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Serving Teens

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THE PLACE TO BE ON #WEOWNFRIDAY NIGHTS Not sure what to do on #WeOwnFriday night, the second Friday of the month and part of the Race to the Club teen outreach initiative? Check out this teen-generated list of events that Boys & Girls Clubs from across the country have hosted:

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Back-to-school or holiday parties All-girls lock-in with panel discussion “Hunger Games”-style water balloon war Roller derby lock-in with live DJ Community service: serving meals at local shelters, assisting organizations that serve children or families in need, park and playground clean-ups

There’s no denying the energy and creativity Club teens have brought to the effort. Advisor Raquel Lee at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley in Chico, California, said, “Our Keystoners have come up with ideas and created events that our staff would never have thought of.”

GROWING LEADERS Keystone Clubs across the Movement have dedicated the second Friday of each month to outreach events. It’s an area where Club teens’ creativity has really shined through. Using the rallying cry #WeOwnFriday, Keystoners have drawn teens to their Clubs for game nights and “open mic” nights, organized Club-sponsored pep rallies and tailgate parties at sporting events, and held campouts and “lock-ins,” with teens gathering to discuss topics such as gender empowerment, applying to college and interacting with law enforcement. Teens are showing up, Keystone advisors believe, because they’re being invited by peers they like, admire and respect. As they strive to bring more teens into the Club, Keystoners are formulating outreach and retention strategies, designing marketing plans, and working with community partners to plan events. They’re feeling the pride of their successes and learning from less-successful efforts. Along the way, they’re getting tangible opportunities to learn and grow as skilled, 21st

century leaders, while helping other teens gain access to the same opportunities the Club provides them. And whether teens are planning a talent competition, a sports tournament or a service project, they can tap into their own passions. A teen who dreams of becoming a performing artist and is assigned a role to help plan a talent show may also have an opportunity to learn about other behind-the-scenes careers in the entertainment industry. Nothing is more powerful than hands-on experience to inspire a teen to explore the pathway to a rewarding career. Race to the Club is a win-win for Clubs looking to grow teen membership and for the Keystoners who are leading the charge. But the responsibility for serving teens – often the most underserved group in any community – must be shared throughout the Movement. “Teen members need to be the ambassadors for their teen program,” said Anthony Luna, Keystone Club advisor at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor. “But they must have the support of their Club and organization. Teen directors, Keystone advisors, Club leadership and board volunteers all need to be at the table for teen outreach and teen programs to be successful.” Jaynemarie Enyonam Angbah is senior director, teen youth development for BGCA. Adrianne Penner is director, teen youth development and national Keystone Club advisor for BGCA. For more information, please visit

bgca.net / Programs

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Connections Winter 2015-2016  

Reaching the Summit. National Youth of the Year finalists, a testament to the Club Experience.

Connections Winter 2015-2016  

Reaching the Summit. National Youth of the Year finalists, a testament to the Club Experience.