Blog Posts

A Field Trip to the Seattle Art Museum

Youth observe “Mann und Maus” on display at the Seattle Art Museum.

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.

Un Profesor De Mathematics

LaVenture Club member Wilfredo is becoming quite the math whiz!

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.

Fun in the Sun with Triple Play

Mount Vernon Club hosts a water balloon toss in the warm weather

From a simple game of Duck-Duck-Goose, to a live full size games of Battleship, Triple Play always has a way to make exercising fun and active for our Club kids.

Triple Play is the second most used program both in our Clubs, and nationally, right behind the Power Hour program. Triple Play is designed to give kids different ways to stay active and is a game plan for the mind, body, and soul.

Sedro Woolley Members play a freestyle game of soccer

Every game we play encourages social interactions, teamwork, strategy, and being active, and we love mixing it up to keep things fresh. Games such as five-finger-soccer, which has the same rules of soccer but instead of kicking the ball around, when someone gets the ball they have to stand still and throw it to teammates, encourage teamwork, collaboration, and activity. Meanwhile other games such as Bow and Stern, an edited more intense version of Simon Says, focus on staying sharp and on your feet ready to move.

Triple Play brightens our kid’s days and gives them a fun chance to play and interact with each other.

Mount Vernon Library Hosts Weekly Story Time at the Mount Vernon Club

The Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon is usually full of color, sound, and activity everywhere you look. But every Thursday, there is a pocket of near silence among the organized chaos of the Club as members have the option to walk into a quiet room, stocked with coloring sheets and colored pencils. There, members can take a quick break in a relaxing, calm, quiet environment as a part of “Story Time with Callie”.

Callie Shoemaker, Mount Vernon library assistant, has continued this long-running tradition at the Mount Vernon Club. “When I took over the position, this was one of the projects I decided I’d keep going” said Callie. Every week, for just over two years now, a library assistant has come to the Club to read to members as the members get to relax, color, and listen to the stories.

Story Time is a part of a larger program at the Mount Vernon Club called Project Learn. Every week there are 

different themes for the days, such as Limerick day or National Walnut Day. Callie takes these themes and brings in a selection of books based on them.

“I really like bringing in some books related to the theme, new arrivals in the library, and some personal favorites to read to the kids” said Callie. The members get to choose which books they want Callie to read.

Sedro Woolley Teens Invite Guest Speakers for Career Launch

As kids start to get into middle school and high school, they are asked more and more frequently to start making important decisions about what they want to do with their lives. Career Launch is a program that gives members new tools to help make these important decisions.

Every week, Teen Centers in our Clubs invite guest speakers to share their experiences with the members. Our teens have heard from a variety of people in different professions, and different stages of their professional careers.

This week the Sedro Woolley teens welcomed Holly Shannon as guest speaker. Holly is a lawyer and has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County for the past 3 years. She currently serves as Board President.

As part of our Career Launch programming, Holly spoke about receiving a Bachelor’s degree in History from Western Washington University and her Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University. The members heard about how every day is different and how she works with around 300 clients! Fortunately, not all 300 of them need something every day.

Originally, Holly wanted to be a teacher but after looking into the law field and its history, she decided she’d rather be a lawyer. This sentiment, of discovering a new interest and pursuing it as a career, has been a common one with guest speakers. It’s a valuable lesson for our members to hear as we encourage them to make plans for their Great Futures!

Thanks for stopping by Holly! The teens really enjoyed having you visit and hearing about an exciting profession!

The Anacortes Club and The First Tee Link Up

Youth Gain an Introduction to Golf Basics

Last week the Anacortes Boys & Girls Club and The First Tee linked up to provide a unique experience for Club members. The snow was falling, but that did not stop local golf pro Tom Perry and First Tee Coordinator Kjell Carlsen from teaching 15 eager Club members basic golf skills in the Anacortes Club’s gym.

The First Tee is an internationally recognized youth program that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. The learning program focuses on nine core values – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Anacortes’ local First Tee chapter is sponsored by Anacortes Sunrisers Kiwanis Club in partnership with Swinomish Golf Links, two organizations that also support the Boys & Girls Clubs. The program hopes to provide opportunities for fun, self-confidence, and sportsmanship skills for the kids who participate in their program. They offer Golf Clinics for ages 7-18, as well as a tournament in August. 

For most Club members, this was their first introduction to the game. Using oversized golf clubs, tennis balls, and velcro targets, members were able to safely achieve success. They worked on putting and chipping and tried to stay focused on “keeping their Y” in their golf swing with mentorship provided by Tom & Kjell.  

The First Tee Link Program and Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County share values that align for a great partnership, including the idea that any kid who wants to be part of the program will have an opportunity to do so. Moving forward, The First Tee hopes to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County to reach a diverse group of kids who have an interest in the sport of golf.

Those interested in learning more about The First Tee Link Program can visit www.anacortestft.com

February – Youth of the Month

Congrats to Mount Vernon’s Awardees for February

Girl of the Month

Kylie M. Age 9

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.

Kylie M.

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.

Manuel C.

Homework All-Star

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.

Samuel T.

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.

Daisy M.

 

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.

Giovanni M.

The Biggest Shed in Skagit Valley

“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.

Pop-up Library brings books to the Anacortes Club

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.

Mount Vernon Club receives new HVAC units

This past summer, in the middle of a heat wave, the Mount Vernon Boys & Girls Club’s aging A/C and Heating units decided to call it quits. The financial impact facing the non-profit organization serving hundreds of kids was daunting. With Summer in full swing, and with kids in programming from 7am-6pm daily, CPI Plumbing & Heating came to the rescue. CPI began work immediately to look into repairing the units, donating their time and labor.

After many attempts and hours of work it was determined that the units would have to be replaced. CPI HVAC Manager Steve Murray immediately began working on finding a solution, working with local companies to make the replacement possible. They reached out to Gensco Inc. requesting that they donate the HVAC system, and Gensco agreed to donate two new units! The installation also required a crane, and Barnhardt Cranes was able to provide the crane free of charge. On October 5th, all three came together to complete the installation. When the project was complete, CPI’s leadership and advocacy resulted in $14,514.64 of labor and equipment donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

“Our experience with CPI has been wonderful. They showed a willingness to go above and beyond what was expected to help out the Club and the kids.” said Club Director, Angela Freeberg. “We survived the heat of the summer, and are also extremely grateful to them for our nice warm Club as the days get colder!”