SMART Girls

Calling all Volunteers

Back2SchoolVolunteer_webslideDo 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 ksullivan@skagitclubs.org, or 360-419-3723 x8.

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Sedro-Woolley SMART Girls attend Career Fair

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On Monday, May 2nd, the SMART Girls of the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club were treated to four guest speakers all offering different insights on college and career paths.

Jill Gatto from Skagit Valley Hospital talked to the girls about what a day in the life of a surgical assistant looks like. The girls asked stimulating questions about prosthetics, how many patients she attends to each day, and what her work schedule looks like.

Vanessa Jones, a math teacher from Sedro-Woolley High School, stressed the importance of higher education and the joys of college, and how all that hard work and effort pays off. She even challenged the girls with some math problems!

Jackie Dexter talked to the group about how she has used her science degree from WWU to create a farm at her home. She shared information about how she is growing plants, creating a pond, and all the animals currently living on the farm.

Sigrid Williams of Aqua-Terr Systems Inc. talked to the girls about her job as an associate biologist, and how she uses science in her job. She also talked about scuba diving and teaching Discover Scuba classes with Gone Diving out of Bellingham.

It was a science and math filled day for the girls—two fields that are sometimes intimidating to young women- but with these guest speakers, it was something that the girls were able to see as a possibility for them, too!

All guest speakers engaged the SMART girls by asking what their career aspirations were, what they liked most about school, and where they might like to go to college. Hearing from engaging guest speakers showed the girls about available career paths, how one can use their education in different fields and careers, and that college can be a challenging path with great rewards after graduation. The girls felt empowered, encouraged, and shared stories and laughs. All left with information from each guest speaker resulting in a great success for this year’s SMART Girls Career Fair.

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SMART Girls Program fosters a place of trust and friendship

smart girls crossfitSMART Girls is all about healthy attitudes & positive choices. Lead by longtime Club volunteer, Renee Buchanan, the SMART Girls program provides girls ages 9-16 a safe forum to discuss their unique needs. SMART, standing for Skills Mastery and Resistance Training, is the method to focus learning in a group environment to instill the skills and competencies related to making healthy choices, abstaining from drug use, and creating lasting relationships. Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides curriculum for SMART programs, helping to provoke reflection & discussion on various topics related to life choices. Each lesson has a badge to be earned that goes in their SMART Girls Journal, motivating the participants and providing them with a chronicle of what they’ve learned over the course of the year.

This year’s class of SMART Girls consisted of thirteen young women and the first session is always about getting to know your fellow SMART Girls and establishing an environment of trust and safety. “What happens in SMART Girls, stays in SMART Girls,” says fourth year SMART Girl Erin Davis. Fellow SMART Girl Paula Banda says, “Renee makes things really fun and I can trust her with anything.” Some of their favorite activities from this year include “Recipe for Friendship,” where they list all of the best qualities that make a good friend and how to be a good friend. During Nutrition Week, they learned how to make healthy smoothies. The Girls were also treated to field trips, visiting local Club supporters and their parents’ businesses, like Crossover Fitness, where CrossFit trainer Tammy Straub showed the girls fun and easy ways to stay fit.

Much like all things at the Boys & Girls Club, it would be difficult to do awesome stuff like this without community supporters. For the third year, SMART Girls at the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club has been sponsored by the Soropotimist International of Sedro-Woolley, a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

To finish out the year, the SMART Girls who completed the program celebrated with a SMART Girls Night In. After dinner followed a favorite team building exercise where everyone writes one compliment, anonymously, and by the end each Girl has a compliment from everyone in the group. SMART Girls Certificates were awarded, followed by dessert and a craft project. The three 6th grade girls, Erin Davis, Paula Banda, and Gabbie Timblin, received a special name plaque because of their participation in Smart Girls over the past 3 years. They will be graduating to the Teen Program next year.

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SMART Girls Define Friendship

SMART GIrls Friendship Session

SMART Girls is a program that encourages positive self-esteem, and healthy relationships with adults & peers.

Participants of the La Conner  SMART Girls program know the importance of friendship:

A friend is someone to confide in, someone to laugh with, someone to cheer you up when you’re feeling blue. A true friend helps us to be the best person possible.

When groups talk about friendship, they often discuss what qualities to look for in a good friend. It is also important to take a step back and look at the kind of the friend you want to be, to discuss what qualities we each possess that make us good friends.

The SMART Girls started off by creating an adjective list on the whiteboard, calling out ways that they are each good friends. Some of the words were kind, nice, courageous, trustworthy and beautiful on the inside. The Girls also discussed how some words that might be used to describe a friend can have more than one meaning. One member offered the word strong and explained how she felt emotionally strong, that others’ opinions wouldn’t sway her from her own and that she sticks up for her friends.

Next, members broke into pairs and conducted ‘Friend-terviews’, interviewing one another then noting any similarities or differences between each of their answers. Questions included “What would you do with a million dollars?”, “What is your favorite thing to do after a long day at school?”, and “What are three words that describe you?”.SmartGirls_CLR

The La Conner SMART Girls are always excited to get up and get moving, so the session concluded with a trust exercise, where each girl had to direct another blindfolded Club member through an obstacle course. The girl giving directions couldn’t touch her partner, but had to use only her voice, and the blindfolded girl had to trust that her partner was paying attention and was being honest with her directions. There were a few challenges that required a pair or two to start over, but by the end, each pair had successfully made it through the course.

SMART Girls  explore their own and societal attitudes and values as they build skills for eating right, staying physically fit, getting good health care and developing positive relationships with peers and adults. This program is held on Thursdays at 4:30pm. For more information about SMART Girls please contact the Club at (360) 466-3672.

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La Conner Connects With SMART Girls

SMART Girls meets weekly on Thursdays at 4:45pm in the Dr. Kenyon & Siddy Knopf Education Center

SMART Girls meets weekly on Thursdays at 4:45pm in the Dr. Kenyon & Siddy Knopf Education Center

This world is a big place for all youth, and for girls, growing up means changing relationships and friendships, changing bodies and changing self images. SMART (Skills Mastery And Resistance Training) Girls is a group that meets weekly to talk about these topics, and others, in a fun, engaging and safe manner where girls can feel comfortable sharing their experiences and questions. Girls are exposed to new ideas and given the knowledge and tools that will help them on their road to creating a strong, smart, and positive sense of self. SmartGirls_CLR

Each week, as new topics are discussed, members will have the opportunity to earn SMART Girls Badges to decorate and affix to their own personal SMART Girls Journal. At the first meeting, girls talked about the meaning of words such as trust, respect and effective communication. Youth then worked together to develop a set of group values and used them to create a Smart Girls Contract. This contract will ensure that each girl will have the opportunity to have her voice heard and to enjoy SMART Girls meetings to the fullest!

La Conner SMART Girls is open to girls ages 8-10 and meets on Thursdays from 4:45 – 5:45pm. For more information regarding this program, please contact Program Director Leah Vazquez at (360) 466-3672 or email: leahv@skagitclubs.org

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LC SMART Girls Season Wrap Up

SMART Girls Season Wrap Up

La Conner girls, ages 8-12, bonded and learned about friendship, careers, and wellness during SMART Girls

The La Conner SMART Girls have wrapped up their program for the school year.  On Friday, the SMART Girls hosted a Root Beer Float Party with free floats and crafts open to all girls and women of La Conner.  Guests made yarn friendship bracelets as well as rubber stamped greeting cards.  

Saturday was the end of the year field trip for the SMART Girls with a trip to Snohomish.  They enjoyed a picnic lunch at Willis D. Tucker Park where they then took turns on the merry-go-round and other playground equipment then got soaked in the park’s Splash Zone, a space with a play fountain, water jets and spray hoses.   After the park, the girls checked into the Snohomish Aquatic Center.  All eleven girls had a blast floating in the lazy river, playing water basketball and testing their bravery on Splashtacular, the 20 foot tall, 150 foot long water slide!SmartGirls_CLR

The La Conner SMART Girls program is open to girls ages 8-12 and will run again next school year.  For more information about SMART Girls please contact Program Director Leah Vazquez at (360)466-3672.

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SMART Girls Explore their Futures

SMART Girls

Club members brainstorm career possibilities for the future.

On Thursday, La Conner SMART Girls dived into the unknown and talked about their futures.  For some youth, high school and beyond seem so far away but it’s never too early to expose children to their options.  College, community college, vocational tech schools, job training programs, traveling and careers are just some of the options available for youth today once they finish high school.  Club members discussed what each of these paths may entail then participated in several activities.

In one activity, Club members formed small groups and  developed lists of careers or jobs starting with each letter of the alphabet, A through Z.  This exercise encouraged the girls to broaden their minds and realize that the possibilities really are endless!  The girls found it challenging and enjoyed working together on this task.  Critical thinking and teamwork were key skills, as was creativity for the more difficult letters such as Q, X and Z.  

Next week the La Conner SMART Girls will have their final meeting of the year.  The group will also host a Root Beer Float Social on Friday, June 6th at 5:30pm at the La Conner Boys & Girls Club.  This event is free and open to all girls as well as their moms, sisters, aunts and grandmas!

SmartGirls_CLR

The La Conner SMART Girls program is open to girls ages 8-12 and will run again next school year.  For more information about SMART Girls please contact Program Director Leah Vazquez at (360)466-3672.

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SMART Girls with Confidence

SMART Girls

Girls discuss tools to be confident in themselves.

La Conner SMART Girls had a lesson in confidence  last week.  The girls first took turns telling each group member positive qualities about her and compiled these qualities into separate lists for each girl.  While it can sometimes take an added effort to compliment others, it is often much harder to graciously receive compliments.  The girls discussed why this is and how some people, upon receiving compliments, practice self doubt or put themselves down in response.  

Next, each girl took several minutes alone to brainstorm additional positive qualities about herself.  The girls then created Confidence Hearts using paper, crayons and their list of positive qualities to highlight great characteristics about themselves.  These Hearts will serve as reminders to each girl that she is special and encourage her to be confident in herself.

The La Conner SMART Girls program is open to girls ages 8-12 and meets Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:30pm.  For more information about SMART Girls please contact Program Director Leah Vazquez at (360)466-3672.

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Skagit Domestic Violence Visits SMART Girls

SMART Girls

SMART Girls meet with staff from Skagit Domestic Violence

On Thursday, April 10th, the Anacortes SMART Girls invited guest speakers from Skagit Domestic Violence to join them in discussing healthy relationships. Lisset and Danielle from SDV joined the girls during their weekly meeting and shared information about Skagit Domestic Violence and what the program does for the community. The teen girls learned about ways to recognize violence in a relationship, as well as the differences in victimization. They also learned what steps they could take if they ever found themselves in an unsafe relationship and who they could safely discuss the situation with. Thank you to Lisset, Danielle, and Skagit Domestic Violence for taking time to come and meet with the Anacortes SMART Girls. 

SMART Girls is a health and wellness program for teen girls ages 13-18 and meets each Thursday at the Anacortes Club from 3:00 to 4:00pm. For more information on this or other Club programs, contact Program Director Taylor Bannister at 360.588.9045 x12 or by email at tbannister@skagitclubs.org

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Teens Visit Thrive Fitness

SMART Girls and Wise Guys with our Personal Trainers

SMART Girls and Wise Guys with our Personal Trainers

logoOn Thursday, March 27th the Anacortes Club took its SMART Girls and Wise Guys (Passport to Manhood) teens to Thrive Community Fitness for an hour long session with Personal Trainers Christopher Harris and Sylvia Yang. Christopher and Sylvia spoke with the teens about the importance of exercise and nutrition before giving them a tour of the gym and explaning how different machines worked. At the end of the tour the teens got active with some fun excercise activities and a group game. Teens ended their session with a smoothie from the gyms smoothie bar before heading back to the Club. Thank you to Sylvia and Christoper for their time and energy as well as Thrive Community Fitness for their support. 

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