Archive for March, 2017

Boys & Girls Club Week 2017!

March 30th, 2017 by Laura Smith


This week is the best week of the year! For more than 75 years, Boys & Girls Clubs all across the nation have celebrated Boys & Girls Club week by recognizing the invaluable service Clubs bring to the communities and youth they serve.

This year, Boys & Girls Clubs are opening their doors and inviting community members to take a tour of Club Units.

To go hand in hand with that, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County is hosting speakers, partner events and educational programs all week long at our Club Units.

This week, our Units are partnering with Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins Children Theatre, CSU STEM Difference Makers, Animal House, Ballet Renaissance, Steve's Club, Lincoln Middle School and OtterCares.

11swim-2-190 df8bb876-d904-4460-93fe-1eee8ab6cbbe image

Our West Loveland Unit will also be hosting a special speaker, Susan von der Lippe! Susan is a former Olympic swimmer who resides in Colorado. She will be sharing her story and goal setting activities with Club Members.

Some fun, educational programs happening this week includes: drama club, crossfit, robotics program, cooking class, bowling at Chipper's Lane, space camp, #WeOwnFriday teen night, Team Fashion, highway clean-up, and an Olympic field day event.

It is sure to be a jam packed week full of fun! Be sure to keep updated on our Facebook page for pictures from this amazing week.

Meet the Staff: Marla!

March 23rd, 2017 by Laura Smith



Marla has been working at the Fort Collins Club for over a year as the Arts Program Specialist! Marla is known for her fun art programs, up-beat attitude and awesome hair. This year, Marla sparked a partnership with the Fort Collins Children's Theater, expanding performing art opportunities for Club members. Read below to learn more about Marla.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is comfort food: stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Yum! In fact, if Wyatt (my son) was named after what I craved the most while I was pregnant, his name would be mashed potatoes and gravy!

What is your ideal vacation?

Camping under the stars near any sort of water, with pillows and blankets, lanterns, a fire, a camper pie iron, with my family and good friends.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

My knife, my mermaid tail, and a camper pie iron.

What is a unique talent that you have?

I can curl my tongue into a four leaf clover

What do you enjoy most about working at the Boys & Girls Club?

I love working with different community members and organizations that we work with and I love working with every single person at the Club everyday, we are family, which is why they call me mom!

Club experiences: Beth from Wellington

March 16th, 2017 by Laura Smith
Unit Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County - Wellington Unit Rob, sits down with Beth, Wellington Youth of the Year, to share her story and experiences while attending the Club.
Breath, You have this. Everything that you are about to do will be hard, but you will grow. This is about the journey of four speeches that Beth will forever remember.
The Wellington Youth Of the Year, Beth, just finished sharing her speech to her peers at the Club that she has been attending for years.  It was an accomplishment as Beth is the person who can step in and help when the staff and Club needs her support most. She is great with directing and assisting youth and talking to them one-on-one. But Beth had one challenge that she knew of: she was shy and resonates more to being an introvert.
Youth of the Year members take on the role of being a public spokesperson for the Wellington Unit and the "Blue Door" movement. She understood that responsibility and saw how most extroverts take on the role. Beth said, "I almost cried" when delivering her speech to her peers as it was very personal and challenging to share.
The following weeks Beth would prepare her speech as she would be competing against the Youths of the Year from the Fort Collins Unit and Loveland Unit. After the event, The Boys & Girls Club of Larimer County would name the winner as the Youth of the Year for the Larimer County organization.
Staff Members Desirae and Rob, worked with Beth again and again. They shared with Beth that she only had to share what she felt comfortable with and that since her story had disclosed the impact of the Club and the support she needed and received from the Club and her new father after her previous father had left her family. Beth said this was something that needed to be shared.
It is said that there are more people who fear public speaking than death. The audience of this event were fellow supportive Club members from the BGCLC. The Judges were caring, helpful and kind critics; it could not have been a better audience for anyone who was about to have their first speech in front of children and adults who were all strangers.
It was later discovered that Beth was about to share with the world what she decided to avoid and take an "F" on in her favorite class, English, because she had to write a paper about her life.  Beth said, "she needed to do this, she needed to move on."  It was empowering to see.
On January 14, 2017, Beth was going to expose a wound and share her heart in a way she has never done before. One of the many slogans and proverbs we use at the Wellington Unit is, "It doesn't matter how you fall, it matters how you get up." Beth with all of her strong characteristics except in extroverted activities and public speaking wavered and fell.
Beth fell in the best place she could, with her family, with the staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, and with her fellow Youth of the Year  club members from the Loveland and Fort Collins Units.
But it does not matter how you fall, it matters on how you get up. Beth, after panicking, marched back to the stage that she ran away from saying "I got this! I want to do this!" She went through each tough part with sound, power and liberation of an emotional weight that was on her. And in the end, she was relieved.
She did not win Youth of The Year of Larimer County. That award was honored to an amazing Club member, Stella of Loveland.
Beth did win in a big way in her life, her story and who she is. She went on to share the same speech at the Mayor's recognition in the Town of Wellington before strong members of the Wellington Community; she did not stumble at all.
For  Beth's fourth speech, a 14-year-old girl from small town Wellington with a shy, introverted personality, was able to present in front of 1,000 people at the Youth of The Year Breakfast.
When Beth saw the size of the room and stage at the practice rehearsal, she  immediately had stage fright. She was soft spoken and looking down at the ground.  People were concerned that she may fail and it could be traumatizing for her.  Beth, who recently went to a Colorado State Basketball game, was overwhelmed with large crowds. She said, "I need to do this; I have got this." Beth practiced and practiced.
On February 9th, Beth turned her weakness into a strength. High school speech class will be much easier for Beth, as she can successfully say she spoke with a very successful woman and Board Member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, Jen Parker, as the open speakers in front of 1,000 people.
I am so thrilled to share the growth of Beth and how she worked through her fear of public speaking and large crowds. Beth can say with confidence that she can speak in front of anyone.

Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project Benefits BGCLC

March 10th, 2017 by Laura Smith

Great companies doing great things is what makes this world go round. A prime example of that is Pizza Hut's Literacy Project, in which the company commits to literacy and reading. Through this initiative, Pizza Hut raised over $4,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County.


During this project, Pizza Hut engaged customers and team members through a coordinated fundraising campaign that took place from September to November. The campaign aimed to enable access to literacy resources, empower teachers and inspire readers in the community it serves.

As a part of this fundraiser, Pizza Hut teamed up with First Bank, a recognized nonprofit, social sector leader in supporting equal access to education by providing new books and education resources to schools and programs that serve children.

The funds raised by Pizza Hut provide credits to the First Bank Marketplace. These credits allow purchasing power to educators to select from thousands of books and educational resources at a discounted cost.

Thank you so much to both companies for giving back and helping us give the children we serve a GREAT FUTURE!

Volunteer Spotlight: OtterCares!

March 2nd, 2017 by Laura Smith


Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County wouldn't be such a success without our awesome volunteers who help in the Clubs, at events and anything and everything else we can think of. To show appreciation to our volunteers, we introduce a new blog series: Volunteer of the Month. If you're a volunteer with BGCLC and would like to be featured, reach out to Megan, our volunteer coordinator, at!


This month we meet Tricia Vincent, Employee Engagement Specialist, from the OtterCares Foundation. OtterCares employees volunteer at many of our events and often bring their Mobile Innovation Station to our Club Units. We sat down with Tricia to learn more about the OtterCares mission and their awesome foundation!

What inspired you to develop the OtterCares "Mobile Innovation Station" and what are your plans to develop/grow the idea?

The Mobile Innovation Station came out of the OtterCares Foundation’s focus on Innovative Education and teaching kids to be entrepreneurial. We discovered that hands-on learning tools like those in our Mobile Innovation Station help inspire kids to explore and invent new things, a key process in becoming an entrepreneur. As far as developing the idea, we hope to add more educational tools to the station as we learn about them, and make the program available to more students throughout Northern Colorado.

img_9295 img_9296

Both of our organizations are committed to creating brighter futures for kids. Can you talk about the origins of OtterCares's mission to empower youth through entrepreneurship and philanthropy education? What are some key ways in which OtterCares pursues this mission? How do you envision championing that mission through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County?

When OtterCares Foundation was created, our owners and founders wanted to focus on something that would create lasting change in the world, and believed that education is one of the best ways to do that. Knowing that education is a BIG topic, they decided to focus specifically on teaching about entrepreneurship and philanthropy because those pillars were true to who they were as individuals and also true to the culture of the Otter Products company. We also felt like there were not a lot of other organizations focused on teaching these concepts to kids, so we knew there was a big opportunity to make a difference in that area.

We have had the pleasure of working with dozens, if not hundreds, of amazing Otter Products employees through our partnership with OtterCares. What makes Otters so impressive?

Because they are.... 🙂 I think Otters are so impressive because they are both passionate and hard working! They absolutely love to have fun and are completely dedicated to any task they undertake.

What is your favorite part of working for the OtterCares foundation?

Being in a position that allows me to inspire kids and teach them that they have the ability to make a huge positive difference in the world!

Who is your favorite superhero and why?

I’m not much of a traditional superhero person so I think I’d have to say my favorite superheroes are teachers. They do the hard work every single day of helping shape students into the amazing, intelligent people who are going to do amazing things.