The Kevin Oliver Memorial Leadership Award was established in 2014 to help recognize one youth each year who demonstrates the virtues of courage, perseverance, and humility, as exemplified in good character & leadership. This annual award, dedicated to the memory of Kevin Oliver, is given to the County-nominated Youth of the Year, as a way of enabling their participation in the State Youth of the Year program, and providing the opportunity for continued growth & maturation.
This yearly memorial of Kevin Oliver, recognizing his passion for the youth of Skagit County, and his dedication to personal improvement, was awarded to Kyla Whiton, to help cover the trip costs to Seattle & Olympia for the State Youth of the Year program. As we reflect on the purpose and impact of this Leadership Award, we are thrilled to see such a great return on the gracious support of the Olivers. Kyla’s performance throughout the process of preparing for Youth of the Year, and her hard work throughout the competition– is the best fulfillment of the Award’s purpose. We celebrate with the Olivers, all those who have contributed to the Award, with Kyla, and with all our Board, staff, and partners about the the opportunities for #GreatFutures that have been created.
Administration Office: CLOSED. Staff are available via their regular extensions through call forwarding and are working remotely.
Concrete: If evening activities are canceled by the Concrete School District, there will be no Club, and all youth should take their normal bus home. If evening transportation IS available, the Club will be open until the late buses leave at 5:30 pm. We expect this information following the morning bus run.
Mount Baker: OPEN
Mount Vernon: Closing at 5:00 pm.
Sedro-Woolley: Closing at 5:30 pm. Dinner will be served.
All Parents: Please pick up your Club members as soon as possible so staff can be sent out as numbers drop in facilities. We expect to see another storm roll in and would like to get people back home before it gets too bad.
“Why don’t we go to the moon anymore?” This question was asked by Gavin, a green-haired incoming 6th grader entering LaVenture Middle School. Gavin along with twenty other middle school students recently participated in Launch Camp, a NASA-inspired space program run by Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County. The youth came from all across Skagit County, from La Conner to Concrete, all united by a desire to better understand space.
Although the youth were disappointed that NASA no longer sends astronauts to the moon, they were excited by the possibility of establishing a Mars colony at some point in their future. During the four day camp, they learned how to program robotics, designed 3D printing models, learned about many of the principles of flights, and culminated the camp by launching water rockets. The activities enabled them to imagine becoming NASA scientists or even Mars colonists. At the end of the camp, all of the youth expressed a desire to continue learning about science and technology.
Many of the robotics and rocketry activities at Launch Camp came from the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pipeline (NESSP), a NASA-funded educational outreach program. “The kids loved the idea that NASA was investing in them,” said Nathan Allen, co-leader of Launch Camp, “We worked to make it clear that NASA invests in the future of science – that used to be moon landings but now it’s our youth.” During the school year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County will continue to use the NESSP’s curriculum resources to empower youth. In addition to robotics and rocketry, youth will learn about environmental science and contribute data to NASA scientists through the NASA Globe program.
Throughout the week, the youth at Launch Camp asked many excellent questions about space and the universe. But, on the last day, most of the participants asked the questions “can Launch Camp last longer?” and “will there be Launch Camp next year?” Youth in the Clubs will be empowered by Launch Camp and the lessons they learned for the rest of the school year.
Club members were able to visit the Seattle Art Museum this summer. Stefano Perruccio, the Clubs’ Art Specialist was one of the chaperones for the trip. Stefano spends time at each of the Clubs coming up with thoughtful art projects for the youth to participate in and he was especially excited about this opportunity. “The museum trip offered an exposure to a variety of art within many cultures all over the world, from modern, to traditional, to indigenous all in one space. I enjoyed witnessing their engagement and energy,” he said.
Tammy Findlay, Director of Marketing, was also able to make the trip and snap some photos. Of her experience on the trip, she said, “One of the first exhibits we viewed was a very large sculpture of an oversized black mouse sitting on top of a man lying in bed all in white. I asked one of the members if they had any thoughts on what it meant. They were confused by the question, but then had a very literal interpretation. ‘A big rat sat on him and he’s probably dead.’ I said I didn’t know what the sculpture meant, but that maybe the mouse represented something like anxiety. They said, ‘that’s weird!’ I continued asking members about details of various exhibits throughout, and soon members were coming up to me and sharing their interpretation of the art. I really enjoyed their thought process, and how they became more engaged when they realized that they were allowed to have an opinion about what they were viewing.”
In addition to admiring the works of art, kids were challenged to remain quiet, not touch the work and adhere to boundaries set by the museum. A difficult feat, to say the least, but they all did a masterful job overall. Stefano remarked that he wished museums were more accessible to a younger audience, more interactive, and not so “buttoned-up”. This might have been one of the reasons that they loved the Three Empathics virtual display, part of the African art collection. The dark room featured neon-projecting, changing images on the wall and on the floor while playing calming music. Some of the youth mimicked the poses of the 3 seemingly meditating or yogic figures and let the images display on them as they lay on the floor.
Stefano followed up the experience with an art project. He explained, “After the trip, members created their own masks with paper mâché, exploring all the different styles of masks that we saw at the museum, Pacific Islander, Latin American, African American, and Native American. This brought the experience full-circle and provided hands-on learning that was more relatable for them, instead of the strictly academic viewpoint of the museum. This gave them the opportunity to be directly engaged, creating, instead of only viewing.”
Exposure to different types of artwork has shown to have an impact on kids learning and overall academic health. Visiting the museum, and providing Club kids with an “adult” perspective on art is just one more tool that helps the Clubs achieve one of their priority outcomes of Academic Success.
Many people see “math” as a four letter word. In middle school, math begins to change for students and many students find the transition challenging. Instead of using operations that most calculators can do, students begin learning about more abstract concepts like negative numbers, functions, and proportional relationships. But, for one 6th grade student at La Venture Middle School, math is a challenge to be surmounted.
Wilfrido wants to become “un profesor de mathematics” — a mathematics professor. Wilfrido came to LaVenture part way through the year and has been focused on one goal, to complete as much of the online math program Khan Academy as possible. Amazingly, Wilfredo has finished working through all of the math concepts for 6th grade, most of the concepts for 7th grade, and has begun working on 8th-grade mathematics without an advantage given to most of his peers. Wilfrido only speaks Spanish.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County run an after-school program at LaVenture Middle School called Flying Falcons. During Flying Falcons, all members complete at least an hour of homework with staff assistance, a program known as Power Hour. Wilfrido completes as much math as possible during this time and will even choose to do math when more traditionally enjoyable activities are available.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Nathan Allen, Director of STEM Initiatives for Boys & Girls Clubs. “As a former middle school math teacher, I’ve seen students make huge gains during a year. But, I’ve never seen someone work persistently through two grade levels of math, let alone an English Language Learner. He’s extraordinary.” Because of Nathan’s history as a math teacher, Wilfrido will often come to him with math questions, often needing to teach Nathan Spanish in the process.
Some students will volunteer to help Wilfrido or translate for him, only to find that he understands the math more completely than them. Like his peers, he enjoys playing games on the computer and joking around with his friends. But, given the choice, he logs onto Khan Academy with a mischievous smile and searches for a new math concept to master.
Kylie is a third grader at Jefferson Elementary. She has only been coming to the Club since the beginning of this school year, but in that time she has shown great character through her respectful demeanor and the value she places on those around. She has been a wonderful addition to the Mount Vernon Club environment.
Boy of the Month
Manuel C. Age 10
Manuel is a fourth grader at Centennial Elementary. He has been part of our club for three and a half years. In that time, Manuel has shown himself a leader by participating in a variety of activities at the club, working hard on his homework and being respectful. We have so enjoyed having him be part of our club.
Samuel T. Age 9
Samuel is a fourth grader at Little Mountain Elementary. He has been part of our club since May 2017. When Sam is at the club you can almost always find him deeply immersed in whatever book he’s currently reading or doing his homework in Power Hour. He also participates in our outdoor games regularly. Overall, he is a well rounded young man who models the importance of expanding one’s mind on a regular basis.
Artist of the Month
Daisy M. Age 9
Daisy is a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary. She first joined our club in November 2015. Daisy is an absolute pleasure to be around her sweet, caring and respectful personality makes her a leader in the making. She is a creative person and loves participating in art. We are excited to see her continue to grow as a leader and as an artist.
Triple Play MVP (Sportsmanship Award)
Giovanni M. Age 9
Giovanni is a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary. He first joined our club in November 2015. When he’s at the club you can almost always find him outside participating in Triple Play or chatting with his friends in the gamesroom. He loves participating in a variety of outdoor activities and shows good sportsmanship as well. We are excited to see him continue to grow into a young leader.
“What is in a watershed?” Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club members pondered this question recently during a visit from the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group. Kids suggested objects as small as insects and as large as mountains only to find that all of those objects can be found in the Skagit Watershed, the region that feeds into and affects the Skagit River. As one member commented, “that must be a really big shed!
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County includes helping youth become caring and responsible citizens. For the kids at the Mount Venture Boys & Girls Clubs, they learned more about responsible citizenship by playing games. The constructed their own “river” by placing together their drawings of the Skagit River side by side to create a line. Then, Keelin Maurmann and Emily Jankowski from the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group asked each kid to pick up an item from around the room. Flanking both sides of their “river,” the kids passed all of their items to the person standing next to them until one person at the end held all of the items. The activity helped them visualize the accumulation of items in the Skagit River and helped them understand how littering affects salmon populations.
“Kids are incredibly intuitive,” says Nathan Allen, Director of STEM Initiatives for Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County. “They understand how throwing trash on the ground affects the water which affects salmon population. More importantly, they’re young enough to avoid any bad habits and to make a lifelong positive impact on the environment.”
Environmental education creates citizens who understand their impact on the world around them and helps to protect local businesses who rely on natural resources throughout the Skagit Watershed. Through educational opportunities like the visit from Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County not only help serve youth but help protect another vulnerable population, the salmon in the Skagit River.
Throughout the year, Club Members at the Anacortes Boys and Girls Club had the opportunity to spend an hour reading every day, thanks to a local partnership with the Anacortes Public Library, who were able to provide some special reading opportunities for youth through their Pop-up Library Program. The program began last summer, and was so popular that they decided to continue into the school year.
Children’s Librarian Leslie Wilson, visits the Anacortes Boys & Girls Club on a regular basis to host the Pop-Up Library. The system uses a new web-based library catalog that makes it possible to take library services out into the community.
Wilson said that they started doing Pop-up Libraries in May at a STEM event at the Middle School. And that it is surprisingly easy. “All we need is internet access. The Pop-up Library enables us to check out books, place holds, provide member info, issue new library cards, and more,” she said. Wilson explained that thru their weekly visits to the Club during the summer, they were able to streamline the process. “The program has really improved. It helped us figure out what worked and what didn’t, really fine tune the program.”
The Pop-up library was also very popular with the kids. “What I liked about the pop-up library was that we got to check out books without going to the real library. I also liked hearing the different stories Leslie read to us,” said Club Member Alaea Cerrillo. The Boys and Girls Club has a library of books that the kids can choose from, but the Pop-up Library expanded their choices.
“I could tell how excited the kids were, because of how patiently they waited to check out their books. We run choice-based programs at the Club, so there are activities going on simultaneously. Lots of kids were choosing to look at the library books that were brought in and check out new ones for next time.” said the Club’s Marketing Director, Tammy Findlay.
Wilson explained, “The Club members really enjoyed being able to request books. It was great seeing how excited kids were getting them. It also helped us really tailor the program to meet the kid’s interest.” Some of the most popular requests included Guinness Book of World Records, Pete the Cat, and graphic novels.