Winter 2022 Newsletter

The past few months at the Clubs have been busy! Here are some highlights:

SPS Commerce employees assembled hundreds of bikes donated by SPS Commerce, which were then donated to BGCTC and Club members. With the help of board members and Great Lakes Coca-Cola, bikes were delivered to each Club location. Youth had the very special opportunity to pick out a bike of their own that they could take home.

These donations are so incredible as they provide essential items to kids and families. We are very grateful to everyone who helped to make this happen!

Club members had the opportunity to attend a performance of “Beauty and the Beast” at The Ordway this month. They had a great time dressing up, meeting the actors, and singing along to all of their favorite songs from the movie.

They were excited to see actors that looked like them on the stage and felt inspired to follow their dreams, too. Outings like this help Club youth feel represented out in their community and bring them confidence and pride.

A group of local educational publishers collaborated to implement brand new age-appropriate K-5 hardcover libraries at six Club locations over the past few months! These books are labeled by reading level and cover diverse topics, genres, and characters for all ages.

We’ve hosted grand opening celebrations for each library with local authors and books for everyone to take home. Thank you to our publishing partners for coming together to donate 1,000 new books per Club. 

Jerry Gamble Club members participated in “Lights on After School,” a nationwide celebration of after school programs, by making tie-dye shirts for their self-care teddy bears! They learned about the science behind how tie-dye works and talked about the importance of self-care.

As we continue to stress the importance of SEL programming and mental wellness in the Clubs, activities like this are important. They teach youth that hands-on learning can make an impact on their daily lives, academically and emotionally.

Old National Bank partnered with the Clubs to provide financial education for Club teens. On school-release day, teens learned about investments, money management, homeownership, and entrepreneurship. Teens asked questions about specific financial scenarios and received guidance from the Old National Bank presenters.

Teaching financial literacy is vital to preparing BGCTC teens for a successful future, and we’re proud to see these Club members talk about finances confidently.

At the Mt. Airy Club, some awesome STEAM mentors have been heading over to the Club weekly to work with members on fun and educational activities. They conduct science experiments, build with blocks and popsicle sticks, work on art projects, and more. This gives youth the opportunity to try out an array of STEAM-related activities and discover what really interests them. They often have something to take home and share with their families, showing what they’ve worked on at the Club and how proud they are of their new skills.

“Mentor Mondays” are just one example of how mentorship and volunteerism can make a difference in Club members’ lives.

The East Side Club hosted a party for teens from all BGCTC Club sites. Teens planned a menu, hand-made some food items, created a volleyball competition roster, set up a laser tag course, and built a photo booth.

As they prepared for the party, they learned to delegate and work as a team. The planning process taught them the ins and outs of making events like this happen, gave them opportunities to think quickly about last minute changes, and helped them share the responsibility for the outcome of the evening.

Last week we had a blast celebrating the brand-new Panda Cares Center of Hope at the Al Lenzmeier West Side Club. We played fun games, ate a delicious dinner, and dreamed of how we’ll be using this newly renovated space.

This space is designated for middle school Club members, who will finally have a space to call their own. In the Center of Hope they can focus on academics, art, STEAM, and whatever else ignites their passion.

Thank you, Panda Express, for investing in this community!

In October, US Bank, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Minnesota Lynx employees hosted a financial literacy workshop at Target Center for BGCTC Club members from the Jerry Gamble, Patrick Henry High School, and Centennial Middle School Clubs! Youth participated in financial literacy trivia games with US Bank’s very own President & CEO, Andy Cecere, learning important concepts on how to open a bank account, save for education or retirement, using debt responsibly, and maybe even running a business someday.

Financial literacy is a key component in BGCTC’s Teen Pathways programming.

BGCTC’S very first Best Buy Teen Tech Center is up and running and bustling with activity! This state-of-the-art facility was made possible by Best Buy Foundation, EY, and Al & Kathy Lenzmeier. The grand opening celebration featured multiple speakers, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Best Buy Teen Tech Center Coordinator David Le.

After the short program, Club members got to show off the facility and help attendees create stickers, t-shirts, pins, and more! These youth are full of talent and passion, and we can’t wait to see what they will create now that they have such amazing technology and equipment at their disposal.

During Native American Heritage Month, BGCA celebrated 30 years of Boys & Girls Clubs on Native lands at the 2022 Native Summit. We’re honored that some of the amazing staff from our Little Earth Club were able to attend the summit in Orlando.

These staff members are positive role models for the young people in their Club and beyond, helping them achieve success in all aspects of their lives, empowering them to explore their passions, and building dreams for a great future with them.

Math and literacy stations have been very successful this fall! Last week at Mt. Airy, members were working on sight word scavenger hunts, roll and read math problems, letter sounds and alphabet recognition.

Having diverse and always-changing educational activities like these make learning fun for Club members. If one method doesn’t connect, there are always other ways to help youth grasp a concept. We’re proud of Club youth and staff for working so hard to make education something to look forward to!

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