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Blue Doors for BGC Week!

March 24th, 2015

This week is Boys & Girls Club Week!

With the help of 17 amazing volunteers from Nestlé, our youth painted 3 blue doors and colored blue door print-outs to kick off the fun!

A special thanks to the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County ReStore for donating the doors!

See more photos here!

 

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March's Youth of the Month!

March 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 March's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club: A'nijah
Why Staff Selected A'nijah: We chose A'nijah for Youth of the Month because she is someone who treats everyone with respect. She is a hard worker and has lots of determination. She resists peer pressure to be like everyone else and is refreshingly unique.

Steil Club: Jovon
Why Staff Selected Jovon: Jovon is a someone who is very helpful throughout the Club. You can often see him making good choices even when those around him are not. He is very respectful to staff and his peers. Jovon is a team player.

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Derricka
Why Staff Selected Derricka: Derricka helps out around the Club a lot with cleaning and some administrative tasks. Derricka is also very happy to participate in any project or program.

 

 

Seidman Club: Naton
Why Staff Selected Naton: Naton is always very helpful around the Club and helps out around the office whenever asked. She is a great leader and role model for young members in the Club. Naton also was one of the three 2015 Youth of the Year candidates.

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Meijer Volunteers Create Change

March 6th, 2015

On Wednesday, March 4th about 35 volunteers from Meijer joined us at our Paul I. Phillips Club to help get it ready for the construction of a new teen space. The group came together as a team building activity and to give back to their community.

“Meijer was built upon a fundamental philosophy of supporting the communities where our customers and team members work and live,” said Charles Delgado, vice president of asset protection for Meijer. “That includes spending time volunteering with worthwhile organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids. My team and I really enjoyed helping the club get ready for a remodel. We organized, cleaned and painted. But most importantly, we helped an organization that does so much good in our community.”

Thanks so much to Meijer and all their volunteers! We could not do all that we do without the support of volunteers like you.

Want to get involved? Find out more here!

 

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2015 Youth of the Year!

March 3rd, 2015

Youth of the Year gives us an amazing opportunity to spotlight our Club Members and hear how they are making a difference not only in the Clubs, but at school, in the community, and at home.  We get the opportunity to hear from them about the Clubs are doing, and how our programming is affecting the neighborhoods and the community at large.  The Youth of the Year Celebration Luncheon is our favorite event for that reason.  We are able to sit down with 350 of our closest friends and listen to the stories of our Club Members.  Supporters like you are crucial to our mission of building a brighter future for the children in our community, and through the gifts of all at the luncheon we were able to raise over $40,000 for the youth of Grand Rapids.

Most of our 350 attendees probably haven’t eaten a box luncheon in a gymnasium for a long time, but we wanted to bring that feeling back with our luncheon, and have everyone directly feel the Boys & Girls Clubs and what we bring to the children of Grand Rapids.  We are grateful for our sponsors that were able to help bring this luncheon to life.  Steelcase, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Genius Phone Repair, Reynolds & Sons, A1 Irrigation, and Handcrafted Systems all came on board in 2015.  BarFly Events was able to provide the delicious lunch that everyone enjoyed.  A huge big thank you to our committee members who worked hard for three months leading up to the event securing judges, sponsors, attendees, and donations.

This year, we wanted to make sure our three candidates also had a little fun, so we added the Hollywood-themed After Party for our Club members, Staff, Candidates, and Friends.  We had 40 Club members celebrate the accomplishments of our Candidates and the new 2015 Youth of the Year Chelsea Flemings.  We had dinner, a special dessert, dancing, and a performance by one of their favorite artists and former Club staff member.

Our Character and Leadership programs, like Keystone and Youth of the Year, teach kids their true strength and empowers them to transform their communities.  Our Youth of the Year 2015 winner Chelsea Flemings says, “Throughout my Club experience I have seen several different characteristics and backgrounds in which many of the members come from.  This makes my drive to help young people even stronger.”  Our Clubs open the door to youth, like Chelsea, who are looking for a place to call their own.

See photos from this year's luncheon here!
See photos from the afterparty here!

 

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Justice Summit with local officers

March 1st, 2015

At the end of February, we set up a Justice Summit facilitated by former Seidman Club Director, Mike Remo, and his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. They brought the Wyoming Police Chief, Huemartin Robinson (Census control of Juvenile Detention), and Stacy McGinnis (Juvenile Detention Superintendent) over to Seidman Boys & Girls Club to sit on a panel with our own Grand Rapids Police Officer Mike Harris to talk to our members about recent national, state, and community events. 

The summit was an open floor forum about community-to-police relations. It was built to shine a light on the current situation in the community and offer insight on ways to improve relations. "I feel like the summit had a positive impact on our Club members because it allowed them to get a look at the inside of the police department, and see the truth about expectations and operations," said Seidman Education Coordinator Kenneth Reed.

We look forward to bringing more summit nights to our Clubs!

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February's Youth of the Month!

February 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 February's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club: Amy
Why Staff Selected Amy: She is such a hard worker. Amy can be seen helping others when she finishes her homework early and is very patient when doing so. She always asks how she can help out in any situation. Amy is truly a leader among her peers.

Steil Club: Jadia
Why Staff Selected Jadia: Jadia is our Teen Youth of the Month at Steil.  She has come a long way in the past few months.  She is helpful and respectful.  She offers assistance without being asked.

 

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Tristiana
Why Staff Selected Tristiana: She is our Youth of the Month because she is always in a good mood. She is friendly to everyone and is always very helpful to the staff.

 

 

Seidman Club: Mattea
Why Staff Selected Mattea: Mattea is a bright young lady with a promising future. She is always available to help out at Seidman Boys & Girls Club with staff and the young members, that is why Mattea was chosen the Youth of the Month.

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Camp O'Malley Summer 2015 Schedule

February 11th, 2015

Leadership Training: May 26-29  
All Staff Training: June 1-5, June 8-12

Session 1: June 15-18 | Safari Week (Ages 8-12) 
EXCLUSIVE WEEK FOR MLK ELEMENTARY STUDENTS. Campers get ready for an adventure packed week at camp. Enjoy adventure competitions, biking, rock climbing, swimming, sports, zip lining and more!  

Session 2: June 22-26 | Holiday Week! (Ages 8-13)
Celebrate Valentine's Day, Halloween, and Christmas. Campers get to trick or treat, exchange presents with other cabins and make valentines for one another. 

Session 3: June 29-July 1 | Safari Week (Ages 6-8) 
Frogs and turtles and birds oh my! Grab your binoculars and join us as we go on a safari all around Camp O’Malley! Campers will make their own safari vest and binoculars to wear on our rainforest adventure! 

Session 4: July 6-10 | Zombie Week (Ages 12-14)
Get ready for zombie hunts throughout the camp! Have fun dressing up like zombies or be a part of the team that fights them off! 

Session 5: July 13-17 | Girl Power! (All Girls Ages 8-12) 
Girl power is all about balancing out all that fun camp action with some awesome girl time. You can expect manicures, pedicures and face masks when you aren’t conquering our high ropes course or showing the world how awesome you are at fruit loop wars!

Session 6: July 20-24 | Survivor Week (Ages 10-13)
Campers will get to compete against other “tribes” for fun daily competitions. Who will be the last cabin to survive? Sign up and find out! 

Session 7: July 27-31 | Hollywood Week (All Girls Ages 7-11)
Get ready as we roll out the red carpet for our special DIVA banquet. Girls will enjoy spa night, laugh at our Miss America Pageant, and enjoy a night of karaoke… singing songs from their favorite Hollywood artists. 

Session 8: August 3-7 | Super Hero Week (Ages 8-12)
Bring a costume of your favorite superhero or make one at camp! Campers will use their strength, agility and super powers to play super hero games like capture the villain and save the counselor!

Comments

#1 Mellisa Cook said:

When can we register our campers?

#2 nancy Ojenus said:

I would like to know how to register

#3 melissa said:

how do i register for session 5 and also my daughter went to camp last summer for 5$ how do i go about bought that again this up coming summer

#4 kerri said:

When can we register?

#5 Tracy Powell said:

I was wondering when I can register my son, he is 13yo adopted and would like him to experience camp omally as I did 40 years ago! I am a disabled veteran on a fixed income! I get 1200$/month with 4children! And is there any help to cover the cost of the camp!
Thank you
Tracy Powell

#6 MICHELLE DEYOUNG said:

Is there not a teen week this year?

#7 Jessica Samczyk said:

I would like to register 3 children for camp. Is there any help for cost?

#8 Alicia Sayer said:

I would like to know the cost per child I have two and would love for them to experience what I did back when I went to this camp when I was 9 that was back 21 years ago but I did have a lot of fun there =D Thanks

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January's Youth of the Month!

January 21st, 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 January's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club: Larissa
Why Staff Selected Larissa: Larissa is Youth of the Month because she is an outstanding Club member who treats everyone with respect. Every day Larissa finishes her homework before playing and is quick to help out whenever staff needs assistance.

Steil Club: Tommy
Why Staff Selected Tommy: 
Tommy is Youth of the Month because he is respectful to staff and a leader to the teens.  He is quick to help and listens when asked to do something.

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Trinity
Why Staff Selected Trinity: We chose her because she attends the Club nearly every day and greets the staff and the other students with a smile. Trinity participates in a variety of programs and can always be counted on when someone need a hand.

Seidman Club: Jahaan
Why Staff Selected Jahaan: Jahaan is always willing to help out and take part in activities at the Club. He is a great Club member to have around!

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Finding your Aha Moment!

December 15th, 2014

Written by Director of Programming Erin Crison (pictured above)

For every person, there is something that grounds them to this earth, something that gives them a sense of belonging, usefulness and competency, something that makes them go “aha.” For me as a child, that “aha” moment came through the pages of a book, and that moment would have never happened without my mother. With all the bookcases in my living room and the totes of even more books in my basement, it amazes me and the people who know me that I was that kid, the kid who couldn’t read in school. I was the child who wasn’t getting it. I was the child that the teachers gave up on.

But not my mom. My mother spent countless hours and ways trying to figure out what was missing for me. Why wasn’t her baby who loved sitting on her grandmother’s lap listening to her read stories reading? And then one day, and I still remember this day, she gave me a copy of the first book I ever read on my own, it was a copy of “The Boxcar Children” – the greatest book ever written. And I had my “aha” moment. 

You see, it wasn’t that I couldn’t read, it was that I couldn’t be bothered by the little one word per page beginner books that students were given to read in school. Why would I want to learn to read the word “ball” when there was a picture directly above it? I wasn’t interested, but give me a book about a family of four siblings surviving on their own in a boxcar, and I was hooked. I was so hooked that by the time I was in fifth grade, I was reading high school and beyond reading material. 

Books were my “aha” moment. Books were what kept me grounded to reality. They kept me feeling like I belonged even though I spent my childhood changing schools and moving across the country as an Air Force brat.

Now, as a mother, I have seen that “aha” moment in the eyes of my 2-year-old boy every time he picks up a basketball. Every time he is in our Clubs, this little boy marches three feet into our gyms, picks up a full size adult basketball, and launches it confidently towards the baskets. He believes that he is going to make it every time…and some day he will. He has found his “aha” moment.

I have seen these “aha” moments take place within our Club members as well. 

When I first started, there was a little boy named Ulises. Ulises is not so little anymore, but seven years ago, he was the little boy who was tagging along and following his big brother through our doors. It was when the Youth Commonwealth first became a Boys & Girls Club. All of the staff were so excited and to celebrate the event we took pictures, a lot of pictures. And Ulises was one of those cute little kids who just looked absolutely adorable on camera. Later on when I got the film developed (No, I did not use a digital camera. Yes, this was a really long time ago.), I noticed that this cute, adorable little boy who took this picture with the staff and 20 other kids had a huge smile on his face, and that if you looked closer this little boy who looked so cute and adorable was flipping the camera off with both hands.  

And that was Ulises, super cute and adorable, but was still struggling to find his sense of belonging, his senses of usefulness, his sense of competency, his “aha” moment. 

I remember the day that it happened. This little boy had the mouth of a sailor and could tell the best of adults where to go when he was mad. But the first day he stepped into our Art Room, the first day he picked up a pencil and sketched the most amazing picture, the first day our Art Director took that picture and hung it up and praised him for his skill, that was Ulises’ “aha” moment. 

I have had the privilege of witnessing and helping hundreds of Club members find their “aha” moments. 

I have seen a child who at the age of 11 had already experienced the uncertainty of homelessness, of truly not having a physical place to belong in this world, find his “aha” moment when his fingers touched the keys of a piano. 

I have seen a teenager with a volatile home environment have their “aha, I’m home” moment when they arrived at Camp O’Malley for the first time. 

I have seen a teenager who society had given up on, a teen who thought their sense of belonging existed in being the “bad kid,” find their “aha” moment when I was able to share with him pictures of food that they had packaged in a Club service event be delivered to Haiti shortly following the devastating earthquake of 2010. I read the words of the Director who delivered that food, telling the youth that they had made a positive difference in someone else’s life, that they can have an impact, that they were heroes. It was a big “aha.”

Every day “aha” moments take place in our Clubs, every day the groundwork for future “aha” moments is laid.

This could not happen without your support. 

So this holiday season, I would like to thank you for the past “aha” moments, the present ones, and most importantly the future “aha” moments.

Together we have, and together we will, continue to build “great futures.”

Comments

#1 Holly said:

What a wonderful story! Amazing work you and the Boys and Girls Clubs do for kids!

#2 Denise Aungst said:

The very essence of believing in every child until they are able to believe them self.

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November ROCK STAR Staff of the Month

November 20th, 2014

Every month we like to highlight the Staff Member that stands out! This month's ROCK STAR Staff of the Month is: Ryan Huizenga

Education Coordinator Ryan Huizenga was nominated as November's Rock Star because he is an awesome team player who goes above and beyond the call of duty! Thanks Ryan.

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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