Thu Aug 29th, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
Tags: Barb Fjerstad, BGC, Bruce LeClaire, CEO, Facebook, Ignacio Elementary School, Myla Goodtracks, National Keystone Conference, Neveah Sandoval, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, SunUte Community Center, Youth Development Program
The Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe has temporarily moved to the Ignacio Elementary School. The club will continue to provide the families in the community with a safe and healthy environment while in their new location. The first day of the after-school program kicked off on Monday, Aug. 26 and features new club hours that will allow the program to stay open until 6:30 PM.
BGC is expected to stay out of the SunUte Community Center until January of 2020 which is when the completion of the new HVAC system is expected to wrap up. Due to the installation of the system, BGC decided to move locations to avoid the loss of members and storage space. “We want to make sure that we are maintaining our capacity and by keeping a rotation at the school it will help us serve the kids better,” stated Bruce LeClaire, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Boys and Girls Club.
When the club first decided they needed to move, Cassandra “Cass” Sanchez the BGC site director worked with Ignacio Elementary School Principal, Barb Fjerstad to make arrangements for the club to get approval. “There were a lot of moving parts to get this [move] complete — now were in a manageable position,” LeClaire added.
With the move, BGC will keep moving forward with starting up new club programs for kids 11 to 13 years of age. The Torch Club, according to the BGC’s website is a chartered group that is meant to help meet the character-development needs of young adolescents during a critical stage in their life. LeClaire also described Torch as being “a club within the club” meaning club members will be able to strengthen their 21st-century leadership skills by working with each other to implement new projects while focusing on specific areas of service. Torch club members will also advance into the Keystone club in the coming years to provide their peers with support and engagement during the National Keystone Conference. Not only will this keep the members focused on their communities, but it will set them up to develop skills to enhance their own local clubs.
In addition to providing these programs and clubs to the youth in the community, BGC helps with numerous fairs, i.e. health and job fairs; toy and food drives, fundraisers, as well as sitting in on committees and boards to involve the kids.
The Club is meant to help young people in the community with “developing good character and excellence,” LeClaire stated. “Not only do we serve the Southern Ute Tribe, but we serve the community, we are open to everyone.” The club primarily serves kids from the age of six to thirteen now, but is open to all kids from ages six to eighteen. As the program grows, the goal is to continue providing “a respect of culture, diversity, academic excellence, and development of a healthy mind and body,” the BGC website states. The youth development program currently serves approximately 250 members, they see over 60 kids every day in the After-School Program and typically serve 80 kids a day during the Summer Club Program.
As a tribal department and through grants, the club currently employs 11 staff members including the CEO, Administrative Assistant, Site Director, Program and Behavioral Coordinator as well as six program aids who work directly with the kids. The current aid to kid ratio is 10 to one, whereas the national average is 25 kids for every one aid. Each one of the staff members are highly trained. They go through CPR and First Aid training, mandated reporting, youth mental health first aid, behavior management techniques, pool safety while implementing non-violent crisis prevention.
“We do a lot of volunteer searches and we would like to see more community involvement,” LeClaire expressed. The club recently started their own Facebook page, which they want to encourage everyone to go and “like” to get the most current information about club events, hours, and location changes.
Contact the BGC by phone, 970-563-4553 or visit their website at www.BGCSU.org