Monthly Archives: February 2016

Club kids receive new backpacks to start 2nd Semester


Youth all over Skagit County are now better equipped to finish the school year strong thanks to an investment from the Argus Fund. With the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County facilitating the effort, 450 backpacks were distributed at six locations throughout the community. It’s not just that the kids received backpacks that made the day special though, they were filled with much needed supplies youth need for regular homework endeavors. 

“Hey, that’s the kind of paper I need for school,” exclaimed Remmy, a second-grader from Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Vernon. His words were exactly what organizers hoped to hear.

Heather Hernandez, Publisher from Skagit Publishing, was on-hand representing the Argus Fund and helped to distribute the backpacks with Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County CEO Ron McHenry. “When Heather and I first sat to talk about ways we could impact individual youth and bring the most amount of normalcy to their lives, this idea organically came about, and to see it to fruition is a wonderful thing,” says McHenry. 

With their academic tools secure in their new backpacks, kids all over have the opportunity to finish the school year strong, and be one more step better prepared for their future success.

View more photos here.

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Youth of the Month – February 2016

Matthew Maciel, Age 9

Matthew is a 4th grader attending Jefferson elementary. Since joining in November he has really started to immerse himself when he’s at the club. Matthew is a kid that like to have fun and help others as well. If you were to walk into the club you would probably see matthew playing bumper pool or maybe an outside activity like Shark Shark Attack



Lily McDermott, age 8

Lily is a 2nd grader at Washington Elementary. She started at our club this past summer, it was quite a change, one that you can tell when you see her. Lily loves to check out legos and round up a group of 3 other girls and just play house with her.



Homework All-Star

Aisha Castillo, age 9

Aisha is a 4th grader from Jefferson Elementary. She has really made a spot at the club within a short time from her first days in December. Aisha loves to attend Power Hour in the Learning Center, I think she likes to have her homework done first in order to enjoy her time at the club.



Artist of the Month

Shecid Garcia, Age 11

Shecid is a 5th Grader at Jefferson Elementary. She is a newer member joining our club in December of last year. Shecid has a nack for adjusting our art project and making it her own.



Triple Play MVP  (Sportsmanship Award)

Angel Juarez, age 9

Angel attends Centennial Elementary. He Started this school year, and he like to engage not only with kids but actively checks in with staff at times. Angel is very competitive, you can see him go inside and trying new games when anounced then going back with out distracting others.



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Clubs Celebrate MLK Day with a visit to the Capitol

Left to right: Alan Ruiz, Sam Griggs, Alexis Aguilar, Braulio Ramirez, Alexis Vasquez-Mendoza, Cian Marsden, Gustavo Gonzalez, and Selena Arellano

Left to right: Alan Ruiz, Sam Griggs, Alexis Aguilar, Braulio Ramirez, Alexis Vasquez-Mendoza, Cian Marsden, Gustavo Gonzalez, and Selena Arellano

During Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, on January 18th Club members from the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club’s 21st Century sites at LaVenture and Mount Baker Middle School joined other Washington State Clubs at the Capital in Olympia for MLK Day on the Hill.

The day began when Lt. Governor Owen presented Governor Inslee’s Proclamation in honor of  National Mentoring Month, which serves as reminder and call to unite and empower our youth, raise public awareness of the importance of mentoring, and recognize those who have impacted our youth across the state. 

Club members then toured the Legislative Building, participated in a scavenger hunter, and finished their day meeting their local representatives. Club members shared how their Club and Club Staff have impacted them, and at times voiced the community and global causes that interest them.

Attending Club members left with new knowledge and better understanding of the work their representatives do, and a glimpse of the work that occurs at the State Capitol.  Altogether 7 Clubs, 64 youth and staff attended for the day.

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Ross Helps Youth of the Year Dress for Success

left to right front row: Liza Reed, Jazzelle Elias (2015 Skagit County Youth of the Year) back: Stephanie Benson, DeAnna Isaacs, Patrick Dougher (Sedro-Woolley Club Teen Coordinator), Emma Mesman (Jazzelle’s Friend)

left to right front row: Liza Reed, Jazzelle Elias (2015 Skagit County Youth of the Year)
back: Stephanie Benson, DeAnna Isaacs, Patrick Dougher (Sedro-Woolley Club Teen Coordinator), Emma Mesman (Jazzelle’s Friend)

On Tuesday, February 9th, the 2015 Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County Youth of the Year, Jazzelle Elias was treated to a shopping spree at the local Ross Store in Burlington, made possible by the Kevin Oliver Memorial Leadership Award. Part of Jazzelle’s upcoming journey as the County’s representative will include attending the Washington State Youth of the Year event in March, where other candidates from the state will come together in hopes for the State Youth of the Year title. 

Most of Jazzelle’s preparation for that day will involve practicing her speeches and honing her interview skills, but on the day of the event it will also be important to look her professional best. When it came to the question of where to shop it was decided to seek the advice of the well-versed fashionistas at the local Ross store.

Currently Ross stores across the nation are in the midst of a fundraising campaign in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, by inviting their customers to donate money at the register. Last year the Burlington Ross store generated over $4.2k for the Skagit County Clubs, generating far more funds than other stores of their same size and population base. This year they hope to go beyond that number and are really pushing each other to make the extra effort. The Ross employees at the Burlington store expressed how much they appreciate the challenge of raising funds for the Clubs and that it does much to boost employee moral. “We love that we get to do something important for the community” said Ross employee, Stephanie Benson. The campaign will last until February 27th, with funds raised focused on Power Hour, which provides after-school homework help at the Clubs.

The Kevin Oliver Memorial Leadership Award was established in 2014 to help recognize one youth each year who demonstrates the virtues of courage, perseverance, and humility, as exemplified in good character & leadership. This annual award, dedicated to the memory of Kevin Oliver, son of Terry & Vince Oliver. This year’s award was granted to Skagit County Youth of the Year, Jazzelle Elias, as a way of enabling her participation in the State Youth of the Year program, and providing the opportunity for continued growth & maturation.

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Mount Vernon Professional Firefighters Provide to Members


The Mount Vernon Professional Fire Fighters, a local chapter of the IFFA, recently visited the Mount Vernon Club on January 11th, to bring new warm coats to Club members and give tours of their fire trucks. This is the second year in a row that the Firefighters were able to provide coats for kids in need. 

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) joined Operation Warm a few years ago. Operation Warm’s mission is two-fold, provide warm coats to kids in need and provide Union jobs to worker’s in the U.S. to make the coats. Since their inception, Operation Warm has brought over 200 textile manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S.. The jobs created pay a livable wage, not minimum wage, and every year the numbers of coats and kids serviced increases.

Last Fall the local Firefighter chapter put on a Pub Crawl in downtown Mount Vernon to raise funds for the coats. They had over 150 participants with 100% of the proceeds donated. Burlington Professional Firefighters and Skagit County Professional Paramedics also raised money.

After Club members received their new coats, Firefighters treated each kid to a view from the driver’s seat, explaining all of the important screens, switches, levers, and buttons that are just a small part of their job every day. Compartments were opened and lots of eager questions were answered. Probably most asked, “Do you get to ride on the outside of the Firetruck” and “Do you slide down a pole when the alarm sounds?” The days of riding on the outside of a truck are long over but some long-time firefighters remember sliding down a pole. 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County would like to thank the Mount Vernon Professional Fire Fighters and all of the organizations and community members that participated in getting these warm, well-made coats to our Club Members. 

All of our photos from the event are on our Flickr Album.

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Youth of the Month – February 2016

Joshua F., age 9

Joshua has been a member since 2015 and attends Fidalgo Elementary. He is an incredibly active Club member participating in Triple Play, Healthy Habits, and other activities. Joshua shows remarkable sportsmanship in everything he does and always has a positive attitude. 




Gabby O., age 9

Gabby attends Fidalgo Elementary and has been a Club member since 2015. She is diligent helper around the club, always eager to volunteer her time helping staff and other members. Gabby spends much of her time in the art room as well as in Power Hour doing her homework.




Geoffrey H., age 14

Geoffrey attends Anacortes Middle School and has been a longtime club member, attending since 2008. Geoffrey shows great leadership and initiative, recently speaking at a county-wide event our organization held. He is a constant presence in the teen center and always has a smile on his face.



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Crowning a New Youth of the Year

It’s a new year, and with it comes a new Youth of the Year. After several months of preparation, it came down to two young ladies who each had a story about how the Club had positively impacted their life. Jazzelle Elias, a freshman from Sedro-Woolley, and Claire Severin, a senior from Anacortes were our finalists for the 2015 Youth of the Year program. Together, they spoke in front of an overflow crowd at the Eaglemont Golf Club in late January. They were just two of the youth speakers that kept our guests and stakeholders fascinated from beginning to end about how truly marvelous our kids are.

Mr. Justice Lively, our 2014 Youth of the Year, and 2015 Washington State Youth of the Year, was on-hand to celebrate and pass the torch to the next young person selected to represent Skagit County at the state program in March. Justice, as our first State Youth of the Year, will always hold a special place in everyone’s hearts, and his words were well received by all present. With his trademark smile beaming in full force, Mr. Lively provided us an update as to his progress academically, and how he was fully on track with his career preparation goals.

Then, it was time for a legend to take the stage; Don Wick, inducted into the Washington State Alumni Hall of Fame, was in full force and immediately had the crowd laughing and a celebrating as he prepared to announce the newest Youth of the Year honoree for Skagit County. While all of our teens did a magnificent job and truly grew through their participation, it was young Jazzelle who would hear her name announced.

Jazzelle is a 4.0 student who participates in the music program at Sedro-Woolley High School, enjoys community service and giving back, and credits the Club with providing her with a safe place to explore new opportunities. As she shares in her story, growing up in Temecula, CA was difficult, especially because of drug use, and the resulting paraphernalia littering the ground everywhere. Jazzelle says, “As a Club member I’ve done good in my community, made new friends, gained a support system, had fun, and gained a second family in the process. Most importantly, I’ve had experiences that I never imagined were possible when i was just a little girl walking by a pile of used needles.”

Next up for Jazzelle will be preparing for the state program in March. Over the next six weeks she will make a circuit of service club meetings, visit the City Council, School Board, and get tips and a review from a local Toastmasters Club. As part of the state program, Jazzelle will meet her counterparts from 14 other Boys & Girls Club organizations, enjoy breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion, attend additional developmental workshops, have some fun, and ultimately once again go through the process of speech delivery and a gauntlet of interviews. We all wish Jazzelle well for her journey, and we are proud to have her representing our 1,600 members in Skagit County.


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