Attention Parents: Next week, Sedro-Woolley will be open Dec 19-22 and Anacortes will be open Dec 19-23.
La Conner and Mount Vernon will be closed Dec 19-23.
All Clubs will be closed Dec 26-30.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or 360-419-3723 x8.
Club members were rewarded for regular attendance through the 2015-2016 school year with brand new bicycles, made possible by Odyssey Teams and Shell Refinery.
Fifteen of the highest attending Club Members were taken on a surprise field trip in late May to the Skagit Valley Casino, where unbeknownst to them, a team from Shell Refinery had been busy building bikes as part of an advanced leadership training provided by Odyssey Teams. Part of Odyssey’s unique approach on leadership and team building is to have groups assemble bicycles. Those bikes are then given to local youth selected by the client, in this case, Shell refinery.
The “big reveal” went both ways, as the teams building the bikes, didn’t know who they were for. Kids and staff gathered to enjoy snacks while pontificating on what the surprise might be. “I’m happy there is cheese,” said one Club member. “I’m the Cheesemaster!” That got everyone laughing, even though, they were trying so hard to be quiet.
Their patience was rewarded as they entered the room each holding a number that corresponded with their bike building team. Club members were slightly in shock, turning to glee, as they took in the news. Shell employees spent time with Club members, getting to know them and helping them try out their new bikes.
For most these Club members this is their first new bicycle or it replaces a hand-me-down bicycle from an older sibling. Along with the bicycle, they received a new helmet and bike lock. All bikes were inspected by mechanics from Skagit Cycle.
“We’re very thankful to Shell for selecting the Boys & Girls Club to be the recipient of the bikes. All the members who received a bike come to their local Club nearly every day it’s open, throughout the school year. We are happy to make a difference in their lives, as they make a difference in ours.”, said Noah Bannister, Director of Operations.
Torch Club members worked extremely hard in prepping the garden this last spring. Once the weather warmed, members could be found working tirelessly on the garden each day. Club members were able to enjoy early harvests of lettuce and peas, and some flower blooms.
Torch Club President, Riley Brooks, took the initiative and other Torch Club members were quick to respond, all playing a key role in the entirety of the gardening process. The Torch Club became quite popular, as younger members were constantly asking to be a part of the program.
Gardening was just a portion of Torch Club participation. Members also went to local businesses and helped sweep, pick up trash, and clean windows. At the Club they cleaned tables, washed dishes, served snacks, and lead activities—setting a great example for younger members.
Due to low enrollment, the La Conner Club is closed for the summer, but Program Director, Emily Chappel, is making sure their gardening efforts will be rewarded and has moved the plants to a new garden plot. She plans to bring in harvests for all Clubs to enjoy. Members will look forward to fall and new projects for Torch Club in the community.
The La Conner Club has recently added a Theatre Program to their repertoire, with Staff member, Kimberly Carrillo to lead the youth in the ways of set building, costuming, acting, and play writing. Club youth, parents and community members gathered to watch the short first play, “A Mixed Up Fairy Tale”, featuring a mashup of popular fairy tales. Attendees sat in anticipation, enjoying some popcorn, while waiting for the curtain to open. The older Club members were feeling their muscles burn as they were the ones holding up the curtain and backdrops!
Finally they were underway with the appearances of Little Bo Peep, her sheep, a horse, The Wicked Stepmother, a magic mirror, a frog prince, Cinderella locked in a tower and her rescuer with a really complicated name. “Rickle-pig-skin, Tuckle-ril-pin, Pimple-til-rin, Simple-ril-tin …er… Oh dash it all! Call me Jack,” exclaims Rumplestiltskin, played by Nathan Haley.
“Developing this play was such a different experience for me. This was my first time ever taking the lead director role in a play, or being involved in any play for that matter,” says Carrillo. “I couldn’t be happier with the participant’s performances and the amazing turnout. I was extremely thrilled with the outcome, and I loved seeing how actively engaged the kids were. I’d like to thank everyone who played a role in the development of this play, along with everyone that came to support the event. I look forward to next year!”
Carrillo plans to have many more productions for the kids to be a part of and the community will be welcome to come be part of the audience.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County celebrated Dental Health Month in February with dental check-ups that took place at all four Clubs. The checkups are organized every year by local supporter and Club volunteer, Christine Johnson. Volunteer dentists provided a basic check of gum and teeth health, with a report sheet for youth to take home to their parents. This sheet will give parents information about their child’s dental health and let them know if they should schedule a follow up dentist visit. Youth were also given a gift bag with toothpaste and a fun toothbrush to take home. The kids were so excited that Mount Vernon Club director, Angela Freeberg had to quickly remind kids to wait till they get home to brush. The Clubs would like to thank all the dentists that volunteered their time: Dr. Larry Forsythe, Dr. Christine Johnson, Dr. Noah Frerichs, Dr. Larry Quesnell, and Dr. Keri Halgren.
Youth all over Skagit County are now better equipped to finish the school year strong thanks to an investment from the Argus Fund. With the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County facilitating the effort, 450 backpacks were distributed at six locations throughout the community. It’s not just that the kids received backpacks that made the day special though, they were filled with much needed supplies youth need for regular homework endeavors.
“Hey, that’s the kind of paper I need for school,” exclaimed Remmy, a second-grader from Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Vernon. His words were exactly what organizers hoped to hear.
Heather Hernandez, Publisher from Skagit Publishing, was on-hand representing the Argus Fund and helped to distribute the backpacks with Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County CEO Ron McHenry. “When Heather and I first sat to talk about ways we could impact individual youth and bring the most amount of normalcy to their lives, this idea organically came about, and to see it to fruition is a wonderful thing,” says McHenry.
With their academic tools secure in their new backpacks, kids all over have the opportunity to finish the school year strong, and be one more step better prepared for their future success.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County are elevating their program offerings for youth, especially those in Middle and High School, thanks to a major investment by the Tesoro Foundation. Recognizing the significant need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education programs during out-of-school time, the Boys & Girls Club worked with Tesoro to initially secure $50,000 toward strategic growth in providing STEM to Club members in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. However, over the course of the summer, conversations continued until Ron McHenry, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club received a call that would inspire a dream to become reality. “Jared Skok, the Executive Director of the Tesoro Foundation, simply asked what I really wanted to do in our Clubs with STEM,” says McHenry. That dialogue resulted in a three-year, $390,000 commitment by the Tesoro Foundation. The funding, beyond providing equipment and operational resources, will allow for the addition of a full-time staff member who will be tasked with creating engaging STEM activities and programs, providing training and coaching to Club staff who will implement directly with youth, recruit industry volunteers to work directly with Club members and serve as mentors, and work to bring the new initiative beyond the walls of the four Clubhouses in Skagit County.
This new venture aligns with the strategic vision cast by the Board of Directors of the Clubs during a retreat last winter. “We are quite excited about the possibilities for the hundreds of kids our Clubs serve every day, and what this investment means for their future Academic Success,” stated Stephanie Hooper, President of the Boys & Girls Club Board. The organization’s leadership looks to this as an opportunity to build capacity that can positively impact other organization’s that serve youth as well. “It is our intention to build new collaborative partnerships and be a wheelhouse of service for youth-serving agencies and the community,” said McHenry. “Our focus will be real-life application of skills, with special attention to projects involving conservation and land stewardship, especially through service-learning opportunities for teen members.” It is the hope of the Boys & Girls Club that they accomplish two important things through this new effort: Career preparedness which can help attract more 21st Century employers to the area and satisfy the needs of businesses already in Skagit County, and; reinforce local values centering around sustainable growth practices and support, and caring, for the beautiful spaces that makes the area so wonderful to live in.
For more information on the new STEM Initiatives, the Boys & Girls Club can be reached at 360-491-3723.