Volunteer for Clubs Inspires Youth with the Art of Photography

Richard Raymond started volunteering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County in early October this year. With the expansion of the Clubs into the Mount Baker & LaVenture middle schools, volunteer help is greatly appreciated and adds to the richness of the Club experience. Richard immediately began teaching photography at the Mount Baker Club. Fortunately, the Clubs had already purchased camera equipment through a grant from Best Buy. Because camera’s are Nikon DSLRs, it gives the members quite a range of control over their photos. Club members start out by learning the very basic workings of the cameras, then work on composition and choosing subject matter. 

Mentored by well-known photographer, Lee Mann, Richard loves to share about his own experience of practicing photography out in nature. He reminisced about a day on the middle fork, Nooksack river, where he spotted an eagle on a low crag. He was able to sneak up fairly close, but eventually the great bird took flight. “When an eagle takes off to fly they drop at first because they are so large. The force of the wind from it’s wings took my hat off.” That was a great shot, but, he pointed out that if his wife, who was watching from afar, would have had a camera, she would have had the better photo. He then bought his wife a camera and now they enjoy the sport together. 

Richard was recently awarded “Rookie Volunteer of the Year” at a Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County awards event. “I think he was so surprised by the award, but it is very well deserved,” says Tammy Findlay, the Club’s Director of Marketing & Stewardship. “I’m so impressed with how Richard leads youth. This program gives them a great sense of accomplishment. Club members are taking pride in their work, and striving to improve and learn. They are engaged and eager. Richard’s passion for photography is inspiring.”

Richard just finished up a class at the Mount Baker Club and is now teaching a new group at the LaVenture Club which will run for 8 weeks. Then he will be back at Mount Baker for an Advanced Photography session with 5 Club members from the original class. They will cover the inner workings of the camera more in-depth, and advanced settings, as well as new photography techniques.

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Sedro-Woolley Eagles Aerie 2069 and Club Teens hold BBQ Fundraiser

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-40-19-amEvery 4th of July the Sedro-Woolley Eagles Aerie 2069 and teens from the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club put on a barbecue fundraiser. This past year they were able to add an extra day, during the Eagles Car Show on July 2nd, thanks to a generous donation from Janicki Industries. All the profit from the barbecue is donated to the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. 
“I always look forward to earning money for The Club” said Kindred Marden. He is the president of the Woolley Teens Keystone Club, which is a community service and fundraising program that is part of the Teen Center. “Best burgers around!” said Hallie Simpson, Keystone Club Vice President. 
Over $2,900 was earned from the barbecue plus an additional $500 from a raffle held at the car show. The Eagles Auxiliary also donated $300 to the Teen Center. The money will be used for supplies for the Teen Center and field trips. “These are the hardest working kids I’ve seen. I’m proud to be associated with them,” said Bill Wartchow, President of the Sedro-Woolley Eagles. 
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Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club teens visit Growing Veterans farm

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-47-16-amThe 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.

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No Boys Allowed! Night of Fun for Anacortes Club Teen Girls

IMG_3601The boys were sent home and the girls took over for Girls Teen Night at the Anacortes Boys & Girls Club recently held on Friday, March 4th. Teen girls were able to participate in a fun light-switch cover craft; have their hair done by Club staff; have their make-up done by volunteer Katrina Agnew or eyebrows waxed by Club Parent Ne Jones. The girls were then able to model their fancy looks in a Photo Booth provided by Gulliworks Photography. 
Teen membership at the Clubs is only $10 for the year and teen membership at all of the Skagit County Clubs has been steadily growing. The Clubs regularly hold Teen Nights on Fridays where both the boys & the girls get together, make food, watch movies and play games. Occasionally they switch things up and make it a Boys Night or Girls Night. “It’s good for these young women to have a space to call their own where they can open up to each other and be themselves,” says Club Director Taylor Bannister. The Club would like to thank all of the staff and volunteers who made the Girls Night such a success for over 20 teen girls!
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Sedro-Woolley Eagles BBQ raises funds for the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club

L to R: Patrick Dougher, Teresa DeMoss, John Garman, Hallie Simpson, Chris Seidel and Bill Wartchow

L to R: Patrick Dougher, Teresa DeMoss, John Garman, Hallie Simpson, Chris Seidel and Bill Wartchow

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.

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Cheesy Gold Potatoes are a Hit


#ClubCooks is a weekly program for Teens to learn how to meal plan on a budget. Thanks to a partnership with the La Conner Sunrise Food Bank.

This week during #ClubCooks, members made some garlicky gold potatoes with a homemade cheese sauce. Every Monday, Teen Coordinator Jennifer gets a box of food from the La Conner Sunrise Food Bank. The teens help craft a menu from the items received and learn more about meal planning on a budget.  Here is the recipe so you can try at home with your family.

Ingredients for Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Potatoes:

3 pounds shredded hashbrowns
4 or more cloves garlic peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour until combined. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth and lump free. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in salt. Set aside.

Potatoes: Grease a 10 inch baking dish. Layer the bottom with 1/3 of the potatoes. Sprinkle 1/3 of the garlic evenly over potatoes. Dot the potatoes with 1/3 of the butter. Repeat with 2 additional layers of potatoes, garlic and butter. Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the dish. Cover and bake and for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and cheese topping is browned and melted.

#ClubCooks takes place every Wednesday afternoon at 4:30pm. For more information about #ClubCooks or any of our Targeted Programs hat focus on Healthy Lifestyles, please contact the Club Director, Kendrick Davis-Pittmon at (360)-466-3672 or email: kdavis@skagitclubs.org. Don’t forget to follow @laconnerteens on Instagram for Teen Programming news, updates, and photos from The Club.



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Teens Celebrate Free Comic Book Day

 Levi reading his free comics in the Teen Center.

Levi reading his free comics in the Teen Center.

This past Saturday members of the Teen Center in Sedro-Woolley got the chance to celebrate Free Comic Book Day with a field trip to the comic store. Every year on the first Saturday in May comic book companies and stores participate in a promotional giveaway where people can get free copies of comic books. Our local comic store and Boys & Girls Club supporter, Docking Bay 93, has been involved since the first Free Comic Book Day back in 2002. There were eight teens who participated in the event and are taking this opportunity to promote reading, exploring new stories, and then turning the old ones into art projects. Free Comic Book Day collages soon to come.

In addition to getting free comic books members were able to meet local artists who have worked in the comic book field. They also got to play games in the classic arcade at the back of the store. The best part of all is that after the field trip was over they had a stack of reading to do. Thank you Dan Macken of Docking Bay 93 for making these teens’ day.

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Pre-Teen Night in Sedro-Woolley

Pre Teen

On Friday, April 25th the Teens at the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club will be hosting a Pre-Teen Night at the Teen Center. This is an excellent chance for 6th graders to come and have a sneak peek of the Teen Center before summer. All 6th grade Club Members and guests are welcome, so feel free to invite your friends.

Pre-Teen Night will start at 6:00 PM and go until 10:00 PM. We will be providing a pizza dinner in addition to fun and games. Members and guests will be able to enjoy playing sports, video games and Teen Center favorites like Ninja Training and Zombie Tag.

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Camp Kirby Leadership Summit

Teens from each of our Skagit Clubs attended the weekend Leadership Summit

Teens from each of our Skagit Clubs attended the weekend Leadership Summit

During the weekend of April 11-13th, teens from the Skagit County Clubs joined together for a Leadership Summit on the shores of Samish Island at Camp Kirby. 40 teen Club members and 5 staff attended the leadership summit, an event that each Club worked hard to raise their own funds for. Over the course of the weekend teens did great activities that allowed them to learn about leadership, communication skills, working in groups, and good sportsmanship. Each group was compromised of members from each Club, making it possible for teens to meet new people and make new lasting friendships. On Saturday, events were split into stations such as improv, rock climbing and team building and communication exercises. The final station of the day was completed after dinner on Saturday night, in which each group came up with a skit that was performed for everyone at camp. 
Teens packed up and headed home on Sunday afternoon after a great and fun filled weekend. Many new friendships were made between Club members and Club staff. Each Club looks forward to the chance to meet each other again. 
Thank you to Camp Kirby for a great weekend of fun and learning; to our Club staff and teens who attended the trip; and too our friends, families and community members who supported each of our various fundraising efforts that made this experience possible. 
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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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