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Connections Winter 2014-2015

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First National Youth of the Year All-Female Final! Triple Play Tour Gets Kids Up and at ‘Em! Denzel Washington’s Boyhood Days at the Club The Club Partnership Behind Great Futures High School New SMART Girls Curriculum Introduced

    Mobile Tour Gets Kids MovingWelcome to Great Futures High School!Why Leadership is Key to Keeping Kids Safe

    GIRL POWER!Six Young Women Make

    National Youth of the Year History

    W I N T E R 2 0 1 4


  • WINTER 2014c o n n e c t i o n s

    CHAIRMANS MESSAGEMy term as chairman for Boys & Girls Clubs of America will conclude Dec. 31. Weve made a lot of progress over the last two years, thanks to the commitment and resolve of all of you, our Club professionals and volunteers. It puts me in mind of the many great people Ive worked with. Not only over the past two years, but throughout these 40 years Ive been privileged to serve the Boys & Girls Club Movement as a board volunteer.

    One of my top priorities as chairman was to strengthen board engagement at all levels of our Movement. Im pleased to report solid progress in this area. More Club leaders are participating in BGCAs Advanced Leadership Program, for instance, which plays such an important role in developing a robust, engaged board.

    Our National Trustee roster also saw significant growth, providing our Movement with more volunteer leadership across the country. Of particular note, and this may be news to some, is a new group of Trustees in Washington, D.C., the National Capital Group. Having previously served as longtime chair of our Government Relations Committee, I assure you that increasing our footprint in the nations capital is vital to growing our public support and continuing to serve young Americans.

    We also made rapid gains in outcomes measurement during the past two years. Today, 95 percent of organizations are connected to the National Youth Outcomes Initiative and collecting valuable data about the youth they serve. As a result, we can now demonstrate and quantify Club outcomes, which is critical.

    Ive so valued this opportunity to play a leadership role on behalf of Boys & Girls Clubs. I look forward to continuing to work for Americas kids and teens with my fellow board members, including incoming chairman, Jack Stahl.

    My father-in-law first got me involved with the Club back in 1975. He asked me to join him on the board of the local organization in Chicago, which he chaired. Its turned out to be the most important, fulfilling thing Ive ever done, bar none. Thank you all for this great privilege.

    Connections is published by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It is distributed without charge to member Clubs of Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a service of their memberships.

    Articles or article ideas should be submitted to the Editor, Connections, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 1275 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. Use or return of material cannot be guaranteed and no remuneration can be made. Opinions expressed by contributing authors do not necessarily reflect policies of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

    Copyright 2014 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Job No. 2600-14



    Honorary Chairpersons



    M. ANNE SZOSTAKChairmen Emeriti

    RON GIDWITZChairman of the Board

    JAMES L. CLARKPresident and CEO

    MARK M. OBRIEN Senior Vice President

    and Chief Marketing Officer

    connectionsvol. 34, no. 3

    KELLY GAINESEditor in Chief

    JOHN COLLINSManaging Editor

    MICHELLE McQUISTONAssociate Editor



    BGCA Board of Governors

  • CO




    2 Lets Hear it for the Girls!For the first time, all six National Youth of the Year finalists were young women

    8 Welcome to (the New) The CLUBTeen brand gets a bold, energetic redesign

    10 Great Futures Campaign Lifts Off!Clubs nationwide made launch day a resounding success

    12 Great Futures High SchoolNew Jersey Club a key partner in new charter school

    16 In His WordsDenzel Washington on lessons he learned as a Club member

    17 Minute by MinuteMillion Minutes in Motion mobile tour got kids up and moving

    18 You Cant Stop a SMART Girl! The power of girls-only youth development programs

    22 The Best Investment I Ever MadeClub board member on why successful individuals have a duty to help others


    14 Presidents ReportBGCA President and CEO Jim Clark

    20 Child and Club SafetyLeadership key to keeping kids safe

    24 View from the PotomacClubs celebrated on Capitol Hill

    Page 10

    Page 2

    Page 18

    ON THE COVER National Youth of the Year

    finalists in Washington, D.C. (from left) Maryah Sullivan,

    Cecilia Garza, Sparkle Prevard, Tae McKenzie, Jasmnika

    Newbern and Natalia Lynch.

    W W W . B G C A . O R G

  • FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, All Six National Youth of the Year

    Finalists Were Young Women

    LETS HEAR IT for

    2 WINTER 2014

  • the Girls!

    (From left) Maryah Sullivan, Sparkle Prevard, Jasmnika Newbern,

    Natalia Lynch, Tae McKenzie and Cecilia Garza



  • The months-long process to determine Boys & Girls Clubs of Americas 201415 National Youth of the Year began last autumn. Across the country and on military installations overseas, members seized the opportunity to represent their Club as Youth of the Year.

    Ultimately, five were chosen as Regional Youth of the Year and one as Military Youth of the Year. And for the first time in the programs 68-year history, the six finalists selected to present their qualifications in Washington, D.C., were all female Club members.

    In their own right, Tae, Jasmnika, Sparkle, Maryah, Cecilia and Natalia were each exceptionally qualified to receive the ultimate Club member honor. Despite the high stakes, the young women got along like theyd known each other for years. And what a whirlwind Great Futures Week it was.

    In nearby Baltimore, the six were introduced on the field before a Yankees/Orioles game at Camden Yards. As part of a community service project, they took six girls from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, D.C., on a back-to-school shopping spree courtesy of JCPenney. In all, the retailer provided nearly $20,000 in gift cards to Youth of the Year participants at the state, regional and national levels.

    At the National Youth of the Year Celebration Dinner, each made their case why they should receive the prestigious title. All six delivered a heartfelt address to the packed auditorium. Those in attendance included Misty Copeland, the prima ballerina and Club alum who serves as Youth of the Year Ambassador, and BGCA Governor Jay Rasulo of The Walt Disney Company.

    The following morning at the annual Congressional Breakfast, Maryah Sullivan of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida was named the 201415 National Youth of the Year. Maryah will serve as our official teen spokes-person and youth representative for the next 12 months. She will also be awarded up to $61,000 in academic scholarships from Tupperware Brands and the Rick and Susan Goings Foundation, as well as a new car from Toyota. Read on to learn more about Maryah and her remarkable peers.

    The 2014 National Youth of the Year finalists with National Youth of the Year Ambassador Misty Copeland (right).

    See each representatives acceptance speech at YouTube.com/bgca.

    4 WINTER 2014


    The oldest child in a single-parent family, Maryah grew up faster than most. With her mother frequently working, Maryah helped raise her younger siblings. When she needed a place to just be a kid, she went to the Joe R. Lee Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

    Eleven years as a Club member helped Maryah become a leader with an unwavering focus on the future. She was president of her Keystone Club and an active participant in the Junior Staff, SMART Girls, and Torch Club programs.

    An extremely driven student, Maryah was president of her high schools National Honor Society. She also served as secretary of her senior class, belonged to the French Honor Society, and was captain of both the track and field and weightlifting teams. Now a freshman at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Maryah is a pre-med major whose long-term goal is to become a neurosurgeon.

    These girls are so amazing. Theyre my sisters and I love each and every one of them.


    Cecilia overcame numerous challenges, including homelessness, before finding a safe haven in the Williams Prep Boys & Girls Club. She thrived at the Club, where she participated in SMART Girls, Power Hour, Triple Play and was president of the Keystone Club. With her mother working two jobs to make ends meet, Cecilia helped raise five younger siblings. She excelled as a student, serving as student council vice president and secretary. She was also president of the Interact Club, which teaches teens about community service. Today, Cecilia is studying biochemistry at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., with plans to become a surgeon.

    My world grew the day I joined the Boys & Girls Club. I was equipped with the strength to express myself and given the encouragement and the courage to no longer be afraid to take risks. To maybe fail, but then make that failure part of my success.

    (Top) Maryah and Nola from the BGCs of Greater Washington at the JCPenney shopping spree.

    (Bottom) BGCA National Spokesperson Denzel Washington surprised Maryah when she appeared on The Queen Latifah Show. Watch it at YouTube.com/bgca.

    Cecilia with Aaliyah at JCPenney.



    After losing her mother at a young age and growing up without a father, Sparkle was virtually homeless. She joined the Club at a volatile time in her life, but quickly found her second family there. With the support of Club staff and members, Sparkles confidence grew. She became more active in Club and school activities. At school, she played on the basketball and softball teams, served on the yearbook staff, and participated in com-munity theater. Today, Sparkle is a freshman at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, with a triple-major in political science, international relations and education. Her long-term goal is to become a teacher and community leader.

    Despite the fact I grew up in an impoverished community, and lost my mother at a very young age, I am somebody. I have a voice and I can make a difference in the community where I live. I thank the Boys & Girls Club for helping me realize that.


    Natalia was an active member of the Wiesbaden Youth Center for five years, participating in and promoting the various artistic and cultural opportunities it offered. During her time at the Center, she created the two-piece band Volition, which performed two years in a row at BGCAs National Conference. Natalia has even performed at Carnegie Hall as part of the Milal Missionary Choir. She attended high school in Germany and completed her Abitur, the German equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma. Natalia is now a student at Vanderbilt University.

    My years as a Club member had a profound influence on my intellectual, personal, social and musical development. I am a military youth and proud of it.

    Natalia (left) and Sparkle (right) teamed up with Club member Kyla

    for some shopping fun.

    6 WINTER 2014


    Jasmnika took on a leadership role in her single-parent house-hold at a young age. In 10th grade, she saved her money and bought a car so she could take her younger brother to school when their mother left for work. As a high school student, she organized a student-led peace rally and walk to protest teen violence and bullying. She was also elected president and was the salutatorian of her high school class. Jasmnika is now a business major at Michigan State University, and the first in her family to go to college.

    I did not feel like I was pretty, so it didnt matter if anybody told me. But at that point of time in my life, I didnt need anybody to tell me; I needed someone to show me. Thats what the Boys & Girls Club did. It showed me, no matter where I came from or what I look like, I can succeed.


    As the oldest of four children, Tae supported her single mother by doing housework and getting her brother ready for school every day. While her mother worked, she and her brother needed a safe place to go after school. Their mom sent them to the Boys & Girls Club. For Tae, 7 at the time, the Club was a second home where she could be herself, serve others and feel like she mattered. An ardent community servant, Tae served as student representative on Tacoma Public Schools Harassment Intimi-dation and Bullying Committee. She also co-founded and facilitated Sisterhood, a mentorship program for girls at her high school. Tae now studies business and communications at the University of Washington in Seattle. After graduating, she hopes to open an image consulting firm.

    I always questioned, why am I not good enough? When I joined the Boys & Girls Club, all the ques-tioning stopped. They made me realize that its not me. I am good enough. I am able to have the confidence and be that successful woman and make a change in my community. Because of the Boys & Girls Club, I know who I am.

    Jasmnika and Aaliyah at the shopping spree.

    Tae and Femilayo browse for new additions to their wardrobes.


  • One challenge associated with recruiting teenagers to the Boys & Girls Club is that they tend to see themselves as young adults rather than boys and girls.

    To meet teens where they are, it is critical to position Clubs as a preferred out-of-school time destination. To get there, Clubs need to create deeper, more relevant connections with teens. This extends to staff interactions, an age-appropriate Club Experience, and a brand teens can connect with.

    Thats why, in 2005, Boys & Girls Clubs of America introduced The CLUB a brand designed specifically for teens. The alternative brand suited teens, many of whom already used the colloquialism, e.g., Ill see you later at the Club. Plus, The CLUB just sounded like a cool place for older kids to hang out. Clubs rapidly adopted the brand to denote areas exclusively for teens, such as Teen Centers.

    This year, The CLUB got a makeover. With input from the Keystone Club Teen Advisory Committee, three logos were created and voted on by Club members at MyClubMyLife.com. The winning logo was unveiled before some 1,200 cheering teens at last springs National Keystone Conference in Orlando, Fla. The new design offers a bolder, more energetic invitation as teens enter The CLUB.

    TEEN PARADISEIn Raleigh, N.C., The CLUB brand is integral to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake Countys teen recruitment strategy. Since the Ralph E. Capps Teen Center opened last August, more than 125 teens have chosen to join The CLUB. And why wouldnt they? The $3 million state-of-the-art facility is a teenagers paradise. It includes photography and recording studios, a gym, study lounge, fitness center, art studio even a hair salon. At the Pro-Teen Grill, all dishes are prepared by Club members, for Club members.



    The CLUB logo implemented on glass.

    (Top) More than 125 teens joined The CLUB in just two months.

    8 WINTER 2014

  • Postcards, Facebook banners and other assets can be downloaded from marketing.bgca.org.

    By learning to compose and edit photos, produce a song, cut and style hair, or cook up creative cuisine, teens are not just having fun theyre developing market-able skills that can help them establish a career.

    Our focus is to prepare teens for life, said Ralph Capps, Teen Center namesake and president of the Wake County organization for over 40 years. Its important to have programs for college-bound teens, as well as programs for teens who choose to pursue a career straight out of high school. The technical training incorporated into the new Teen Center helps teens develop skills to go directly into the work-force after graduation, with a plan for continued professional growth.

    By combining time-tested tenets of the Club Experience fun, safety and positive staff-member relationships with programming that attracts and retains teens, The CLUB has definitely become a destination spot for the teens of Raleigh.

    The technical training incorpo-rated into the new Teen Center helps teens develop skills to go directly into the workforce after graduation. Ralph Capps, President,

    Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County

    An age-appropriate Club Experience is a must to attract and retain teenagers.


  • In New York City, BGCA took over Times Square for a profile-raising campaign event hosted by entertainer and Club alum Nick Cannon. Thousands of spectators took in the exciting experience, which featured celebrity guests, high-profile supporters and performances by Club members.

    But an even more exciting story was happening in the field, where nearly 200 Boys & Girls Clubs hosted campaign kick-offs, rallying communities to help young people achieve Great Futures.

    LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL!In Reno, Nev., where Mayor Bob Cashell proclaimed July 31 to be Great Futures Day, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows held a Great Futures Rally at a classic car show attended by thousands of spectators. Beneath the iconic Reno Arch, a pop-up Boys & Girls Club provided interested attendees with examples of Club programming areas, such as education, the arts, games and recreation.

    Meanwhile, in Sedalia, Mo., the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri celebrated the launch of the Great Futures Campaign with a day of activities at an elementary school housing one of its school-based sites. When the school bell rang at 3 p.m., the popular Pharrell Williams song Happy began playing through the school P.A. system. A flash mob of students and Club staff came together, dancing and clapping to the music, taking board members and supporters completely by surprise.

    GREAT FUTURES CAMPAIGN TAKES OFF!On July 31, Boys & Girls Clubs around the country and Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched the Great Futures Campaign.

    Performer and Club alum Nick Cannon takes a selfie with Boys & Girls Club kids.

    10 WINTER 2014


    60+ Partners Participated 83 Congressional Champions620 Clubs Activated Campaign

    BGCA also took the campaign to Capitol Hill, engaging congressional leaders to participate in the launch and spread the message via social media.

    DIGITAL DISRUPTER An innovative digital disrupter called Bell Heard Round the Web helped amplify the campaign kick-off by creating aware-ness and driving action. At 3 p.m., BGCA partners, supporters, brand ambassadors and celebrity alumni disrupted social media and websites by encouraging people to Open the Door and donate on GreatFutures.org. Many partners featured campaign messaging on their websites and with audio/visual displays. DJs for the Radio One network interrupted national broadcasts on all 55 Radio One channels to announce the campaign.

    Celebrities and local Clubs pitched in by sharing #GreatFutures content with fans and followers, causing #GreatFutures to officially trend on Facebook (a first for BGCA!), as more than 3,000 unique hashtags were posted on or around 3:00 p.m. Celebrity alumni and supporters such as Shaquille ONeal, Michael Phelps, Kelly Rowland, Nick Cannon and LeBron James helped drive 100 million impressions via social media.

    NEW ERAThe Great Futures Campaign marks a new era for Boys & Girls Clubs as the number one advocate for the kids who need us most. Our collective labors as a Movement made launch day a tremendous success and created important momentum for the campaign. Over the next four years, we will continue to communicate the important role that out-of-school time plays in young peoples success. With the Great Futures Campaign, were taking a stand for Americas kids. With more than 4,100 Clubs serving nearly 4 million kids across the country and on U.S. military installations overseas, nobody is in a stronger position to impact our shared future.

    Over the next four years, we will continue to communicate the important role that out-of-school time plays in young peoples success.

    384 Million Reached via Social Media


    188 Clubs Hosted Launch Events

    1 Billion+ Media Impressions

    Watch BGCAs Great Futures PSA at www. youtube.com/bgca


  • As of Sept. 2014, the unemployment rate among U.S. teens ages 16 to 19 stood at 20 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Going to school full time and earning a high school diploma, of course, should always be a teenagers top priority. Still, there are signs that teen employment is related to better employment and earnings later in life. Beyond a paycheck, getting and keeping a job is an important stage in the transition to adulthood and financial independence. It lets teens practice existing skills, and learn new ones, such as teamwork, time man-agement and problem-solving.

    Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to helping young people acquire the skills they need to pursue higher education and meaningful career opportunities. Theres no better example of this than an innovative new partnership in New Jersey, where Boys & Girls Club teens are gaining 21st century workforce skills that will help them reap the many rewards that employment offers.


    Teens explored the Tech Center at the G.F.H.S. grand opening.

    12 WINTER 2014

  • G.F.H.S.On Sept. 3 in Jersey City, Great Futures Charter High School for the Health Sciences welcomed its inaugural class of 125 freshmen. The outcome of a partnership between the Boys & Girls Club of Hudson County and Jersey City Medical Center, the new facility operates as the high school during the day, and becomes the Club after school. The 35,000-square-foot Clubhouse includes classrooms, a gym with basketball courts, science labs, a recording studio and a teaching kitchen.

    Executive Director Gary Greenberg, a fixture at the Hudson County Club for 39 years, is also the lead founder and vice president of Great Futures High. He said the motivation for the school derived from his many years working with teenagers. All too often, wed see kids enter high school and just kind of float along, said Greenberg. They werent sure what they wanted to do with their life or what they wanted to get out of high school.

    STARTING POINTAbout five years ago, the idea for a health-oriented charter high school began to take shape when the Hudson County Club formed an alliance with the Medical Center that allowed students to do internships with the hospitals staff. Those short-term educational opportunities have now been expanded into the Great Futures curriculum.

    In addition to traditional core classes, students can follow one of three health sciences tracks that focus on administrative, technical or clinical skills. Students will be able to build a foundation to help them pursue a college degree in areas such as pre-med, biochemistry and chemistry, and prepare for a

    career in the health field. The school has also partnered with nearby William Paterson University, where students can earn dual high school/college credit for particular courses.

    The heart of the program is the hands-on training and experiential learning students can gain through internships and practicums at the Medical Center, which is just a light rail stop away. In time, it is expected that ninth and tenth graders will attend classes at the Boys & Girls Club, with upper classmen spending most days at the Medical Center, shadowing professionals in their field of study.

    OUTCOMESGraduates will receive a high school diploma and certification as a emergency medical technician or medical assistant. This means they can begin a career straightaway, or go on to college and build on their medical training.

    The health arena is among the top developing occupations, said Greenberg. We believe this program will give many of our youth the chance to have a good career, which they other-wise might not have.

    In each of the next four years, the school will add a new class, with total enrollment to reach 500 students, said Greenberg, who also anticipates significant growth in membership and average daily attendance at the Club. Sounds like a great future ahead for the Boys & Girls Club, too.

    The very first G.F.H.S. Students of the Month.

    The health arena is among the top developing occupations.

    Gary Greenberg, Executive Director, Hudson County Club



    As we approach the end of another fantastic year, many thanks to everyone who continues to go above and beyond on behalf of Americas youth.

    Utilizing the Great Futures Impact Plan as our guide, Club leaders, staff, and board volunteers have made significant strides in increasing impact and positioning our Movement as the #1 advocate for Americas youth. From launching the most ambitious effort in our history to rolling out the beginnings of a new youth development frame-work to our most spectacular Youth of the Year Celebration ever, 2014 has been a watershed year for the Boys & Girls Club Movement.

    WHEN SCHOOLS OUT, CLUBS ARE IN!Its an age-old dilemma for our Movement we understand the critical issues facing kids and the integral role Clubs play in combatting these issues, but how do we take that message to everyone in America? We think weve found the answer in the most ambitious initiative in our Movements dis-tinguished history the Great Futures Campaign: the Campaign for Americas Kids.

    On July 31, Clubs all across the country simultane-ously launched the Great Futures Campaign with local kick-off celebrations, as hundreds of Club kids, celebrity supporters and generous partners took over Times Square in New York City. We stood together to issue a wake-up call to the American public about the enormous needs of todays kids and how

    out-of-school time programs can make a crucial difference in preparing the next generation, as well as our nation, for a great future. (Full launch day coverage begins on page 6.) The successful launch was just the beginning of what promises to be a game-changer for Boys & Girls Clubs.

    SUMMER LEARNING WINSIt was also a triumphant year for programming. The incredible success of Summer Brain Gain was exciting on many levels. Some 1,700 Clubs imple-mented Boys & Girls Clubs of Americas summer learning loss prevention program, helping the kids who need us most retain knowledge from one school year to the next. The program also provided a new model for programs going forward. It meets Clubs where they are, features an age-based curriculum, and is backed up by a comprehensive, research-based evaluation.

    As we continue to refine the youth development framework, the Summer Brain Gain model offers a solid foundation to build on. Expect to see innovative programs that focus on college/career preparation, fitness and nutrition, STEM, the arts, and 21st century leadership skills, among others.

    JIM CLARK PRESIDENT and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of America

    columns Presidents Report

    Visit Marketing.BGCA.org for Great Futures Campaign assets.

    14 WINTER 2014

  • QUITE A YEAR FOR YOUTH OF THE YEAR In September, Maryah Sullivan of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida was named our 201415 National Youth of the Year, capping a milestone year for our premier character development program. Five years ago when Tupperware Brands became the programs sponsor, Chairman and CEO Rick Goings had a vision of how to take it to the next level.

    As a direct result of Ricks vision and leadership, as well as that of his wife and longtime national volunteer, Susan, and everyone at Tupperware Brands, Youth of the Year is more robust than ever.

    Scholarship funding for all state and regional representatives has increased greatly, with the National Youth of the Year receiving several scholarships, including one for $50,000 from the Rick and Susan Goings Foundation. The National Youth of the Year also receives a new car from Toyota, thanks to Trustee Mike Groff, CEO and president of Toyota Financial Services. (Coverage of this years historic National Youth of the Year celebration begins on page 2.)

    This year marked Tupperware Brands last as Youth of the Year sponsor. We are grateful to the iconic company and its visionary leader for their undying support and generosity. Now, we look forward to taking the program to yet another level, thanks to new title sponsor The Walt Disney Company, as well as our additional sponsors, Toyota, University of Phoenix and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. With these corporate titans as our partners, Youth of the Year is ready to lift off to new heights.

    THE WAY FORWARD2014 also saw us undertake several initiatives that will be critical in propelling our Movement forward. That includes the first test mailing of our Integrated Direct Marketing project. Thanks to the more than 350 Club leaders who provided feedback to help shape the program, and to the 42 Club organizations in 19 markets participating in this first phase. IDM offers enormous potential in terms of capturing levels of operating dollars that weve never seen, as well as opportunities to identify alumni, major donors and planned gifts. In the coming year, we will continue to shape and test strategies to foster collaboration for individual giving across the Movement. For more information about IDM, contact your Director of Organizational Development, John Cerniglia, Tara Ingram, or Julie Teer.

    Were also making good progress with the much-anticipated redesign of BGCA.net, our primary communications vehicle for the Movement. Phase 1 is scheduled to roll out in mid-January, with the complete redesign projected to be up and running by mid-year.

    Enhancing executive leadership will continue to be of the highest priority. Currently, nearly 40 percent of our chief executives have 30 or fewer months of experience. To move the needle on impact, strong leadership is an absolute necessity. Thats why BGCA has invested heavily in developing world-class training materials and programs that will benefit our professionals and lead to lifelong Boys & Girls Club careers. Look for much more on all of our exciting new executive and board development initiatives soon.

    PASSING THE BATONFinally, my sincere thanks to outgoing Chairman Ron Gidwitz. Over the past two years, Rons hands-on leadership and involvement at all levels have proven invaluable, particularly in regard to board development. Ron has been a rallying force at the local and national levels for 40 years, and will continue to fight for Americas kids as a member of our Board of Governors.

    I also want to welcome incoming Chairman Jack Stahl. During his 10-year tenure on our Board of Governors, Jack has chaired our Strategic Planning and Audit Committees, and is currently chairing the Great Futures Campaign. Jacks background includes serving as CFO and group president of the North America Group for The Coca-Cola Company, as well as CEO and president of Revlon.

    In closing, my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful staff and volunteers who give so much of themselves so that kids can achieve a great future and whose hard work and dedication have made 2014 such a resounding success. Wishing you, your family and your Boys & Girls Club a joyous holiday season.

    Presidents Report columns

    Rick Goings emceed the Congressional Breakfast ceremony.


  • Our national spokesperson shares how lessons learned over 12 years as a Club member have been essential to his remarkable achievements as an actor and as a person. Excerpted from the Sept. 2014 issue of WebMD Magazine.

    In His Words

    Walking to Nathan Hale elementary school in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Denzel Washington passed the construction site for the Boys Club building each morning, anxious to get inside.

    I was 5, 6, maybe 7 years old, and I couldnt wait, Washington recalls. My mother took me there when it finally opened, and the rest is history.

    The two-time Academy Award winner says the Boys Club of Mount Vernon (later renamed the Boys & Girls Club) helped set the foundation for his success, and hes been the national spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America for more than two decades now. Im asked to do a lot of things, but this is one [cause] that I can speak honestly about, says Washington, 59.

    Safe HavenWashington was the son of loving but busy parents. His father was a Pentecostal minister who worked two jobs during the week and preached on Saturdays and Sundays. His mother owned and ran a beauty parlor. Washington needed a place to be after school, and the Club gave him a safe haven from the streets.

    The lessons that I first learned at home and at church and then later at the Club kept me from getting into any serious trouble, Washington says. Of course, he didnt know that then. He was simply thrilled to have a place to play, a place to be around boys his own age. We were being taught good lessons along the way, but as a kid, thats not what I went there for.

    Still, the Club made an indelible mark upon him in his 12 years there. Washington recalls with affection a number of the Club staff members who acted as counselors and mentors to the many boys who came through the doors. Charles White was one of them.

    I remember him saying to me, Youre a very smart young man and you can do anything you want in life. I dont know if that was the truth, Washington says with a laugh, but I remembered it. Up to that point, Id never thought of myself

    The lessons that I first learned at home and at church and then later at the Club kept me from getting into any serious trouble.

    Denzel Washington

    that way. Having an adult tell a child something positive like that is a powerful thing. I didnt know what that meant at 8 years old, but I never forgot it.

    One secret of his great success came to him from Billy Thomas, director of the Mount Vernon Club when Washington was a youngster. I learned early on from him that your natural ability will only take you so far, says Washington, who discovered acting while a student at Fordham University in the Bronx. I remembered that and I applied it when I started acting.

    The Right FitA healthy lifestyle figured into Washingtons early life lessons as well. His Clubs counselors helped him learn the importance of a good diet and regular exercise.

    My body is my instrument, and youve got to take care of your body, Washington says. I know how to eat. I know what I should do. Even those lessons go all the way back to the Club.

    Read the complete article at WebMD.com/magazine.

    16 WINTER 2014

  • A minute isnt much time to accomplish a whole lot. But add a few of them up and you might find some time to work with. Accumulate 60 minutes, for instance, and you can squirm through an episode of The Walking Dead. Set aside 480 minutes and youve got a full days work. Or save 2,400 minutes of vacation time and take the week off. And if youre able to pull together a million minutes, well, you can actually change thousands of lives.

    With that in mind, the Triple Play Million Minutes in Motion mobile tour set a course across America last summer. The goal: get thousands of Club kids to participate in 1 million minutes of exercise in six weeks. The rolling Club-in-a-box included a giant checkers board, Hula-Hoops, speed ladders, obstacle-course paraphernalia and parachutes.

    Given that three out of 10 American children are obese or overweight, its crucial to provide fun, creative ways to get kids active and keep them moving. The Million Minutes in Motion mobile tour engaged thousands of youth by doing just that. Each stop featured an array of games and activities to inspire kids to get moving and excited about making regular exercise part of a great future.

    The custom website TriplePlayTour.com also helped raise awareness. An interactive map allowed fans to follow the Triple Play Tour vans progress, with photos and updates posted from Club stops. Real-time social media updates helped spread the message of why its critically important that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The site also hosted resources for kids, parents and mentors on the Triple Play program and how to get active every day.

    After six weeks and more than 3,000 miles, the million-minute mark was not only reached but exceeded. Thanks to the partici-pation of 5,563 Club kids about 200 kids a day 1,040,000 minutes of activity were expended and logged. Thats the equivalent of about 700 days. And just think it all started with one minute.

    John Collins is senior writer/editor for BGCA.

    Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul, BGCAs proven health and wellness program, is co-sponsored by founding partner The Coca-Cola Company and the WellPoint Foundation.







    & D.C



    Kimberly-Clark Corporations support of SMART Girls carries on a nearly 40-year partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

    The girls-only program has been used by Clubs for more than 17 years and reached over 1 million girls. It encompasses physical, emotional and social changes a girl will go through between the ages of 8 and 18 and gives her the opportunity to develop leadership skills, confidence and independence. SMART Girls was revised for 2014 to be outcome-driven. Its educational experiences were redeveloped to reach girls in three specific age groups: 810, 1113 and 1418.

    SMART Girls participants build a robot.

    18 WINTER 2014

  • As tweens, they feel pressure to conform and be cool or, in many cases, pass under the radar to avoid day-to-day drama. This is especially difficult when bodies and emotions are rapidly changing. As they move into their teens, girls feel pressure to be connected with friends via social media part of the crowd at all times. All of these pressures add up to an experience that can be challenging, to say the least.

    Girls-only programming in out-of-school time settings offer a number of benefits to participants. Club professionals are in position to play a vital role in helping girls develop essential life skills and promote academic achievement. Girl-specific programs can provide:

    safe spaces in which to form trusting relationships;

    support in developing leadership skills; and

    opportunities to create social change.

    SMART Girls gives girls space, support and tools to navigate adolescence and transition into womanhood, prepared for a successful and great future.

    This is a program that allows girls to embrace their inner strength and beauty, and develop the confidence needed to succeed now and in the future, said Indigo Sams, vice president of operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. The organization hosted last Mays SMART Girls Conference attended by more than 120 girls and their moms. Activities included workshops that explored such issues and topics as the effects of body image, bullying, building self-esteem, and understanding your role in an ever-changing world.

    REFRESHED CURRICULUM Boys & Girls Clubs of America engaged 10 Clubs to lead a 10-week pilot of the new curriculum. Pilot markets included Dallas, Chicago, Carson, Calif., Oshkosh, Wis. and Conway, Ark. Each Club implemented the curriculums 10 lessons, which focused on physical, emotional and social changes girls experience between the ages of 8 and 18.

    With help from an advisory committee of Club professionals and industry experts, including founder and CEO Haley Kilpatrick of the mentoring program Girl Talk, the Clubs feedback helped create a program that addresses the needs and concerns of girls who enter our Clubs every day. The new

    SMART Girls curriculum incorporates game-design elements and terminology, customized badges, collaborative activities, and opportunities for older teens to mentor and peer-lead lessons.

    Sabrina Love, unit director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Louisianas Ruston Unit, said the updated SMART Girls has made a real impact on her girls. The new program has helped our girls by empowering them to enact change in their daily life, from helping more around the Club to wanting to be more involved in what is going on in their community.

    Without a doubt, the landscape of girlhood has changed dramatically over the past 25 years. Social media alone has transformed the way young people interact with the world and their communities and become vitally important to their

    process of self-discovery and identification. Now more than ever, young women need a solid foundation for building healthy attitudes and lifestyles. While girls today have incredible opportunities to explore their interests and capabilities, they also face many challenges. SMART Girls helps them overcome those challenges by equipping them with critical knowledge and skills in the areas of health and wellness, mental health, self-esteem, and relationships.

    Tiffani Ponder is Director of Healthy Lifestyles for BGCA.

    This is a program that allows girls to embrace their inner strength and beauty, and develop the confidence needed to succeed now and in the future.

    Indigo Sams, Vice President of Operations, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis

    Access the new SMART Girls curriculum by logging onto bgca.net and going to the Health & Life Skills section.

    If you have questions or want to learn more about the program, please contact Tiffani Ponder at [email protected]

    Growing up isnt easy. As girls enter their pre-tweens, they start to feel pressure to be top performers in school, sports and with friends and family.


  • columns


    child&Club SAFETY P R O T E C T I N G O U R K I D S

    When we consider how leadership makes a difference, we typically think about boards and resource development, expanding our service base, or having higher visibility in our community.

    But when we consider that a safe place is the bedrock of the Boys & Girls Club Movement, then consider societal and security challenges associated with protecting youth, we begin to understand the need for committed, visible leadership in the area of child safety. How exactly can your Clubs leadership move safety something we often take for granted to a higher level of success, even greatness?

    In the bestselling book, Good to Great, author (and Club alum) Jim Collins begins with the simple premise, Good is the natural enemy of great. In the area of safety, it is well-established that complacency the satisfaction with being good enough is the natural enemy. Research shows that when companies stop systematically making safety improvements, however small, they can eventually expect safety failures. Typi-cally, these improvements involve being more intentional, especially in the areas of measurable compliance and personal commitment.

    COMPLIANCE VS. COMMITMENTIn terms of a Club, compliance is people consistently performing defined safety responsibilities and documenting that performance. Doing this creates proof that safety is a priority to the organization. Commitment, on the other hand, is how will-ing staff and volunteers are to give up discretionary time to solve emerging safety problems; or hold themselves and each other accountable for their actions, words and attitudes. Finding such behaviors among staff and volunteers demonstrates that safety is held as a value throughout your organization. These distinctions are important.

    Experts generally agree that only 10 to 15 percent of safety-related incidents are due to conditions that can be controlled through compliance measures. By contrast, about 85 to 90 percent of incidents are due to the actions or inactions (i.e., behaviors) of persons in positions of responsibility (staff and volunteers). As challenging as compli-ance may be, gaining your full teams commitment is even harder. For this reason, your board of directors must be clearly intentional, highly visible and fully engaged when it comes to safety

    THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE BOARD Your board bears considerable legal and ethical responsibility for safety. Ultimately, the board is responsible for ensuring reasonable and prudent steps are taken to pro-tect Club members and any person using the facilities or participating in activities. This applies whether the organization owns or shares its facilities. Clubs must be prepared to prevent and face many critical issues, including abuse, abduction, bullying, injuries and neighborhood violence. Should a critical incident occur, your


    85-90% of incidents are due to the actions or inactions of persons in positions of responsibility.

    In the area of safety it is well-established that complacency the satisfaction with being good enough is the natural enemy. Jim Collins, Club alumnus

    and author

    20 WINTER 2014

  • board should expect questions from parents, media, attorneys and insurance companies. These could include:

    Was this problem anticipated? If no, why not?

    Were best practices identified and applied?

    Did you devote resources to carry out your plan?

    Did you check to see if the plan worked and, when needed, make corrections?

    These are difficult yet reasonable questions that must be answered. It is, therefore, critically important to have a team of advocates who consistently ask these questions in advance in order to drive at good solutions that help prevent critical incidents from occurring.

    FORMING A BOARD-LED SAFETY COMMITTEERecognizing the importance of greater board engagement in the area of safety, BGCA has encouraged Clubs to establish board-lead safety committees. This year, we will help 50 local organizations establish safety committees or support those with existing safety committees.

    Ideally, a board-led safety committees role goes beyond that of the traditional facilities committee. It should connect the many separate functions that contribute to an overall culture of safety. These include human resources, supervision, training, emergency management, programming and finances. It is the committees charge to ask strategic questions through safety planning, review of safety policies, hazard identification and mitigation, outcome measurement, and recognition of relevant efforts. In short, the safety committee should be the Clubs safety conscience and official watchdog to ensure planning, action and follow-through.

    The structure of the safety committee can vary from a standing committee to one that reports to another committee, such as operations. For smaller organizations with smaller boards, it may function best as a task force. Regardless of structure, one board member should serve as the chair, preferably with board members who have experience in risk management, and one or more Club staff members with in-depth knowledge of day-to-day operations. Outside experts in law enforcement, security, and emergency operations could serve as adjunct committee members.

    WHAT MATTERS GETS MEASUREDIt is critical for the safety committee to use metrics to drive improvement and demonstrate ongoing success. It is as impor-tant to focus on leading indicators things to increase as trailing indicators things to reduce. Such metrics could address improved annual scores on BGCAs Online Safety Assessment, better scores on the National Youth Outcomes Initiative, increased emergency drill effectiveness, more safety inspections and walk-throughs, expanded safety trainings, and increased reporting of critical incidents.

    Child protection is not easy for any youth-serving organization. Statistics show that children are injured and victimized at higher rates than adults, Being human, the adult staff and volunteers we rely on to protect children are inclined to take shortcuts. Therefore, they must be continually challenged and encour-aged to see themselves as protectors.

    After an initial burst of interest and improvement, it is also natural for organizations to become complacent about safety. One might say that when it comes to protecting children, risk is a permanent, natural condition that we must overcome daily making children safe, rather than maintaining a status quo. It is through leadership in safety that your organization will move from lucky to good, and, with effort, from good to great.

    Les Nichols is National Vice President, Child & Club Safety for BGCA.

    Child & Club Safety columns

    Clubs must be prepared to prevent and face many critical issues, including abuse, abduction, bullying, injuries, armed intruders and neighborhood violence.


  • Last summer, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin Countys newest facility opened its doors.

    The Bill & Barbara Whitman Indiantown Branch is set in the heart of Indiantown, an impoverished South Florida agricultural community. The new Club is the outcome of a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, and the Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency.

    A focal point of the neighborhood, the 22,000-square-foot Club provides a full-size gymnasium, performing arts center, science lab, technology hub, individual tutoring rooms, prep kitchen and community center where residents of all ages can access a range of social services. Club walls are adorned with vibrant colors carefully selected to reflect the buildings most important component: the hundreds of Club members who finally have a permanent home away from home.

    The Clubs opening marked the conclusion of a six-year, $4 million capital campaign Id proudly chaired. What inspired me and so many others in Martin County to build the new Club was the finding that children and teens are out of school as many as 25 unsu-pervised, unguided hours each week. Self-care and boredom too often result from this after-school gap. Researchers can pinpoint 36 p.m. as the peak hours for teens to com-mit crimes, be victims of crime, be influenced by gangs, and use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

    The new Club is a positive alternative to the streets or an empty home. Theres something for children of all ages, with more than 30 structured program offerings. A program just for teens, known as The CLUB, is built around community service, an array of college-prep and career-enrichment activities, and Youth of the Year.


    By providing membership scholarships to more than 90 percent of children and 100 percent of teens, we ensure no family is turned away for an inability to pay.

    The Bill & Barbara Whitman Indiantown Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County is located 100 miles north of Miami.



    22 WINTER 2014

  • A TIMELY OPENINGThe Club opened June 9, right on schedule to keep young peoples brains and bodies active and reduce summer learning loss, our top academic priority for the summer. Certified school teachers and Club staff led our early literacy program, ensuring younger members were positioned for a successful transition when they returned to school. More than 180 youth participated in the summer-enrichment offerings, surpassing our expectations.

    In the first month, more than 40 new members enrolled. We anticipate membership will ultimately double. New members, including teens, are especially drawn to the full-size gym and the technology hub, a necessity for appealing to and retaining teens.

    By providing membership scholarships to more than 90 percent of children and 100 percent of teens, we ensure no family is turned away for an inability to pay. Weve also scheduled Club hours so that parents can be dependable employees.

    PROGRAM CHOICESOur Keystone Club and Torch Club programs offer community service opportunities to develop leadership skills that tweens and teens can use in the classroom, at home, and in their neighborhoods. Our iVy (Indiantown Volunteering Youth) initiative provided younger members with community service projects and character-building programming.

    With an overweight/obesity level of 65 percent among Indian-town children of middle-school age, we continue to emphasize good nutrition, regular physical activity, and improvement of a childs overall well-being. Last summer, the gym was busy with recreational activities from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., most notably basketball and indoor soccer. Additionally, a partner-ship with The First Tee of The Treasure Coast introduced members to various golf mechanics and stroke types.

    Our early literacy program, Be READy, resumed this fall. Were excited to build on the outstanding results program participants accomplished last school year, when reading scores improved 162 percent, and 100 percent of Club mem-bers met or exceeded their goals. We also offer Stride Academy, a program to help members elevate their reading proficiency, and our science room keeps children and teens engaged in exciting, thought-provoking STEM activities.

    The dedicated staff, board and volunteers continue to lead the way in Indiantown. Strong leadership has been key to our success. Another factor was our Clubs participation in BGCAs Advancing Philanthropy (AP) project. In the words of our CEO Anne McCormick, As we approached the final stage of the campaign, our AP training motivated us to finish strong. Creating a culture of philanthropy has been embraced by our board, who understand this is the future for sustainable, thriving Clubs in Martin County.

    A NEW CHALLENGEAs the Indiantown building campaign wound down, I envisioned how the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County organization could build its capacity and ensure it would always be there to impact and change childrens lives. With this in mind, I com-mitted to take the lead in launching a $15 million endowment campaign for the organization.

    My wife Barbara and I made a gift of $1 million to the endowment. Then we challenged fellow board members to a 3-to-1 endowment match, inviting them to join us and invest in the sustainability of their Club before asking other supporters to embrace our vision and join our campaign.

    There is a colossal need for affordable youth development programming that is not being met. Data shows nearly 8,000 students in the Martin County School District qualify for free or reduced lunch. It is our individual responsibility as caring, successful individuals to reach out and make a commitment to share our success and help others. It is the right thing to do.

    Bill Whitman is a Corporate Board Member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, Fla.

    Bill and Barbara Whitman visit with Angelica, a Martin County Club member.

    It is our individual responsibility as caring, successful individuals to reach out and make a commitment to share our success and help others. It is the right thing to do.


  • 1columns View From The Potomac


    Per long-standing tradition, Capitol Hill was the setting for the naming of the 201415 National Youth of the Year.

    Hundreds gathered for the celebration co-hosted by four Boys & Girls Clubs of America Congressional Champions: Speaker of the House John Boehner, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

    Hailed as the most bipartisan event on Capitol Hill in months by Education Week, the Congressional Breakfast drew lawmakers, agency officials and BGCA supporters from both sides of the aisle. Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, both longtime Club supporters, were among many high-profile lawmakers who came to honor the six remarkable young women.

    Speaker Boehner (left) honed in on the importance of Clubs, saying Boys & Girls Clubs are so critically important. Because education doesnt just happen in the classroom, education happens at home. Education happens out in the community. And what you all are doing to help renew the American dream for our kids is commendable. Its one of the reasons I am involved in starting a Club in my own hometown of West Chester, Ohio.

    Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, whose office outgoing National Youth of the Year Kiana Knolland interned at last summer, commended the young women for

    being the first all-female group to reach Washington, D.C. When women succeed, America succeeds. These six extraordinary young women say to us that Americas future is filled with hope and promise and vision.

    Sen. Hoyer also drove home the importance of the work Clubs do on a daily basis. So many of you work every day to build this program up, he said. Who, when one of these young people come through Club doors, says, Welcome. We care about you. We are going to make a difference, together. My, how theyve succeeded. God bless all of them.

    National Youth of the Year Ambassador Misty Copeland announced that Maryah Sullivan was the 201415 Youth of the Year, who closed the event with the heartfelt message, Without you, I wouldnt be here today. The finalists will return to Wash-ington later this year for a private Oval Office meeting with President Obama.

    Kevin McCartney is Senior Vice President of Government Relations for BGCA.

    24 WINTER 2014

  • View From The Potomac columns

    1. (From left) Tupperware Brands CEO/Chairman and BGCA board member Rick Goings, emcee of the Congressional Breakfast, with Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

    2. Military Youth of the year Natalia Lynch with Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio.

    3. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow at the Congressional Breakfast.

    4. (From left) Misty Copeland, Maryah Sullivan, Kiana Knolland, and Susan and Rick Goings

    5. Southwest Youth of the Year Cecilia Garza and Rep. Marc Veasey of Texas.




    When women succeed, America succeeds.DEMOCRATIC WHIP STENY HOYER


  • Start preparing your Club for a successful week!

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