensuring that we can fulfill our mission – this is for everyone.”

2015 continues to be a banner year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, and the theme of their upcoming Gala, “We Are The Champions” appears to be just that much more fitting given this news. 

 

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Tesoro Corporation Jumpstarts STEM Initiatives for Youth

Sedro-Woolley Club Members, Anthony Sylvester and Jazzelle Elias identify insects through a microscope.

Sedro-Woolley Club Members, Anthony Sylvester and Jazzelle Elias identify insects through a microscope.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County are elevating their program offerings for youth, especially those in Middle and High School, thanks to a major investment by the Tesoro Foundation. Recognizing the significant need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education programs during out-of-school time, the Boys & Girls Club worked with Tesoro to initially secure $50,000 toward strategic growth in providing STEM to Club members in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. However, over the course of the summer, conversations continued until Ron McHenry, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club received a call that would inspire a dream to become reality. “Jared Skok, the Executive Director of the Tesoro Foundation, simply asked what I really wanted to do in our Clubs with STEM,” says McHenry. That dialogue resulted in a three-year, $390,000 commitment by the Tesoro Foundation. The funding, beyond providing equipment and operational resources, will allow for the addition of a full-time staff member who will be tasked with creating engaging STEM activities and programs, providing training and coaching to Club staff who will implement directly with youth, recruit industry volunteers to work directly with Club members and serve as mentors, and work to bring the new initiative beyond the walls of the four Clubhouses in Skagit County.

This new venture aligns with the strategic vision cast by the Board of Directors of the Clubs during a retreat last winter. “We are quite excited about the possibilities for the hundreds of kids our Clubs serve every day, and what this investment means for their future Academic Success,” stated Stephanie Hooper, President of the Boys & Girls Club Board. The organization’s leadership looks to this as an opportunity to build capacity that can positively impact other organization’s that serve youth as well. “It is our intention to build new collaborative partnerships and be a wheelhouse of service for youth-serving agencies and the community,” said McHenry. “Our focus will be real-life application of skills, with special attention to projects involving conservation and land stewardship, especially through service-learning opportunities for teen members.” It is the hope of the Boys & Girls Club that they accomplish two important things through this new effort: Career preparedness which can help attract more 21st Century employers to the area and satisfy the needs of businesses already in Skagit County, and; reinforce local values centering around sustainable growth practices and support, and caring, for the beautiful spaces that makes the area so wonderful to live in.

For more information on the new STEM Initiatives, the Boys & Girls Club can be reached at 360-491-3723.

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Perdue Foundation & Draper Valley Farms provides Healthy Lifestyles funding for Clubs

PerdueDraperCheckPresentation_small
As part of its commitment to enrich the lives of children in the community, Draper Valley Farms has awarded a $10,000 grant to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County provide at risk children a foundation for achieving healthy lifestyles.
 
Through its Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the Draper Valley grant will fund the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County programs, with special focus on Healthy Lifestyles. The Healthy Lifestyles initiative — one of three Priority Outcomes at the Club — engages youth in constructive learning activities that stress the importance of healthy eating, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing self-control when making food choices and decisions, and the importance of pursuing and maintaining habits that are constructive. The other Priority Outcomes programs focus on Academic Success and Good Character & Citizenship.
 
“As we are serving at capacity (averaging 110 kids per day), we see an incredible demand in Mount Vernon for positive, structured programming after-school and during the summer, and we deliver the best programs, with incredible results,” said Angela Freeberg, Club Director in Mount Vernon. “Partnering with Draper Valley, and our other community supporters, we are able to bring that impact to the kids who need us.”
 
“The Healthy Lifestyles and Healthy Habits programs are fun and exciting ways to engage children in bettering their wellbeing and their future,” said Mark Knight, director of operations at Draper Valley Farms. “We are proud to support these efforts in Skagit County, which benefit so many, including the children of many of our associates.”
 
Director Ron McHenry explains, “With the support of Draper Valley Farms, there is a great opportunity to continue teaching our youth about what goes into their food, what is involved in local farming, and what impact a great local business is able to have on the community.” “Going beyond the short chats about eating a balanced diet, this type of support from Draper Valley enables us to talk forcefully about why our priority outcomes programs matter in the lives of our youth, and in our community,” said McHenry. “Healthy Lifestyles ultimately deals with choices and commitments, and what those choices can help us accomplish. When we ask our kids what it means to commit to health, they come to understand that the question is much more than just a discussion of food. As we center each of our Club activities to be fun and engaging, but also formative, in terms of their character, skills, and appreciation of the world around them, we establish the focus on how all three outcomes are united, and can lead to incredible results.”
 
Operating after-school each day, all four Clubs located in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro Woolley, are seeing incredible numbers since the start of the school year, according to McHenry. 
 
The support from Draper Valley & Perdue is a great example of how the partnership between local businesses and the Clubs serve the youth, create the opportunity for collaboration, and enable much greater discussion about the different jobs, skills, and demands there are throughout the community.
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Youth of the Month – October 2015

Jamel D., age 8

Jamel has been a member in since 2013 and attends Mt. Erie Elementary. Jamel participates in everything at the club. Whether it is Power Hour, Art Room, Triple Play, or any other activity, he is there. Jamel always has a positive attitude and is constantly encouraging other members.

 
Jamel

Jamel

     

Ella C., age 8

Ella attends Fidalgo Elementary and has been a Club member since 2013. She is a Power Hour master, always getting her homework done and then getting some reading done. Ella is extremely gifted and is becoming quite the talented artist.

 
Ella

Ella

     

Sierra O., age 15

Sierra attends Anacortes High School and has been a member since 2013. Sierra is a lively presence in the club and is always engaged in club activities. She models Boys & Girls Club values wherever she goes, whether it is in her academic success, positivity, or leadership with friends.

 
Sierra

Sierra

 

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Youth of the Month – September 2015

Alexa H., age 8

Alexa attends Jefferson Elementary and became a Club member back in May of 2015. She loves to participate in our SMART Gamesroom program, and brings a smile and a high level of positive energy to the Club.

   
Alexa H., age 8

Alexa

     

Noah W., age 11

Noah attends Jefferson Elementary and joined the Club as a member last summer. Noah has shown an incredible degree of sportsmanship and compassion for his fellow members while participating in our Triple Play programs. 

 
Nathan

Noah

     
     
     
     
     
     
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