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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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Club members shine at LiveArts

April 25th, 2015

We recently had the opportunity to bring some Club members from our Performing Arts Program to perform in a very special event. LiveArts was a one-night only concert held at the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids on April 24, 2015.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony Chorus,Youth Symphony, Youth Symphony Chorus, Opera Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Ballet, Broadway Grand Rapids and more (if you can believe that!) all came together for an evening of unforgettable performances. Area composer Sean Ivory composed a piece that would incorporate all the musical entities present. They even decided to create a “Community Youth Chorus” made up of kids from Grand Rapids area schools. That is where we came in…

When the GR Symphony approached us about being involved in LiveArts, it only took a moment to say yes. Even though our own Spring Concert would be a few weeks later, we knew that this would be an opportunity our members would carry with them for the rest of their lives. Performing in a huge arena with thousands of musicians? Sign us up!

The concert included 1,564 performers, 1,286 of which were children. What transpired was a long but magical week of rehearsals culminating in the big performance on Friday night. Our members were troopers, getting through long nights with a lot of waiting in our seats with ease. The logistics of the massive processional into the arena for act two was a huge undertaking that had to be rehearsed many times. And of course, the piece we were singing in had to be rehearsed as well. An 11-minute epic about working together, "I Will Rise" contained a lovely musical line that we repeated throughout the piece: “Two are better than one. If you fall, I will pick you up.”

Friday night arrived and our members were excited and a little nervous to see the arena fill up with over 7,000 audience members. What an experience at a young age! The show went off without a hitch and was absolutely stunning. "I Will Rise" finished to a large round of applause from the audience, and smiles were on everyone’s faces. LiveArts concluded with a standing ovation from the crowd, which pleased our performers greatly. They left the arena feeling like stars. We already knew they were.

 

If you missed our Club members at this magical event, don't fret! Join us on May 7th for our 3rd Annual MusicMakers Spring Concert.

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April's Youth of the Month!

April 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 April's Youth of the Month Winners:

Steil Club: Jaleah
Why Staff Selected Jaleah: Jaleah has shown so much improvement in behavior in the last month at the Steil Club. She especially has shown effort to be a good student and kid in the Art Room. Her favorite activities in the Art Room are painting, and finding new ways to make art. Jaleah always brings a smile to the staff's faces, and always asks to help out in any way she can.

Steil Club: Dontarrie
Why Staff Selected Dontarrie: Dontarrie is a positive influence at the Steil Club. He offers to help without anyone asking. He is respectful, kind, and thoughtful.  Dontarrie is a perfect example for younger Club members to look up to!

 

Paul I. Phillips Club: Alim
Why Staff Selected Alim: Alim is always very helpful around the Club.  He takes being a positive leader to his peers very seriously, and he attends nearly every day.  Alim plays basketball, attends Career Launch and Project Learn, and is interested in getting our Keystone Club running.

Seidman Club: Jason
Why Staff Selected Jason: Jason is one of the best volunteer members that has helped around the Club for years. Jason is a great role model for all the Club members.

 

 

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Camp Clean-Up A Success!

April 14th, 2015

On Saturday April 11th, 40 volunteers joined us at Camp O’Malley to help get the camp ready for summertime! Volunteers came from various organizations including GE Aviation, the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Valley State University and the Seidman Torch Club.

It was a beautiful day and the volunteers did a fantastic job raking leaves, cleaning up the cabins, organizing the gym and arts & crafts hall, and much more. Our Campers will greatly appreciate all of the hard work!

A big thank you to all of the volunteers who joined us on Saturday. It is our vision to create a world-class camp experience for the kids in our community, providing them with fun, safe recreation in the outdoors. Thank you for helping us make this vision a reality!

Want to get more involved? Find out more here.

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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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Vehicle City Challenge

March 16th, 2015

The Vehicle City Challenge is an annual event held in Flint, Michigan at the Averill Unit.  The event features several games and challenges for students representing teams from all over the state.  This year all three Grand Rapids Boys & Girls Clubs were represented and each Club took home at least one medal.  Seidman Club came in third overall in the games behind the Troy Club and the hosting Flint Averill Club.  Students had a lot of fun competing against other Boys & Girls Clubs in games such as two-ball, carpet ball, 9 ball pool, bumper pool, obstacle course, connect four, trivia, NBA 2k, and more.

Also Mr. Shawn took first in catchphrase. Coach Owens took second. :)

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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