Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mount Baker Club Members Read to Kids

DSC_0768It’s not rare to see 30 students hanging out at Mount Baker Middle School after school, as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Skagit County 21st Century Program meets every Monday through Thursday. What is rare, is to see those 30 students carrying garbage bags and picking up trash in and around the school building. But it’s not a punishment or forced activity; instead those students chose to participate in the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Volunteer Month initiative. 

Every week, during April, Club members were given the opportunity to participate in a volunteer event, in order to learn about the importance of helping out in their own community. The first week was a campus clean up, followed by volunteering at the Kiwanis Club’s Salmon BBQ, and reading to Kindergartners at Little Mountain Elementary School. In addition to participating in those activities, members could complete Local or Global Service Challenges. These were little things—like cleaning up trash at a local park, or researching a Non-Governmental Organization that fosters clean water development—that were meant to show youth that helping out doesn’t have to stop at the end of the month. 

More than picking up garbage, most member’s favorite volunteer opportunity was reading to the Kindergarten classes. The Club partnered with Ms. Dahl, Ms. Hall, and Ms. Kelsey from Little Mountain Elementary to give 14 members the chance to go into classes and read to a group of younger kids. This partnership worked out so well that one Club member is extending his volunteering into a weekly gig. With little steps like that, volunteering becomes a regular part of members’ lives. 

The 21st Century program is committed to providing ongoing opportunities to learn and grow, for students in Mount Vernon. This is continuing in May with Career Month, where members will get the opportunity to explore and learn about different career and education paths. 21st Century programs run at both Mount Baker and LaVenture Middle Schools, and are open to any student attending the school during the year, at no cost. Enrollment also includes a Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County membership.

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Fun Filled Spring Break for the Anacortes Club


The Anacortes Boys & Girls Club wrapped up a fun-filled Spring Break with the theme “Be A Character,” with each day filled with unique activities centered around a different character.

“When school is out, Clubs are in. That is a big focus for the Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Club Director Taylor Bannister. “Opening our doors during Spring Break allows us to reach out to those students who need us most by providing a fun and safe environment for them to learn, explore and have fun. This year was especially fun because of our great themed activities.”

“I loved the themes because they were so active,” said Club Member Sarafina Dunlap. “You got to be whatever you wanted and it was fun watching people dress up.”

On Cowboy Day, Club Members made cacti, “wanted posters”, and ran an “equestrian course.” Tuesday was Secret Agent Day which included missions for youth to complete a string “laser” course. Lucha Libre Day involved making Luchador Masks and competing in sumo suit wrestling. On Jedi day, members underwent Jedi training, made Star Wars finger puppets, and read from Star Wars scenes. Wrapping up the week with “Be Your Own Character Day”, Club members created their own characters, made their own costumes, and held a fashion show emphasizing their uniqueness.

“My favorite days were Jedi Day and Be Your Own Character Day,” said sixth-grader Alexander Davidson. “I liked that we could bring our own items for those days. We also got to do a lot of activities you normally don’t get to do and they all when along with the theme.”

Jordan Fratianni. said her favorite day was Jedi Day. “I’ve only now started watching Star Wars and this let me learn a lot more about it. It was really fun!”

“Friday, the Be Your Own Character Day was my favorite,” said Madison Johnson.” We got to walk down the runway and show off our creativity.” She came up with the character “Taylor Fairy”, emulating Club Director, Taylor Bannister and showing off her “nerdy, fun and silly” side. 

“Spring Break is always fun because the extra time with the Club members allows us to run more programs and activities with them,” said Program Director, Andrew Worcester. “Normally we wouldn’t have the time to do things like making Lightsaber Pretzels or character creation. It’s a lot like a small dose of summer, and that gets us really looking forward to this years summer program.”

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Club Leadership to Take on the Big Easy

More than a dozen Skagitonians will descend into New Orleans mid-May to attend the 110th National Conference for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Held each spring since 1906 at various locations throughout the United States, the Conference brings together upwards of 5,000 board volunteers, professional staff, Club alumni, advocates, and more, to engage one another through professional development to better impact the more than 4million youth who attends Clubs across the county and on military bases throughout the world and celebrate the collective mission: to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. 

In addition to the eight Board volunteers and advocates making the trip at their own time and expense, the Club was also able to utilize travel rewards and airline miles to send six staff members. Together, the group will spend three jam-packed days learning from speakers at the top of their fields in youth development, safety, resource development, marketing, administration, and more. Recent past presenters have included Condoleezza Rice, General Colin Powell, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Salman Khan. “The commitment to greater personal development so we can better serve our Club and community is important,” states Mark Lawrence, owner of Simply Yards Landscaping & Design, and the 2016 President of the Board of Directors. “I’m excited to have such strong representation from our Board; it is bound to make a world of difference.”

Five years ago, the Conference was held in New Orleans as well, and Club CEO Ron McHenry was in attendance. It was that visit that inspired the concept for “Keys for Kids”, the dueling-piano party fundraiser launched in the summer of 2015 to great acclaim from those in attendance at La Conner Flats. “Our schedule is pretty full from arrival to departure, but we will make a trip to Pat O’Brien’s,” said McHenry, referencing the Dueling Piano Club in the heart of the French Quarter that served as inspiration. “It’s going to be a great team building excursion.” One of eight Club professionals recently appointed to the National Marketing Council, McHenry will have additional meetings, and will also be presenting as a panel speaker about Youth Program Quality and Assessment.

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Week of Wizardry Merges Learning & Fun

Harry Potter WeekLast week Club Members at the Mount Vernon Club were busy little wizards as they participated in the HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Themed events kicked off on Friday, April 15th with wand making and dividing kids into Houses. Activities for the week included The Sorting Hat game, Care of Magical Creatures with our Dogs on Call team, Harry Potter Haikus, and a Potions Class.  

“Charms Class was a big Hit,” said Washington Reading Corps member Erica Leith. “The kids loved pointing their wands at each other and casting spells.” Club kids learned different spells and charms from Harry Potter, and then matched the spell to what it does. Kids then had the opportunity to use their magic wands and duel using the spells.

In Potions Class each House experimented with reactions of different candies in seltzer, Club Soda, & Water. Members then hypothesized and determined which candies reacted best to what liquid. The Potions class culminated with a Mentos Geyser Grand Finale.

Harry Potter week is part of the Mount Vernon Club’s Dive into Reading program. Dive into Reading is a literacy-focused program that involves reading and learning activities that help Club members increase their reading skills, and develop a love for reading and learning. The program is run by the Boys & Girls Club Washington Reading Corps members, Stephani Noar and Erica Leith.

Other recent activities have included the “I-did-a-read” Iditarod week and Mighty Girls week which focused on famous women in history who have made a positive impact on the world around them.

“When it comes to academics the Club strives to go beyond homework help, to create unique and memorable experiences that allow Club members to explore and engage in learning and use their imaginations.” says Area Director, Angela Freeberg.

So, don’t be surprised if you visit the Club and see a cute little wizard with a wand, or some stuffed animal sled dogs. It’s all part of learning, while having fun at the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club! 

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Youth of the Month – May 2016

Ethan P., age 9

Ethan attends Fidalgo Elementary and joined the Club this past year. He is very diligent in completing his homework during Power Hour. Ethan enjoys participating in Triple Play games and is a joyful presence around the Club.




Sarafina D., age 11

Sarafina has been a Club Member since 2015 and attends Discovery School. She always has a positive and helpful attitude at the Club. She participates in SMART Girls, Power Hour, and Budding Birders, among other programs.




Kylee W., age 14

Kylee has been a Club Member since 2011 and attends Anacortes High School. She spends her time at the Club doing her homework and helping  in the art room. Kylee is fun and lighthearted member and she has become a great role model for the younger members. 



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