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.
Both the Sedro-Woolley and Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Clubs lucked out with perfect weather for two consecutive weeks in September for an outdoor Farmer’s Share orchestrated by Helping Hands Food Bank, where Club youth and their families were able to stock up on free fresh vegetables and fruits.
To celebrate Hunger Action Month, Helping Hands Food Bank gathered fresh produce from local farms & grocery stores, such as Viva Farms, Hayton Farms, Ralphs Green house, and more. A bounty of colorful boxes filled with potatoes, carrots, squash, apples, plums, peaches, and broccoli, just to name a few, were arrayed out for kids to select from.
Two WSU Extension staff were on hand representing the Farmers Market Flash program, to talk about nutrition and farmers markets with the kids while making it fun, with prizes, temporary tattoos, and stickers. WSU Extension’s brand new program, Farmer’s Market Flash, is focused on spreading the good news about the Double Up Bucks Program, where SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) dollars are stretched at farmers markets so that families can buy more fruits and vegetables, at no cost extra cost to them. By simply swiping their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card at the information booth, farmers markets will give an additional $2 in Douple Up Bucks for every $2 spent in EBT, to purchase fresh and healthy food. “We believe good, healthy fresh food should be available for everyone, regardless of their economic situation.” said WSU Extension’s Farmers Market Flash Coordinator, Shannon Bachtel.
Club youth were certainly thrilled about the selection to choose from, and especially loved seeing the rows of raspberries at the end. Although, one kid did exclaim “broccoli!” heartily as he added it too his bag. As Club member Michael Worley was busy helping to unload and set up boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables at the Sedro-Woolley Boys and Girls Club, he said he really liked seeing everyone joining together and working toward the same goal. When asked what that shared goal was, he said “Helping get healthy food into people’s homes.”
Rebecca Schlaht, Operations Manager of the Food Bank hopes that these Farmer’s Share events can be expanded and plans to reach more Clubs, more often. “Our goal is to showcase the amazing produce that is available at local food banks,” says Schlaht. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County would like to thank Helping Hands Food Bank and the WSU Extension for putting these Farmer’s Share events together.
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.
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.
On Wednesdays this last spring, teenage members of the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club were given the opportunity to participate in a special Cooking Club. Thanks to the efforts of volunteer Patricia Stephens, and the Helping Hands Food Bank, the Woolley Teens learned how to make a variety of unique, interesting, and often, healthy dishes.
“I liked learning new things to make for when I’m at home, because I didn’t know how to make most of that stuff” said Brandon Deleon “It was really fun to learn new things to bake and cook.”
Some of the dishes they created included homemade pop tarts, using jelly and pie crust, and spaghetti made with squash. They were shown how to make homemade pizza and introduced to bread pudding, which most of them had never even heard of before, but now love.
Great programs like Cooking Club are made possible because of the support of the community and awesome volunteers like Patricia. The Club is extremely grateful for their support. Cooking Club will be taking a short break over summer but the teens are looking forward to its return in the fall.
On Friday, June 3rd, Skagit Valley Windermere agents held a Volunteer Day at the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club. Taking time out of their personal lives to join together on a sunny Friday morning, they came to improve the Club and Club grounds. Volunteers brought gardening supplies and got to work weed whacking the overgrown flower beds, pulling weeds around the flowers and vegetables, sweeping & pulling weeds from the concrete, and picking up trash from around the Club house.
Not only did they make the outside look refreshed, but they worked on the inside, as well. In the spirit of our beloved Seattle Seahawks, they painted the entire hallway of the Club from top to bottom in blue and green—even including the grey trim. The Club is looking very polished and ready for summer programs which began on June 15.
“They really seemed to take pride in what they were doing,” said Katelynn Sullivan, the Community Development Coordinator at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County. “It was apparent that all of the volunteers were enjoying themselves and having fun with the project. That was the best part, to see them enjoying what they were doing for the Club and its members.”
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.
For the second year in a row teenage members of the Sedro-Woolley Boys & Girls Club raised money and fed hungry shoppers with a hot dog barbecue in the parking lot of True Value. The barbecue was held as part of True Value’s Anniversary Sale. All the supplies, from hot dogs to napkins, were donated by True Value while the barbecue itself was run by members of the Sedro-Woolley Teen Center.
“It was a lot of fun and it makes me happy to be able to help The Club I’ve gone to for so long” said 15 year old Kindred Marden, who has been a member since he was 8 years old. “I also enjoy how activities like this let us be out in the community. I’m very grateful to True Value for the opportunity.” Kindred is the current President of Keystone Club, a community service program in the Teen Center.
The fundraiser was completely donation based and raised over $350. All the money raised will be used to help fund the Sedro-Woolley Teen Center and its programs.
“We’re definitely proud to provide a fundraising opportunity to the Boys & Girls Club” said Adrian Arias, store manager of True Value. “Thanks to the community for supporting the fundraiser, without them it doesn’t happen.”
Keystone is the Boys & Girls Club’s service learning program for teens from ages 14 to 18. This leadership development program provides opportunities for young people in three focus areas: Academic Success, Career Preparation and Community Service.