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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