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The Jungle Book!

July 1st, 2015

On Friday, June 26th, we had the pleasure of taking 24 Club Members to see The Jungle Book at Circle Theatre. To add even more to the trip, two of our Performing Arts staff had parts in the play! The kids loved seeing staff performing on stage. The show was performed on a wonderful set that had multiple platforms and even ropes that the cast would swing from.

The story of Mowgli, the human baby raised by a pack of wolves in the jungle was new to some of our members, while some had seen the Disney movie. Cast members had masks and costumes so we would know what type of jungle animal they were, from the wolves to Baloo the bear, Shere Khan the tiger (played by Club Staff Titus Hankins) and more. The cast was very engaging and members commented afterward that they enjoyed watching Mowgli find his identity and gain confidence, ultimately realizing he could find common ground in more than one culture. 

After the show, Club members met the cast in the lobby and had their programs autographed. On the way back to the Clubs, a few members expressed excitement at the thought of being in a play one day. It brought smiles to all of our faces to see young people dream and imagine exciting futures for themselves. Great futures start here, indeed. 

 

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Congrats to our Summer Staff ROCK STARS!

June 30th, 2015

We're starting a new tradition at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids! Each week of summer, we will be celebrating the “Rock Star” staff at each of our three Clubs. These are staff members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Please help us take the time to recognize them for being such Youth Development Rock Stars!

Week 1:

Paul I. Phillips: Andrew Otten

Seidman: Jessica Faleni

Steil: Ashley Copier

Week 2:

Paul I. Phillips: Taurean Pruitt

Seidman: Brad Whitby

Steil: Katrina Beals

Check back for our future Rock Star winners!

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June's Youth of the Month!

June 17th, 2015

Our Youth of the Month (YOM) program spotlights a Club member who truly represents the mission of our Clubs. Staff will decide on a YOM based on their involvement in different activities and behavior. It is a program that helps to build our participation in the national Youth of the Year program.

Congratulations to June's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club (Elementary): McKenna
Why Staff Selected McKenna: We chose McKenna for Youth of the Month because she is a friend to everyone at the Club. She is quick to welcome our new summer members and invite people to play with her. She participates in every program area and is a joy to have at our Club.

Steil Club (Teen): Jose
Why Staff Selected Jose: 
Jose is a respectful, helpful young man. He can often be found helping Ms. Katrina in the office. He often helps without being asked and he does not expect a reward.

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Jerniya
Why Staff Selected Jerniya: She loves to help around the Club, especially at the front desk and the Learning Center. We appreciate all her assistance!

 

 

Seidman Club: Jose
Why Staff Selected Jose: He shows great character in our Club! We could not be prouded of Jose!

 

 

 

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believe 2 Become : Young Bo$$es

June 14th, 2015

As part of the believe 2 Become initiative, 30 middle school Club members will participate in our Young Bo$$es program this summer.

Believe 2 Become is a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids children, and expect them to succeed. Believe 2 Become is creating real opportunities for children and youth to become the people they aspire to be.

Young Bo$$es runs for six weeks, Monday-Friday from 2-6 PM starting on June 15th. Fridays will include field trips to local businesses and events.

The students will learn about what it takes to mount a successful business, develop financial literacy, and practice communication skills. Participants will be split into teams, and each team will develop a business canvas to present to the Board for up to $1,500 in funding.

Each team will give their presentations on Thursday, July 9 from 4:30-6 PM at our Paul I. Phillips Club location. After that, we will facilitate each team’s transition from planning and development to the launch of their businesses.

At the end of the six weeks, each team will donate 10% of any profits to a local non-profit or charity of their choice and split the remainder amongst themselves (any profits exceeding a certain dollar amount will then get placed in a scholarship fund for the team members).

See more about believe 2 Become and their other programming opportunities!

Stay tuned for more updates on this program! Click here to follow along.

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Meet NEW Camp O'Malley Director!

June 10th, 2015

It's time to get to know our NEW! Camp Director Tim Horton a little better...

Q: What is your background? What did you do before Camp O’Malley?

 

A: I have a bachelor's degree from Ferris State University in Recreation Management, and a Master's Degree from Central Michigan in Administration of Leisure Services. I have worked in other camp settings including a camp for emotionally impaired youth. I worked for several years in a school-based behavioral treatment program, in a residential treatment center, and even taught for three years. Prior to coming to Camp O' Malley, I was a transporter/youth care worker and a Family Treatment Facilitator.  I even worked some construction for a year or so.  

Q: What are you most excited about this Summer?

A: What excites me most about Camp is the opportunity to give young people who have had limited opportunities and experiences a chance to be at Camp and just enjoy being a kid.

Q: Did you go to camp as a child? What is your favorite camp memory?

A: I remember going to camp as a child and still have many vivid memories of those camp experiences. There is just something very unique and special about the summer camp environment. Specifically, I remember going swimming every day and getting to know new people. Though I would often miss home and my family, in the end it turned out to be a valuable growth experience for me.  

Q: What unique experiences does Camp O’Malley provide youth?

A: Though sometimes individuals are not always certain about the benefits of camp, I would encourage anybody and everybody who has the opportunity to come to camp (especially Camp O' Malley) to take advantage of it while they can. There will come a day when those opportunities, like going to camp, are no longer available, and you may perhaps look back with regret. However, for those of you who still are of camp age, Camp O' Malley is replete with activities that will challenge you, humor you, encourage you, and help you meet new friends. Whether it's our ropes course, our climbing wall, our swimming pool, or the Up and Over Wall, Camp O' Malley has always been, and will continue to be, that special place for kids to have fun, discover new things, and create memories they can cherish for a lifetime.      

Q: What’s a hidden talent you have?

A: Something unique about me is that I am an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, and have been known to throw a Frisbee almost the full distance of a football field.    

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Graduate 4 Mas

June 1st, 2015

Graduate 4 Mas is an annual BGCA event sponsored by Taco Bell and the YUM! Brand. Thanks to a donation from our partners at Taco Bell, we were able to throw a pep rally-style party at Seidman Club for our Clubs’ teens to encourage them to stay on track to graduate high school! Along with a generous monetary donation, Taco Bell donated a nacho bar to our cause to feed the teens and staff.

We had two special guest dance troops- one being the local Grand Rapids “Lil Mamas” dance group, and the other being three of our very own members from the performing arts program! The night was headlined by an inter-club dodgeball game and prize raffle where members won gift certificates to GameStop and Reynold’s & Son’s. Throughout the rally, all of the members used the Learning Center computers to make a pledge to graduate!

We would like to formally thank Taco Bell and partners for the opportunity to host the Graduation 4 Mas event this year!

And CONGRATS to our high school graduates!

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May's Youth of the Month!

May 20th, 2015

Our Youth of the Month (YOM) program spotlights a Club member who truly represents the mission of our Clubs. Staff will decide on a YOM based on their involvement in different activities and behavior. It is a program that helps to build our participation in the national Youth of the Year program.

Congratulations to May's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club (Teen): Jovon
Why Staff Selected Jovon: Jovon is a leader in the Club. He has grown a lot over the past few months because he listens to the advice of the leaders around him. He is a team player, and we are glad that he walks through our front door every day!

Steil Club (Elementary): Nyleese
Why Staff Selected Nyleese: We picked Nyleese because she is very helpful in all program areas. She volunteers at dinner, checking in backpacks, and organizing books in the Learning Center. It is a pleasure to have Nyleese at our Club. 

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Tsyre
Why Staff Selected Tsyre: He is always very kind and helpful around the Club. He likes to carry all of his classmates' backpacks to the Club from school. He also has earned the most Power Hour points of any student at Paul I. Phillips Club this year.

Seidman Club: Perry
Why Staff Selected Perry: Perry has been a Club member for six years at Seidman Club. He is a junior staff member who helps staff around the Club without hesitation and always has. We are very proud to have Perry as May's Youth of the Month!

 

 

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2015 Volunteer of the Year!

May 20th, 2015

Congratulations to our 2015 Volunteer of the Year, Norine Cunningham!

Norine has been a volunteer at our Paul I. Phillips Club for the past two years. Norine first came to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids as a volunteer with the Grand Valley State University Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program.

In addition to her time with the program, Norine has continued to support Boys & Girls Club members by volunteering her personal time to assist in the Learning Center, art room, gym, and cafeteria.

Norine is such a wonderful addition to the Paul I. Phillips team, and we are so grateful for her generous donation of her time and talents!

 

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#1 Louise "Punky" Edison said:

Congratulations to Norine.....a well deserved honor.

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BGC National Conference

May 19th, 2015

I was honored and privileged to attend the 109th Boys & Girls Clubs National Conference in Chicago last week. Magnificent Milestones was the conference theme with 2015 being the 50th Anniversary of the National Area Council Committee, 25 years since the name change to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and 25 years for the Alumni Hall of Fame. 

Areas of focus included using data to improve Club members experience, teen recruitment, and panel discussions about best practices for Club safety.

I also had the opportunity to hear many different speakers, including leadership expert Jim Collins, author of the bestselling book, "Good to Great", Dr. Kenneth Ginsberg, Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major league Baseball, and BGCA CEO Jim Clark. Overall, it was a truly inspiring experience celebrating the journey to Great Futures.

Great Futures Start Here!

– Rick Huisman, Executive Director

 


 

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What a Show!

May 12th, 2015

It’s hard for me wrap my mind around the fact that we just put on our 3rd annual Music Makers Spring Concert. As we close out the third school year of having Performing Arts programming at the Clubs full-time, I am so thankful for all the support we receive from our Board of Directors, our Executive Director Rick Huisman, our staff and you, our supporters. It’s an amazing process to watch young people find confidence and feel successful expressing themselves through the Arts. Allow me to shine a small light on how the process of putting on our concerts works…

First of all, the Performing Arts staff (consisting of myself, Deborah Carroll and Titus Hankins) begin to talk about what the concert will look like and what we hope to achieve. Then we take it to the kids; what songs do they want to perform? We compile a list and see what resonates the most and feels organic. Deborah and Titus begin to teach the singers their parts, and I begin to put together the BGC Band arrangements with our young guitarists, pianists, and percussionists/drummers. For many weeks and months, we rehearse. And rehearse. And rehearse. Of course, along the way we laugh, we smile. We might have a moment of frustration, but we always push through.

Finally, show week comes. We take members from all three locations and bus them to Wealthy Theatre the day before the show for the one rehearsal they will have together. Yes, one rehearsal together. You’d be astonished at how wonderfully they all work together to achieve our common goal, even though they don’t always know one another. They’ve all learned the same music, so that is our common bond. We practice getting on and off stage and run as much of the show as we can.

Show day – it arrives in a flurry of excitement and nerves. T-shirts and programs are being picked up from the printers. Rosters, food for the performer after-party, and “Performers Only” VIP signs are made. Everyone heads to the theatre, and we prepare for a stellar evening. The atmosphere is full of energy and anticipation. We give them the final pep talk about five minutes before we take the stage, and we’re off!

This year’s concert consisted of many songs with a common theme: love and acceptance. Colbie Caillat’s “Try” states “Look into the mirror, at yourself/ Don’t you like you?/ Cause I like you.” Another highlight this year was performing “Glory” by John Legend and Common which focuses on the Civil Rights Movement. It was an emotional performance which had many of us near tears. We closed the show with every single performer on stage singing and playing “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, complete with an extended jam session at the end that had the kids dancing and moving while they sang. And this little number too...

 

Our 3rd Spring Concert was a night we will never forget. Our members felt successful and happy, and seeing that written on their faces was the icing on the cake. There is no doubt in my mind that this program changes lives. I see it every day. Having the opportunity to go out and perform for the community was a perfect way to close out another fantastic school year of Performing Arts programming. Here’s to more magical moments ahead of us!

– Casey Stratton, Director of Performing Arts

See photos from this special event here!

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#1 Patty Reddicks said:

Wonderful piece! Great video and pix.

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Our Mission

To enable all young people to reach their full potential as responsible citizens through education, recreation, and other positive community experiences in partnership with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Contact Us

for direct numbers to specific departments and staff visit the contact page.

Admin/Steil Club

rhuizenga@bgcgr...

(616) 233.9370

235 Straight Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI
49504

Paul I. Phillips Club

sflood@bgcgrand...

(616) 719.0775

726 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI
49503

Seidman Club

dowens@bgcgrand...

(616) 452.0061

139 Crofton Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI
49507

Camp O'Malley

tim@campomalley...

(616) 871.6551

7360 Thornapple Dales
Alto, MI
49302