Archive for the ‘Leadership Development’ Category

Youth of the Year Breakfast: A Preview!

February 2nd, 2017 by Laura Smith

Everyone loves breakfast, right? It tastes good. It fills you up. And, there is usually something sweet involved. Here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, we love breakfast for a whole other reason: celebrating the amazing youth we serve for one awesome event.

dsc06291Our Youth of the Year (YOY) breakfast is our biggest event of the year. It not only brings together our supporters, sponsors, volunteers, staff members and donors, it also gives all of those people (and more) a chance to connect with some of the youth we serve.

If you find yourself at the breakfast, you'll be entertained with some of our Loveland Unit STEP team members, get a chance to connect with the youth as they tell you their goals and hopes for the future, and you'll also be able to see all of the youths of the month from 2016 we will be honoring from each Club U

dsc06288During this event, you'll also get to find out WHO the 2017 Larimer County Youth of the Year is. This individual has worked hard to win over her Club Unit as well as all of the other Club Units (Wellington, Loveland, West Loveland, Fort Collins) in Larimer County.  Her story is incredible, but her hopes, goals and dreams for the future are even more astounding. We can't wait to have everyone hear her story on February 9th!

And while the Club Staff and Program Support have been a bit hectic the last few weeks in preparation, we are so excited to honor these youth! The Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County opens doors to great futures, and we can't see all the doors these youth will open.

As a mini preview, meet our Senior Youths of the Year (Beth, Stella, Helen) and Junior Youths of the Year (Alex, Earl, Ayanna, Gabbie) pictured below:

See you all in a week!

Holiday Service Challenges!

January 12th, 2017 by Laura Smith


The holidays may technically be over, but that doesn't mean the spirit of the holidays has to fade (or the tree has to come down). We're still channeling the holiday cheer here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County and hope you'll join us!
During the holiday season, each Unit was asked to participate in a Service Challenge as a part of one of our core priority outcomes: Good Character & Leadership. Read on to find out what our Units did for the community this season!
Fort Collins Unit 
This year, the Fort Collins Unit made personalized ornaments for the occupants at The Remington House affiliated with The Jacob Center. The Jacob Center was founded in 1988 by three social workers. The name Jacob is typically associated with healing and also refers to an ancient surveying instrument (Jacob Staff) that helps people get their bearings. The Jacob Center focuses on working with youth, families and the community to inspire positive, long-lasting change. A part of that, the Remington House, services a range of behavioral and emotional issues, including abuse, family relational issues, trauma issues and substance abuse. To help boost spirits, Club Members of the SMART (skills mastery and resistance training) Moves program made ornaments and then educated other Club Members about The Jacob Center and how it correlates with the lessons provided in SMART Moves.
Loveland Units 
Following along with their summer service challenge (commUNITY), the Loveland Unit collected an assortment of clothes that they donated to Homeless Gear. They are hoping to follow up commUNITY part two by hosting the Loveland Police Department at the Club Unit for another activity.
Wellington Unit 
 This year, the Torch Club (a chartered leadership and service club for boys and girls ages 11 to 13) hosted a coat drive! Club Members were able to donate 50 coats to Zion Lutheran who gave the coats to Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The Torch Club made posters and asked community members to donate coats.
Great work to all our Club Members for their selfless work this holiday season!

Summer 2016 Boys & Girls Clubs Training

June 9th, 2016 by Jenna Riedi

Watch out summer, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County full-time and part-time staff are trained and ready! During the last week of May, BGC staff underwent a week of staff programming and safety training in preparation for the 2016 summer sessions. On Tuesday, May 31st, staff kicked-off training by learning about the importance and necessity of mental health first aid when dealing with children, teens and young adults.

Staff also went through a two-day lesson on Poudre School District’s school shooter training. After several school shootings within the last few years, this training was critical for all staff to understand that in today’s society, sometimes we are the front line when violence occurs. Topics covered included an active shooter scenario, bomb threat scenario and hands-on wound care workshop. More information on the shooter training can be found here. This shooter training was taught in conjunction with CPR and First Aid Training.

Staff, both full-time and part-time, got to break-out and mingle during the greater part of Thursday, June 2, while participating in in-service training at the Boys & Girls Club Fort Collins location. The all-day training included an all-staff, mandatory reporting training hosted by the Child Advocacy Center. Items discussed included recognizing signs of child abuse and neglect, and also what to do if you suspect abuse. This session was followed by four breakout sessions designed to get staff involved and immersed in Boys & Girls Clubs tailored activities. Break-out sessions included High Yield Learning Activities led by Brian Johnson; STEAM Programming led by Rachel Messersmith; On The Spot Fun led by TJ Daya; and Engaging Youth in Targeted Programming led by Andy Abbott.


Even with all the training and learning happening, the staff managed to squeeze out some fun. It can’t be all work and no play after all.


Three more sessions wrapped up the day, including Safety Scenarios and BGCLC Safety Protocol led by Kaycee Headrick, which examined safety protocols and safety scenarios; Nonviolent Communication led by Rob Klein, in which attendees were taught techniques around nonviolent communication when working with youth and de-escalation strategies; and finally, Planning for Programming 101 led by TJ Daya and Ashley Prow, which covered the basics of planning and preparing for Club activities as well as addressing how to see, and fill, a need in the Club environment.

No training is just a week long event, it is continually on-going and always needed. Let’s keep safe, keep trained, and work on making this the best summer yet!

2016 Keystone Conference

March 24th, 2016 by Jenna Riedi

Held in Dallas, TX this year, the Keystone National Conference celebrated the Year of the Teen, a national initiative to encourage teens to attend their local Boys & Girls Clubs.  This amazing conference had over 2,100 teens and 400 Club staff from across the global attend. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County sent five teens and two staff to the conference, and have returned with an infectious amount of energy, enthusiasm, and amazing ideas to make the Club even better than ever.

While at the conference, members went on career exploration and college tours, participated in team building and learned how to better impact their community.  In order to attend this year's conference, our Keystone members have held movie nights and dances for Club members over the past year, raising over $3,000 to cover their travel costs.  Congratulations to our five teens for their wonderful work and participation!

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Youth of the Year 2016

January 15th, 2016 by Jenna Riedi
Youths of the Year 2015

Gaby, Katelyn, and Sergio

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County (BGCLC) will name the 2016 Youth of the Year on February 18th, 2016 at the Growing Great Futures Youth of the Year Breakfast. This is an honor bestowed on a BGCLC club member, ages 14-18, who has shown tremendous involvement, leadership and a positive impact on their Boys & Girls Club as well as on their community.

It’s a long road for a club member to achieve the title of Youth of the Year and it’s often the journey itself that will transform a glimpse of potential into a sustained expectation for greatness. BGCLC believes that each and every one of the youth that comes through the doors of a club has the potential to do incredible things, including earning the title of Youth of the Year!

The road to Youth of the Year starts with simple recognition. Hundreds of youth flow through the doors of BGCLC every day, each with their own chip on their shoulder. Kids, in general, are often “recognized” for their poor choices and behavior that often results from the weight of life bogging them down. How often do kids get recognized for actually carrying out the good things that are expected of them? “Thanks for being a good sport!” can be heard by club staff when a club member shakes hands with the kid who just beat them at ping pong. Weekly honors are given out to kids who helped clean in the art room every day. A member lights up and runs down the bleachers to be recognized in front of their peers as Youth of the Month for their involvement in club programs and the positive impact they’ve had on others.

BGCLC strives to recognize youth whenever possible, as well as build upon that recognition to give them the confidence and skill set to attain the title of Youth of the Year!  The Clubs each present their Youth of the Year, and the winning youth of these three will be announced and honored at the 2016 Youth of the Year Breakfast, being held on February 18 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.  Details Here.

Congratulations to Gaby (Fort Collins), Katelyn (Loveland), and Sergio (Wellington), for the wonderful honor of being their Club's youth of the year!  Each of these amazing competing finalists started with small accomplishments which were recognized and built upon.

Youth Providing Warmth

December 11th, 2015 by Jenna Riedi

Keystone ClubOne of BGCLC’s three priority outcome areas is Good Character & Citizenship, with the goal of each youth becoming caring, productive, and responsible citizens. In order for our members to achieve Good Character & Citizenship, we provide leadership and service clubs that focus on: academic success, career preparation, and community service.

This Holiday season, our Torch Club and Keystone Club joined forces to help make blankets and collect canned food items for the Fort Collins Rescue Mission. The teens were incredibly passionate about this idea and got straight to work! For weeks, they worked on promoting their ideas by creating posters, talking with parents and staff members, and creating a book drive in order to raise the necessary money to buy blanket materials. By doing so, the Clubs raised nearly $80 and were able to buy 40 fleece blankets to donate. In addition, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store was kind enough to donate 30 fleece blankets.  After collecting blanket materials, the teens turned their attention to collecting canned food items. They put together a food drive and were able to collect 4 boxes and 3 bags of food items to donate as well.

Before the Thanksgiving Holiday, Staff Members took five Torch Club teens and five Keystone Club teens to The Rescue Mission. There, the teens were given a tour of the facility and were able to learn more about homelessness in the Fort Collins area.  After the tour, the teens dropped off their donations and left in smiles! They fully embraced the opportunity to give back to the community during the holiday season. We applaud them for all of their hard work and determination!

Anti-Bullying Week

November 6th, 2015 by Jenna Riedi

This week, our Club Members decided to take a stand against bullying by participating in Anti-Bully Week. One of our main goals was to teach our Club Members how to respect themselves and others.  Throughout the week, the kids learned about the negative impacts of bullying and that it can come in many different forms (direct, indirect, cyber, and physical).

After learning more about bullying, our Club Members in Loveland created an Anti-Bully Pledge for youth to sign. The pledge was then hung up in the middle of the Games Room for youth, volunteers, parents, and staff members to see. Club Members also made blue ribbon bracelets that represent Anti-Bullying Awareness and promote further education of anti-bullying programs in schools and organizations.

Loveland Anti Bully Pledge

anti bully week

Our Fort Collins Club Members created a PSA that emphasized the "Stop. Walk Away. Talk to a Staff Member" approach. Along with this, members created posters that they hung up around the club that stated, "Stop, Walk, Talk." Many of the members were very motivated to speak in the film and had some powerful statements about how they have experienced bullying in their own lives.

At our Wellington Club, youth were asked to make a list of 30 random acts of kindness that they completed during the week. Some of the acts included: cheering up kids who may have felt left out, talking to a friend when he/she needed me, and helping staff clean up the Art Room.

Many of our Club Members expressed how much they enjoyed the activity. Wellington Club Member, Violet, told staff, "I liked doing this because it tells you that you are being kind to others and you are respecting the Boys & Girls Club." Below, Violet is excited to show off her 30 Random Acts of Kindness list!

Wellington Anti Bully Week

One of BGCLC’s three priority outcome areas is Good Character & Citizenship, with the goal of modeling strong character; whether at the Club or in the community. Anti-Bully Week was a way for our kids to learn how to be strong role models and develop good character. Overall, it was a positive learning experience for our Club Members!

Meet Kathi, Executive Director

October 23rd, 2015 by Jenna Riedi


Known for her infamous smile and contagious energy, Kathi has been the Executive Director of BGCLC for 16 years! Previous to that Kathi served on BGCLC's Board of Directors. Passionate about the work that we do, Kathi serves as a great leader and servant to young people in Larimer County. Read below to learn more about Kathi!

1. What is your favorite type of food?

Because I was raised in Nebraska, I would say fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy and CORN ON THE COB (only Nebraska corn!)

2. What is your ideal vacation?
My ideal vacation is touring National Parks - My next one I hope to see is Glacier. I also love Blues festivals - especially outdoors.

3. If you were trapped on an island, what three things would you bring with you?
I can't think of being trapped on an island, I don't like water very much (coming from the middle of Nebraska!) so the chances of me being anywhere near an island are slim to none.

4. What is a unique talent you have?
My unique talent is connecting with all kinds of individuals, and sometimes in a very deep way!

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

I enjoy each person I work with. I find the staff to be amazing, caring, individuals. The volunteers give so much of their time, talent & treasure, they are awesome. The donors are super people all the way around. I am blessed to love what I do for a living so much!

College Tour 2015

April 30th, 2015 by Talia Sanders

Club Youth had the opportunity to tour colleges on the east coast this past week. During this college tour, Club Kids visited different colleges, historical sites such as the Washington Memorial Chapel and the Washington Monument (pictured above), other Boys & Girls Clubs, and participated in a service project at a local assisted living facility.

This year we visited a diverse mix of colleges including; Massachusetts College of Art and Design, University of Rhode Island, University of Baltimore, University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University.

BGCLC Youth also visited other Boys & Girls Clubs along the way to to meet and collaborate with other Members. This year we went to the Boys & Girls Club of Chelsea, Richard England Boys & Girls Club in Washington D.C., and Chester Boys & Girls Club in Chester, PA.

" I really liked how diverse the University of Rhode Island was and how individualized the programs were." Sydney, Senior at the Loveland Unit.

"I enjoyed seeing where Martin Luther King Jr.gave his I have a dream speech. Also I learned a lot at the Holocaust Museum." Mason, Sophomore the Loveland Unit.

Exposing youth to post graduation opportunities is an important component of our Academic Success programming.

Character & Leadership Development

April 30th, 2015 by Talia Sanders

Our Character & Leadership Programs help youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills for participating in the democratic process. They develop leadership skills as we provide opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to Club and community, and celebrating our national heritage.

Youth of the Year
Established in 1947, Youth of the Year is BGCLC’s premier recognition program for Club members, promoting service to Club, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. The program is most effective when used as a year-round tool for fostering young people’s character, personal growth and leadership qualities.

Torch Club
Torch Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 11 to 13. A Torch Club is a powerful vehicle through which Club staff can help meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their life. Torch Club members learn to elect officers and work together to implement activities in four areas: service to Club and community; education; health and fitness; and social recreation.

Keystone Clubs
Keystone Club is the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s ultimate teen program. This unique leadership development experience provides opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18. Youth participate, both in and out of the Club, in activities in three focus areas: academic success, career preparation, and community service. With the guidance of an adult advisor, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on members, the Club, and the community.