The teens from the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club paid a visit to the Growing Veterans farm in Mount Vernon on Wednesday, July 27th. While there, teens helped with weeding before getting a tour of the farm. They learned not only about growing produce but also how the Growing Veterans farms help veterans transition back into civilian life and engage in peer-support while building community. A great way to work with some of the unique partners throughout the Skagit Valley, the tour helped underscore some of the healthy habits & career readiness programs available at the Clubs.
“I liked helping the veterans at the farm because it made me feel good,” said Logan Thompson, age 12. The Club members spent an hour with their hands in the dirt weeding a bed of carrots, while visiting with some of the veterans who work and volunteer at the Mount Vernon farm.
After they were done weeding, the teens were taken around the farm by Joel Swenson, Peer Support Coordinator for Growing Veterans. The teens learned about all the different crops grown at the farm, which include garlic, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. They also stopped by the farm’s bee hives. “I really liked the bees,” said Gabbie Timblin, age 13. “I didn’t know that they circled the hive so they could find their way home before they left.”
Growing Veterans is a nonprofit organization that combines veteran reintegration with sustainable agriculture—creating a holistic solution to fighting the multitude of issues the veteran population faces and simultaneously empowering them by providing opportunities for peer support, broader community engagement, and skills training. The program has seen hundreds of Veterans come through the farming projects, helping to ensure great community interaction, and demonstrating the importance of veteran support, and sustainable livelihood. And they make their produce available each week at the Farmer’s Market, in Mount Vernon.
Sedro-Woolley teens make time to visit and collaborate with many non-profits throughout Skagit County, gaining valuable knowledge and learning the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community. Exemplifying the qualities of Good Character & Citizenship, the teens work to hard to reach out, learn as much as they can, and mature.
Do you have a passion for helping? Do you love to cook? Maybe you really love sharing your interest in photography. Or you would love to help design a youth community service project. If you have a passion for youth, a passion for serving your community, and interest in helping to teach others, we need you! With the return to school, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County are calling all volunteers to come & help make our Club programs great. Open after-school Monday-Friday, from 2:45pm- 6:00pm, our Clubs serve youth ages 6-18. All programs run for 30-60 min, and fall under Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Citizenship. We would love to include you! Contact Katelynn Sullivan at email@example.com, or 360-419-3723 x8.
Recently the Sedro-Woolley Eagles Aerie 2069 presented representatives of the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club with a check for $1,485.41. The Eagles hold an annual BBQ fundraiser on behalf of the Clubs during the 4th of July weekend. Eagles Trustee Bill Wartchow, heads up the committee for the BBQ fundraiser each year and is a seasoned grill-master.
This fundraiser does more for the Boys & Girls Clubs members than just provide financial support. Members of the Club’s Teen Center are active participants at the BBQ, helping to serve and prepare the food. Club members learn valuable job skills and gain a sense of accomplishment and ownership while helping raise funds for their program.
Teenage members of the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Clubs get the opportunity to do more than just hang out after school. Taking ownership of their Club, and effecting positive change, members engage in Keystone Club. This national program of Boys & Girls Clubs focuses on service and leadership, and provides the opportunity to get involved throughout the community.
Every Friday afternoon President Shaely Spilker, Vice President Jazzelle Elias, Treasurer Hallie Simpson and any Club member who wants to be involved meet and discuss upcoming service projects, fundraisers and ways to improve the Teen Center. A staff advisor participates in meetings but it is the members who ultimately decide what projects to focus on. Recently they rose over $600 for the Boys & Girls Club between two fundraisers, the True Value anniversary and Blast from the Past, both held in Sedro-Woolley. Coming up, they will be participating in a hamburger fundraiser at the Sedro-Woolley Eagles on the 4th of July. Earlier in the school year they also had the opportunity to sell programs at Century Link field during the Seahawks vs. Cowboys game as part of the Spirit of 12 program, which allows non-profits to raise funds through program sales.
Beyond just fundraisers, the Sedro-Woolley Keystone Club also does community service projects. This year they have done several projects with the Skagit Land Trust pulling ivy and helping to plant trees, including participating in their Earth Day event. They are currently planning on having a book drive during summer vacation and hope to do a food drive during the next school year.
The La Conner Club has been implementing the Keystone Program locally with great success. Teens today need support as they strive to attain their goals in life. Through Aaron’s Foundation’s sponsorship of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2014-2015 Keystone Program, La Conner’’s teens are empowered to effect positive change at the La Conner Club and throughout the local community while developing their character and leadership skills, in an effort to create their own path for success.
Each year, the Boys & Girls Club youth identify the most pressing issues facing America’s teens and create a project through their local Club’s Keystone Program to help raise awareness and support the cause. Earlier in May the Keystone Gladiators, as they are called in La Conner, talked about homelessness and learned about the number of families that depend on food banks and shelters to survive. They decided to put on a door-to-door toiletries drive that would benefit the Friendship House, a local organization that specializes in sheltering, feeding, and clothing Skagit County residents in need. Within a week, the Keystone Gladiators received about a half a dozen calls about donations and they collected over 250 items.
Why is the Keystone Program so important to La Conner’’s youth? When compared to their peers, youth who participated in civic engagement programs were less likely to use drugs and drop out of school, and were more likely to attend college, have more positive attitudes toward work and to vote as young adults.
On Thursday, April 2 Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club members helped serve their community by spending the afternoon doing litter clean up. Club members visited the Kulshan Station and worked with Mount Vernon Police Department’s Officer Serrano to clean up the Kulshan Trail. Youth were equipped with gloves, garbage bags, and litter grabbers and worked together in teams of two, beginning at the Kulshan station and ending where the trail meets Waugh Rd.
Not only did Club members have a great time cleaning up their neighborhood trail, they also enjoyed nature, the weather, and each others company. This was a great lesson on being responsible for your trash and taking responsibility for your community. Throughout the year the Boys & Girls Club provides every Club member with opportunities to serve in their Club and community and experience the important value of volunteer service.
The Anacortes Club began its first sessions of Keystone and Torch Club this week! Keystone and Torch club are the Boys & Girls Club’s service learning programs. Each club brings youth together to participate in service both in and out of the Club. This year our programs will each focus on completing a National Service Project.
This year, in support of the new Keystone focus area of Teen Outreach and the BGCA teen membership initiative “Race to the Club”, Keystoners nationally chose Teen Outreach as their project theme. “Teens Lead!” is the title for this year’s project. Challenging Keystoners to design a community service project that will mobilize all the teens in their community to make a difference.
In Torch Club this year the National Project is partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program. The theme for the 2014 National Project focuses on caring for and creating awareness for the environment, primarily focused on saving energy and helping to fight climate change. The name, chosen by Torch Club members, is ENERGY STAR® Heroes: Be Your Own Amazing.
Each club is led by Club members who have been voted into their leadership roles. The 2014-2015 Keystone Leadership is Treasurer Alberto Yabuy, Secretary Jacky Ramirez, Vice President Evan McKay and President Karen Gallardo. The 2014-2015 Torch Club Leadership is Treasurer Ainsley Willingham, Secretary Paige Winters, Vice President Mia Willoughby and President Izabelle Wells.
Check back often for updates from these two great clubs!
Members of the Sedro-Woolley Teen Center got the chance to flex their creative muscles last week. The Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) put on an art workshop at Country Meadows Village on March 4th and 5th and Sedro-Woolley Teens were very excited to take part.
Participants not only got to learn some painting tricks but also got the chance to interact with a different generation. The SW Teens have spent time at Country Meadows before due to their friendly rivalry playing flyswatter volleyball, but this was a new and fun way to spent time with the residents. After engaging in fun intergenerational art activities, the group enjoyed a meal together.
Thank you to MoNA for putting the whole thing on, Dee Doyle for being the instructor, David Bricka for providing a space, and the Residents of Country Meadows Village for welcoming the Teens.
On Saturday, February 22nd Teens from Sedro-Woolley braved the snow and cold to help work on the Nature Trail of Little Mountain. They joined the Mount Vernon Trail Builders for a day of shoveling dirt and moving rocks to make the trail more usable.
Teens had a lot of fun while working very hard. They dug holes to get dirt that could be used to make banks for bikes on the trail. Others helped move gravel and rocks to build walls that will help keep the trail from eroding.
It was a snowy and wet day but no one complained, everyone was having too much fun. At the end of the day, when everyone piled into the van in muddy clumps of tired muscles, all the Teens agreed they wanted to come back and help again.
Special thanks to Jim Taylor for organizing the project and to the Mount Vernon Trail Builders for letting us join them.