Great Futures Start Here
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County makes a pledge every day, and to every young person who walks through our doors: “Great Futures Start Here.” This pledge begins with our mission, and is our commitment to our community, and why we work tirelessly to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. As we strive to continue this pledge, and the work that supports our mission, we celebrate the partnerships that have supported us and will help us forge greater paths into the future. Great Futures Start Here, because we have supporters who make them happen.
Reflecting on our pledge, the impact we see in the lives of our youth, everyday, stands out fullest. Whether its helping our Mount Vernon teens mentor younger members in Power Hour homework help, or watching our La Conner youth engaging in a Triple-Play basketball challenge, or seeing the Anacortes & Sedro-Woolley Torch Clubs striving to create the best community service projects—we see the active demonstration of Academic Success, Healthy Lifestyles, and Good Character & Citizenship. As our youth enjoy the safety, support, and mentorship provided through the great staff and important programs at each Club, we recognize the standard we hold for the youth in Skagit County. Regardless of background or circumstance, we welcome all youth into our Clubs, pledging “Great Futures Start Here.”
With the excitement & great achievements of 2015—including increased attendance, impressive national results, and celebratory events—we are charging into 2016. This success is entirely due to the great Board and staff, the great programs, and the great supporters that we have for our Clubs. But as each Club gets closer and closer to capacity, we realize that our sustainable growth is necessary—imperative. We may be serving more than 1,600 youth in Skagit County, but the need for our programs is vastly greater. And that is where we reach out, and invite you to join us. Help us make the pledge to our youth—“Great Futures Start Here.”
Many of you had the pleasure of attending our Youth of the Year Dinner & our Dinner with Friends events, and were inspired by the personal stories told by our Youth of the Year program participants. Our Annual Campaign will continue up to our Annual Breakfast on March 15, where we will celebrate our work together. We humbly ask that you consider a contribution, and spread the word about the GREAT legacy of Clubs.
As part of its commitment to enrich the lives of children in the community, Draper Valley Farms has awarded a $7,500 grant to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County provide at-risk children a foundation for achieving healthy lifestyles.
Through its Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the Draper Valley grant will fund the Boys & Girls Clubs programs, with special focus on Healthy Lifestyles. The Healthy Lifestyles initiative — one of three Priority Outcomes at the Club — engages youth in constructive learning activities that stress the importance of healthy eating, maintaining a balanced diet, practicing self-control when making food choices and decisions, and the importance of pursuing and maintaining habits that are constructive. The other Priority Outcomes programs focus on academic success and good character and citizenship.
“As we are serving at capacity (averaging more than 100 children per day), we see an incredible demand in Mount Vernon for positive, structured programming after-school and during the summer, and we deliver the best programs, with incredible results,” said Angela Freeberg, area director in Mount Vernon. “Partnering with Draper Valley, and our other community supporters, we are able to bring that impact to the kids who need us.”
“For many years, the Boys and Girls Club of Skagit County has been a strong educational and community partner in Mount Vernon and throughout the county,” said Mark Knight, Draper Valley Farms’ director of operations. “We are committed to making a difference in the community through partnerships like this, and proud to continue our support so that area children, including those of some of our own associates, learn the value of a healthy lifestyle.”
As Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Ron McHenry explains, “With the support of Draper Valley Farms, there is a great opportunity to continue teaching our youth about what goes into their food, what is involved in local farming, and what impact a great local business is able to have on the community. Going beyond the short chats about eating a balanced diet, this type of support from Draper Valley enables us to talk forcefully about why our priority outcomes programs matter in the lives of our youth, and in our community.
Healthy Lifestyles ultimately deals with choices and commitments, and what those choices can help the program accomplish. “When we ask our kids what it means to commit to health, they come to understand that the question is much more than just a discussion of food. As we center each of our Club activities to be fun and engaging, but also formative, in terms of their character, skills, and appreciation of the world around them, we establish the focus on how all three outcomes are united, and can lead to incredible results.”
Operating after-school each day, all six Clubs located in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro Woolley, are seeing incredible numbers since the start of the school year, according to McHenry.
“The support from Draper Valley Farms is a great example of how the partnership between local businesses and the Clubs serve the youth, create the opportunity for collaboration, and enable much greater discussion about the different jobs, skills, and demands there are throughout the community.”
About the Boys and Girls Clubs of Skagit County
At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Skagit County, our mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Our core belief is that each of our four clubs provides our members a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life-enhancing programs, character development experiences, and hope and opportunity. The Clubs serve more than 1,600 youth at facilities in Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. To learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs, visit www.skagitclubs.org.
About Draper Valley Farms
Draper Valley Farms has been a Northwest tradition since 1935, and today we remain singularly focused on providing carefully raised, fresh, local chicken to the Northwest. Our brands include DRAPER VALLEY FARMS® organic chicken, RANGER® free-range chicken and DRAPER VALLEY FARMS® no-antibiotics-ever chicken. With farms in Washington and Oregon, a feed mill in Washington and our processing plant in Mount Vernon, Washington, our chicken is raised, locally processed and locally available. To learn more, visit drapervalleyfarms.com.
Boys & Girls Club members recently made a visit to Cargill Animal Nutrition, in Burlington, to thank the staff team there for the renewed $3,500 investment on behalf of the 1,600+ youth members who attend the after-school & summer programs at the Clubs. Meeting with the manager, Andrew St. Lawrence, and many others from the mill team, Club members were able to talk about their favorite programs, what brought them to the Clubs, and the impact that they saw through the Club opportunities. “We share a common, and central passion—healthy lifestyles, and a grounded understanding of nutrition, and its effect on our wellbeing. Cargill has been a great partner,” John Garman, the Clubs’ Director of STEM Initiatives, remarked. “It’s great to work with companies who share our passion for youth, who focus on the healthy lifestyles of our communities, and who focus on nutritional science—from animals to people.”
Cargill Animal Nutrition, as an international leader in agriculture, nutrition, and feed products has been operating for more than 150 years. With a local mill operating in Burlington, and providing innovative animal nutrition solutions for most of the region, Cargill is one of the lead feed producers in Skagit County. The Boys & Girls Clubs’ partnership with Cargill is focused on Healthy Lifestyles programs, and reinforcing the habits & discussion of what leads to healthy lives, and healthy communities.”
The Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County is one of just fifteen organizations in the Pacific Region to be honored with the “League of EAGLES” Award. Reaching the milestone is a significant achievement, and is a testimony of the dedication and commitment of an organization’s Board of Directors and executive leadership to serving the youth of the local community at the highest level. The award recognizes the work of the 2015 Board of Directors, under the leadership of President Stephanie Hooper, local community leader, and owner of Bayside Specialties, Inc. “This award is most encouraging and an honor to be shared by many!”, says Hooper. “It is truly a reflection of the past and present dedicated leaders of our Board, Staff, and Volunteers; all of the committed people who have built this strong organization, providing us the opportunity to fulfill the Boys & Girls Club mission through positive impact in young lives that leads them to become productive, caring, responsible citizens.” The other officers of the Board honored include: Mark Lawrence, Vice President; Mike Gubrud, Vice President; Becky Taft, Treasurer; Carrie Wallace, Secretary; Annette Booth, Immediate Past President; Mike Crawford, Past President, and; Maggie Potter, Past President. Members Dr. Carl Bruner, Kelly Tuohig, Pat Barrett, Karen Ray, Tom Pasma, Mark Lione, and Holly Shannon round out the leadership team, who provided guidance, direction, and oversight of the most significant growth in organizational history.
The award will be presented to Mrs. Shannon and Mr. Lawrence, who will be attending the Pacific Leadership Conference for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Scottsdale, AZ this September. The recognition is just one of several recent successes and accolades received in the last year. Last fall, CEO Ron McHenry earned the Spark Award, given to one CEO in the Boys & Girls Club movement, the same day Board leadership accepted the Gateway to Impact Award for leading the movement in increasing the number of youth served at a record pace in just one year. Because of the significant growth and potential for even greater success, McHenry was provided a scholarship from the national Club organization to attend an intense post-grad program at Harvard University through the Kennedy School of Government in partnership with Harvard Business School. The organization is also participating in a Leadership Symposium as one of two representatives from the vast Pacific Region, and recently received an invitation to attend a School Partnership Forum in Miami, FL, courtesy of The Council of Great City Schools.
As a wrap up and celebration of the Club’s first program year of increasing STEM activities and programming, 31 teens were able to participate in a College Tour Road Trip. Thank you to Tesoro Corp. for sponsoring STEM programming at the Clubs and giving these these teens the opportunity to explore the colleges, universities, and trade schools of the Pacific Northwest.
Early Monday morning, August 15th, 2016, 31 Club teens and nine staff embarked on a journey of academic exploration through Washington, Idaho, Montana, and back in order to inspire their futures. Beginning with a visit of the Central Washington University campus and continuing on to Perry Technical Institute to learn what tech and trade schools are all about, teens learned that they don’t have to go far from home to obtain a post-secondary education. Other schools visited included Boise State University, Eastern Idaho Tech, Montana State University, University of Montana, and Eastern Washington University. It was eye opening and inspiring to hear what the teens had to say about each school; “This campus is beautiful, I could really see myself going here.” “This is the program I want to be in.” “I had no idea that this was even a thing.” “When’s lunch?” Out of all of the schools visited, Club members were most impressed with University of Montana and Eastern Washington University, not only because they have great programs, but also because the campuses are incredible and beautiful.
Another aspect of this trip was to meet new people, visit new places, and experience new things. This would have been a much different trip without help from friends of the Clubs. Thanks to the generosity of other Boys & Girls Clubs and friends of the community, the group had places to stay overnight and were well cared for. The Boys & Girls Club of Prosser, WA arranged an overnight location for everyone and also planned a BBQ dinner and exclusive swimming pool time at the aquatics center next to their Club. Thank you to new friends at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Magic Valley, ID for allowing the group to overnight in their amazing clubhouse and arranging for the group to shower up after a long day on the road. Reaching out to old friends of the Sedro-Woolley Club, the group had a place to stay in Bozeman, MT before touring MSU; thank you Shawna and Michael Wright who used to volunteer with the Sedro-Woolley Club.
As a special bonus on the trip, the group was able to spend some time at Yellowstone National Park and was able to view the Old Faithful geyser erupting and explore the visitor and education center at the park. The group was also able to make a special stop for lunch at the Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage, WA and discover what the park had to offer before their final trek home.
Things to look forward to: the Clubs are implementing a newly developed Tesoro STEM Academy program for the school year and have already begun plans for next summer’s college trip to include STEM programs and careers in Oregon, plus a special experience to witness a total solar eclipse in Newport, OR to kickoff the next adventure.
Photos from the trip are available on our Flickr photo album.
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.
We are so appreciative to Dwayne Lane’s North Cascade Ford for sponsoring our Sedro-Woolley Winter Fundraiser and for all the support they give our Clubs! Dwayne Lane’s recently made time for a thank you visit from our Sedro-Woolley Torch Club.
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.