Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2017 Native Summit: Integrating Culture into Club Programming Workshop
MARCH 14, 2018
BY: SIERRA FRANCIS, PROJECT COORDINATOR, YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, FIRSTPIC, INC.
This past November, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) 2017 Native Summit held in Fort Myers, Florida was host to a variety of informational sessions, workshops, exhibitors, and cultural exchanges aimed towards Club professionals working with Native youth. After 25 years in Native Lands, BGCA is the nation’s largest youth service provider for Native youth, with a network of nearly 200 Boys & Girls Clubs that serve over 86,000 youth from 100 different American Indian, Alaska Native, American Samoan and Hawaiian Tribal communities.
Due to the unique conditions of working in Native communities, topics for workshops were carefully considered for their relevancy and impact. Topics offered ranged from lifestyle trends with Native youth, best practices for Club programming, and ideas for integrating culture into the Club. Of these, integrating culture generated some of the highest levels of interest from Club staff members, who are especially cognizant of the role culture and identity play in the lives of their youth. Facilitated by BGCA Native Services Director of Organizational Development Anna Bear, the session had a panel of three Boys & Girls Club executive directors present to speak on this very important topic. Executive Directors included Ron Corn of the Woodland Boys & Girls Club in Neopit, Wisconsin, Tamara Little Salt of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Nathan Hale of the Boys & Girls Club of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation in Mayetta, Kansas.