Page 1

Brain Gain

Preventing the summer learning loss that puts Club kids at risk

in this issue N.J. Clubs Bounce Back from Superstorm Sandy Making Safe Places Safer Annual Visits: Getting Kids to Strive for 105


JAMES L. CLARK President and CEO EVAN MCELROY Senior Vice President Marketing & Communications

connections .

33, no



RON GIDWITZ Chairman of the Board





It is an honor to serve as Chairman of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Board of Governors for the next two years. There’s a wonderful sense of momentum and commitment within our Movement. This is an exciting time for our children. 2013 marks my 38th year serving Boys & Girls Clubs. That makes me the longest-serving active member of the national board. Sometimes, longevity has its privileges. Over those years, I’ve seen our Movement change in many ways. I’ve seen our mission expand, our name change. I was there to see our brand go from a “best-kept secret” to a top-10 nonprofit name. I’ve witnessed the building of a national board that is one of the strongest, most dedicated in the nonprofit universe. Nevertheless, I believe our Movement’s most exciting era has just begun. In the Great Futures Impact Plan, we have an exciting strategic direction to lead us forward. And with a network of 250,000 professional staff and volunteers, Clubs are positioned to make an even greater impact in putting our young people on track to great futures. Volunteers are critical to our success. For me, and I hope for many of you, being a volunteer for Boys & Girls Clubs continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Volunteers play a critical role in strengthening Clubs to be able to better serve the kids who need us most. That’s why one of my major focuses will be to increase volunteer engagement at all levels of our Movement. We have just scratched the surface of what we can bring to these children.

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.

Each of us has unique capabilities that our Clubs and kids need more of. Whether you’re a board member, a Club professional or a supporter of our efforts, now is a tremendous time to be involved in our great cause. Together, we will realize major achievements for our youth over the next two years.

Copyright ©2012 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Job No. 2255-13 1SSN:0272-6513


BGCA Board of Governors

2 A New Season for Learning

Reversing the “summer slide” that puts kids behind in school

6 Weathering the Storm

New Jersey Clubs rally back from Superstorm Sandy

8 Youth Line Up for Club 105

Recognizing kids who reach the annual visit sweet spot

Page 2

12 The More Things Change… National Boys & Girls Club Week

14 Boys to Men II

Passport to Manhood re-launched to help more young men



COLUMNS 10 President’s Report

BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark

16 Child and Club Safety Making Safe Places Safer

Page 14

18 Excellence in Action

A holistic approach to strategic planning

20 View from the Potomac

Ensuring our youth’s critical needs are understood

ON THE COVER Forest Discoveries, a volunteer-led summer program that combines science and artistic expression, lets members at BGCs of Central Virginia explore ecosystems. Photo: ©2013 Diana Foster, Forest Discoveries

Page 16 W W W. B G C A . O R G


New Season for Learning Fun programs help Clubs reverse the “summer slide”


ackyard barbeques, baseball, bike rides with friends. Summer vacation is an American mainstay. And yet, for many children, the tradition exacts a high price. While the school halls are empty each summer, the average American student loses approximately one month’s worth of learning.

Many kids lose far more – two to three months for most students from low-income families. As a result, they begin each school year without the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. These losses also stack up from year to year, causing children to fall farther and farther behind, ultimately endangering their chances of high school graduation. In fact, the summer-time learning slide is to blame for most of the achievement gap between low-income youth and their wealthier peers, researchers say. But Clubs around the country are proving that summer vacation need not lead to school failure. At the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge, La., for example, where 93 percent of members qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, third graders achieved an average five-month gain in reading last summer.

BGCs of Central Virginia members learn and explore in the Forest Discoveries summer program.

2 SPRING 2013

Photos on this page ©2013 Diana Foster, Forest Discoveries”

CATCHING UP ON READING Many of the kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, Texas, struggle with reading; that much was apparent. “Helping with homework, staff could see that the children were able to do the assignments, but only after an adult read the instructions to them,” says President and CPO Daphne Barlow-Stigliano. “Until we formally assessed our kids, though, I don’t think anyone appreciated just how great the need for literacy assistance was in our community.”

Last year, more than 200 community readers, including a local news anchor and the mayor, volunteered to share their favorite books with members of the BGC of Greater Baton Rouge, La.


A literacy assessment revealed that only 24 percent of the Club’s frequent attendees were reading on grade level, and 50 percent were “tier three,” or more than two years behind grade level. “It was important for everyone to see the need in black and white,” says Barlow-Stigliano, “because literacy interventions are harder work than running Power Hour.” In the summer of 2012, the Club partnered with the United Way to provide a 10-week summer literacy intervention for 1st- through 3rd-graders at high risk of school failure. Each day, participants received 30-minute, one-on-one sessions with reading specialists. Club staff provided wrap-around activities, such as “sight word bingo” and other fun games, in small groups. The Club commissioned a formal study by a local university and found that 94 percent of participants either maintained or gained reading competency.

Clubs have always provided learning experiences in the summer, says President and Chief Professional Officer Pat R. Van Burkleo. A 2007 evaluation showed that kids in the Baton Rouge Club’s summer camp gained about 1.5 months of learning. But Club leaders thought they could The Club also used the summer of 2012 to pilot-test a and should do more, given the Club’s at-risk population. more comprehensive reading program for 1st- through In 2008, the Baton Rouge Club launched its Summer 5th-graders, now provided year-round to 1,000 participants. Enrichment Program. “We think it’s very important that expanded learning time Now, reading opportunities are integrated into an otherwise happens during the school year, too,” says Barlow-Stigliano. largely traditional Club Experience. Each morning begins with Harambee, a motivational Swahili chant that means “pull together,” to get kids excited about learning. Next, a community volunteer reads his or her favorite book to Club members. Kids read aloud in fun activities that use poetry, prose and even song lyrics. Teen members receive books they can read at home. That’s important, says Van Burkleo, because many Club kids don’t live in print-rich homes. At the Club, teens participate in book club discussions and read to younger members. While preserving the fundamentals of the Club Experience is essential, says Van Burkleo, it’s also time to rethink common expectations about summer. “To spend time learning in the summer is not punitive. Summer is an opportunity for learning.” Youth at BGCs of Greater Fort Worth receive one-on-one sessions with reading specialists.


The Club purchased Although the Club works closely with local schools to i-Station, literacy software ensure its programs support the academic skills members that provides kids with need, says Slade, “we cannot have our Clubs become computer-based lessons homework factories. We want kids to think, ‘Wow, I’m tailored to their needs, as learning to run my own business,’ as they set up a lemonade determined by an assessment stand, for example. They may not even realize they’re also at the beginning of the building math skills.” program. It also includes “The really exciting thing,” agrees President and CEO scripted lessons that Club Donna Ferraro, “is that the kids are having so much fun.” professionals run with small groups of members. “We were skeptical at first of a VENTURING INTO NEW software platform,” says TERRITORY Chief Operating Officer When members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Jim Larkin, “but the Virginia begin the Forest Discoveries program each summer, research backs it up.” some are afraid even to set foot in the woods. But by the end of the program, Club volunteer and biologist Diana The Club learned several lessons about implementation. Foster has 3rd- and 4th-graders thinking like scientists. One key was hiring reading specialists to train Club staff. Not only can they identify forest species, says Executive The specialists provided an introduction to literacy theory Director James Pierce, they create a project, such as a and demonstrated how to lead activities that work. Another key was carefully integrating literacy activities into the overall Club Experience. Says Larkin, “We want the kids participating in the literacy program to feel special. But we also, for example, don’t want them to miss field trips.”

NO ‘HOMEWORK FACTORIES’ The Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Calif., has long offered Fun Sessions, during winter, spring and summer breaks. In recent years, the Club has used summer Fun Sessions more intentionally to help members maintain their academic skills over the long school vacation, says Michelle Slade, vice president of impact and advancement. Each Fun Session is organized around a theme, such as last summer’s Superhero Camp, in which participants explored ways they could be heroes by helping others and protecting the environment. Staff-to-member ratios are lower, and activities have a literacy-rich focus. Teens participate in advanced sessions that include acting as leaders to younger kids. Enrichment activities are scheduled in the mornings, while afternoons are less structured. “It’s very important that it’s still like the Club,” says Slade. “It’s still their summer vacation. We still use our incentive programs and go on field trips.”

4 SPRING 2013

group dance re-enacting birds’ migratory patterns. A 2011 assessment revealed that Central Virginia Club kids were falling an average of three to six months behind grade level in reading. Finding the stark achievement gap created by the summer break unacceptable, Club leaders approached the local school system with their data and a request. They wanted teachers to help design an effective summer learning loss prevention program for members in kindergarten through 3rd grade. “It was a true partnership,” says Pierce. “We

At BGC of Greater Baton Rouge, the summer program includes math activities with M&Ms (top left), field trips and a finale celebration (above).

didn’t go to the schools just to get buy-in. They helped us design and implement the program.” Together, school and Club staff conceived a program with three requirements. First, it had to be fun. Second, there would be field trips, and they would happen at the beginning, rather than the end, of each themed, two-week session. “Many of our kids don’t know what happens to recycled materials, for example,” says Pierce. Starting with a visit to a recycling plant gives kids a useful knowledge base for the rest of the session on natural resources. Finally, members would spend time each day reading accessible text, both to build literacy skills and to gain knowledge about the themed subject matter. Throughout all the activities, kids would have lots of interactions with adults, in part to ensure no one gets stuck with reading materials that are too difficult, which can exacerbate literacy problems. Group projects created over the course of each session help kids build soft skills, such as teamwork and how to learn from mistakes. The Club hired two part-time teachers to lead activities and educate other Club staff about literacy. They taught staff, for example, the “Five Fingers Rule”: if a child misses

Now there’s a great opportunity for all Clubs to combat summer learning loss! BGCA is pilot-testing Brain Gain, a summer learning program developed specifically for Boys & Girls Clubs. All Clubs can use the 2013 curriculum materials as they’re being tested this summer. This initial version of Brian Gain comprises 18 one-week modules with fun, themed activities for elementary school, middle school and high school students. Members work in teams to solve challenges issued at the beginning of each week, and develop engaging, hands-on projects along the way.

Members from BGC of Central Virginia on a summer field trip.

five words while reading a book, the book is too difficult. For the summer, the Club also hires a program coordinator, who spends mornings in one of the units where the program is offered and afternoons in the other. At the end of last summer, 90 percent of frequent attendees had either gained or maintained their reading scores. Ultimately, summer presents an opportunity Clubs can’t ignore, says Pierce. “In the communities we serve, we have extremely high populations of youth who come to us every day. It is necessary, in our role as child advocates, that we spend some time every day keeping our kids on pace academically with their peers.”

Your Club members can spend the summer writing movie scripts, conducting science experiments, cooking fresh meals, creating sculpture gardens, making change in their communities and testing new inventions. Activities develop higher-order thinking skills while keeping kids on track for the coming school year. Everything is designed to work within a traditional Club summer camp schedule, so there’s still time for meals, field trips and other local favorites. The 2013 Brain Gain summer curricula will be available free to all Clubs in early May at

Michelle McQuiston is senior writer/editor for BGCA.




STORM By John Collins


hen the historic storm Sandy made landfall last Oct. 29, its vicious winds, torrential rain and storm surge flooding affected millions of people in the northeast United States. In New Jersey alone, 39 lives were lost, with hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed. Among them were three Boys & Girls Clubs.

The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County and Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County each suffered severe water and wind damage, serious enough to shut all of them down. Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Club staff and the generous support of a range of individuals and groups, the Clubs have overcome the devastation to get back to their business at hand: serving the young people of their communities.

HOBOKEN In the city of Hoboken, flood waters wiped out the ground floor of Hudson County’s Edward A. Dalton Unit, including the recently renovated Teen Center. Once the water receded, Club staff began cleaning out debris and gasoline. Dalton Unit, clockwise from top left: Katie Couric and Steve Fanuka; Former Yankee Nick Swisher donates $15,000 to replace water-ruined instruments; CC Sabathia, right, and retired NFL player Tiki Barber with Club teens; some 265 Club kids attend the Club’s Thanksgiving dinner.

6 SPRING 2013

“Out of the blue, everything was everywhere,” says Wycliffe Daniels, the Club’s director of development. “And cleanup has to happen immediately. Because the longer you wait, the more that will be destroyed.”

Dressed in layers against the cold, wet weather, Daniels and his colleagues worked to remove the rubble. Passersby began to bring hot coffee, soup and pizza. “Then the support kind of expanded,” says Daniels.

Nonetheless, the Club managed to re-open just eight days after the storm. CEO Russell Triolo credits the quick re-start to his staff members. “Everybody came in, everybody,” says Triolo. “They worked around the clock removing debris. Buckets were everywhere and we were constantly mopping up. Our staff really wanted to get it open for the kids. I was so proud of them.”

The NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation (a charitable initiative of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America funded a new gym floor and a new school bus. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia Triolo commended BGCA for its support. “Les Nichols (a member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall (vice president of Child & Club Safety) was one of the first of Fame) and volunteers from his PitCCh In Foundation people I called. I knew he would steer me right. He told painted the cafeteria. Lowe’s donated $50,000 in products. me exactly what I needed to do to secure a contractor for Moreover, the home improvement retailer arranged to have the roofs. He took me through the entire process and made talk show “Katie!” tape an episode at the Club. sure we got 20-year warranties for each roof.” Host Katie Couric was joined by HGTV/DIY TV stars Steve Fanuka and Genevieve Gorder, who did much more than talk. The TV personalities worked on-site at the Club for a week. “Million Dollar Contractor” Fanuka directed the installation of flooring, plumbing, walls and cabinets. Interior designer Gorder oversaw the Teen Center restoration, giving it a look kids would dig. By Dec. 20, the Club’s restoration was complete.

In addition, BGCA President Jim Clark visited each Club to offer the organization’s moral and fiscal support. “I never felt so much a part of our national organization,” Triolo recalls. “It was a career-defining moment. When Jim came, it brought me right to thinking about kids. It’s all about kids, all about their welfare. Without BGCA, we couldn’t have done it.”

The reaction in Hoboken was similar. “Having Jim come was probably the most inspiring part, says Daniels. “He’s CHELSEA someone who understands how important the Club is to You can see the ocean from Atlantic City’s Chelsea Unit, the kids of the neighborhood. It was a real morale booster.” where the seawall is about a five-minute walk up the block. With the roads closed, Executive Director Mekos Even now, relief efforts are continuing throughout the Denson couldn’t reach the Club until two days after the region. Many experts expect it will take years to fully storm. “The front door was blown off,” he recalls. “It was recover from Superstorm Sandy, estimated by the National Hurricane Center to have caused $50 billion in damage – heartbreaking.” more than any U.S. hurricane except Katrina. After the Club had recently invested in renovations, including new carpet, paint and restoration of its teaching Fortunately, thanks to the dedication of Club staff and kitchen, the storm surge gutted the first floor with five feet communities, kids in those hard-hit areas still have a safe of water. Its HVAC system was beyond repair. Outside, the place to go. roof and parking lot needed to be replaced. Three buses John Collins is senior writer/editor for BGCA. used to transport kids were totaled. In all, the Club was looking at nearly $300,000 in damages. Chelsea would be closed until February. In the interim, more than 100 kids attended the crosstown Pennsylvania Unit, a union that Denson says brought the Clubs and their members closer together. “The kids became great friends, they learned from each other,” says Denson. “Unity was something we’d been working on before the storm, the idea that, although we are two units, we are all one Club.”

UNION About 20 minutes from Hoboken in the city of Union, Sandy inflicted $150,000 in damage on the Union County Club. Three roofs had to be replaced and substantial harm was done to the after-school Learning Center, swimming pool and its two gymnasiums.

Bird’s-eye view of one of three roofs that needed to be replaced at Union County Club.





n 2008, a national study by Public/Private Ventures found that young people who attended a Boys & Girls Club at least 104 times per year achieved significantly greater outcomes than other youth. That’s why frequent attendance is such an important focus of both the Formula for Impact and our Great Futures Impact Plan.

When Club President and CEO Lisa Hurst tracked more than 2,000 former members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley for her dissertation research, she discovered a similar tipping point at 105 annual visits. Former members who reached this mark were more than twice as likely as their peers to have graduated from high school. BGCs of the Tennessee Valley members who graduated from high school in 2012 celebrate at a special recognition dinner and ceremony at the Moses Teen Center.

8 SPRING 2013

With the effect of frequent attendance so clear, Tennessee Valley Club leaders decided to hone in on this strategy to increase average daily attendance. They developed a fun recognition program, “Club 105,” for frequent attendees. After just one six-month cycle, the organization’s 14 Clubs had collectively grown ADA by 100, to 1,230 youth per day. Here’s Lisa Hurst, along with Vice President of Operations Markus Jackson and Area Director Josh Yarbrough, with more on the program.

Q: How does Club 105 work? A: When a Club member has attended 105 times, he or she

becomes a member of Club 105. We launched the program last July. In March, we had our first big recognition party for Club 105 members from all our units.

six-month cycle, to encourage them to keep working toward the big goal.

Q: How has participating in BGCA’s National Youth Outcomes Initiative helped?

A: Using our dashboards from the National Youth Outcomes Initiative,* we can easily look at the attendance Q: Why the name “Club 105”? numbers across all our units each quarter. We do fun A: For one thing, it speaks directly to the number of things to recognize the units that have the most Club 105 annual Club visits that we know make a difference in kids’ members, which creates friendly competition among our lives. For another thing, we wanted the program to be Clubs. something fun, that the kids would aspire to, so we gave it the name and created a logo. The logo will go on the Q: How have your staff members responded to the program? T-shirts and other incentive items. We’re even going to A: It’s really been a staff-driven program from the create special, color-coded membership cards. beginning. Our staff participated on the committee that created Club 105, and having the right people in place Q: What are the other benefits and incentives? has been critical to making it work. We talk with Club A: We’re still working on the details, but other rewards will professionals about the importance of making personal include free field trips and late nights at the Club. We’re connections with the kids, because it’s those relationships also going to offer incentives for parents, such as reduced that keep kids coming back. In addition, our performance fees and periodic “parents’ nights out.” accountabilities now include the number of youth who reach Club 105. Q: How is Club 105 funded? A: Club Blue, a local networking group of young Q: Is it working? professionals that supports our organization, is donating A: Yes, the numbers show that it is. During the first six all the funds for the parties and recognition items. That’s months of the program, we had 291 kids who attended at another way that giving the program a fun, recognizable least 105 days. name helped us. In addition to being able to provide such compelling proof for the impact of frequent attendance, Since the program launched, we’ve added 179 new members, and we increased ADA by 100. As a rule of we also have a discrete program, with its own identity. thumb, Clubs expect to serve about one-quarter of their membership each day. So ordinarily – without increasing Q: Why does the program run in six-month cycles? members’ frequency of attendance – you would need to A: We recognize that, to some extent, membership is add 400 new memberships to boost ADA by 100. seasonal. Not all of our members will come to the Club all year – some will attend in the summer, some during Learn how the National Youth Outcomes Initiative can help the school year, and others when they’re not participating increase attendance and improve the Club Experience. It’s in after-school sports. But we want all of our members to easy! Sign up at come to the Club often enough to achieve better outcomes. Michelle McQuiston is senior writer/editor for BGCA. This year, we’re also hosting smaller celebrations for kids who’ve attended 52 times by the midpoint in each

From left: Building with blocks at the Haslam Family Club University Unit; Club members meet Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; broadcasting live over the Club’s radio station, Club BGC.


columns President’s Report


his is an exhilarating time for Boys & Girls Clubs. At exactly the time our nation’s young people need us most, we are poised to make an even greater impact on even more youth.

Undoubtedly, America’s kids are facing enormous challenges. More than 1 in 5 kids are living in poverty. More than 1 in 4 won’t graduate from high school. If these issues are left unaddressed, this generation could be the first to not surpass their parents’ success. But we in the Boys & Girls Club Movement have a different vision of the future, for America and for our youth. We have a plan to get from today’s reality, to a future where all children have an excellent chance to head successful businesses and to lead their communities. Working together, we can help to reverse these disturbing trends and give all our country’s youth the chance to realize the American Dream.

THE RIGHT PLAN JIM CLARK PRESIDENT and CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of America


10 SPRING 2013

Last year, we introduced our Great Futures Impact Plan. At the heart of our plan is the Formula for Impact, our road map to help young people achieve the outcomes that will help them build great futures: Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles. Serving “more kids, more often” is the gateway to realizing our priority outcomes. To that end, the Great Futures Impact Plan pinpoints the goals our Movement needs to achieve to reach as many kids as possible, with the greatest possible impact. To encourage high school graduation, we’ll strive to retain more teens. We’ll continue providing a Club Experience that’s safe, supervised by caring professionals and, above all, FUN. To demonstrate that the Club Experience works, we’ll track members’ accomplishments. Crucially, we’ll cultivate strong, engaged local boards and develop local fundraising capacity. Above all, we’ll ensure Clubs are safe and advocate for the protection of all children.

NEW SERVICE DELIVERY MODEL, DESIGNED TO MEET YOUR NEEDS All of this brings us to Project Fast Forward, and the changes taking place at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. While you’ve probably heard of Project Fast Forward, you may be wondering what it’s about, and what it means to your Club and your kids. Put simply, it’s about your national organization serving local Clubs better. Project Fast Forward comprises the changes we’re making at BGCA to provide Clubs with the support necessary to accomplish our Great Futures Impact Plan. Local Clubs are the reason for our existence. BGCA is focused on the needs of local Clubs, and helping them to build their capacity to serve more kids with greater impact. The first thing we’re doing is streamlining communications between Clubs and the national organization. Taking the lead in this area is our new Organizational & Executive Development Services department, which will focus on leadership development and organizational capacity. Where each Regional Service Director served 30 Clubs, our new Directors of Organizational Development each serve 20 Clubs, substantially increasing the support and level of service they provide. Our new Club Liaison Services division will seamlessly connect Club leaders and professionals with the support and information they seek.

President’s Report

Secondly, we’ve formed specialized service units for our Native American and Major Metro Clubs, as well as a unit dedicated to Club Advancement, and expanded services to military Youth Centers. But no Club will be left behind. With Project Fast Forward, all Clubs can expect a higher level of service from BGCA. Enhanced training opportunities for professional and volunteer leaders and staff are the third big change. Our esteemed Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) is now part of Organizational & Executive Development Services. We’re working to make it easier to participate in ALP. And, we’re developing a Club Directors’ certificate program, a Learning Coaches program for line staff, as well as a “next generation” ALP. Finally, our new Program, Training and Youth Development Services team is developing an outcome-driven program strategy. We will increasingly develop programs that target critical, measurable outcomes for young people. We will rigorously evaluate national programs, and data about youth outcomes will drive our decision-making process.


THE RIGHT TIME Improving our services to Clubs is a top priority for BGCA. Nevertheless, fully implementing such substantial changes will take time. What you can expect from us is a process of continuous improvement, transparency and ongoing opportunities for feedback. We’re relying on you in the field to tell us what’s working and what needs to be tweaked as we move forward. The proof points are clear: Clubs have been changing and saving lives for years. Now is the time to enhance our national services, so that Clubs can serve our young people even better. Because now is the time, maybe more than ever before, when America’s kids need us. And, they need much more from us. Our Great Futures Impact Plan is the clear way ahead – for the Boys & Girls Club Movement, and for a generation of young people who deserve their own fair shot at the American Dream.


CLUBS Organizational & Executive Development Services (OEDS)

Each organization will have two points of contact for all dealings with BGCA.

These contacts will be housed within OEDS.

Major Metro Services Native American Services Military Services

One, a specialized group or region; and Club Advancement two, Club Liaison Services, which will assist with Club MW/NE/PAC/SE/SW staff’s specific needs.




or 80 years, National Boys & Girls Club Week has provided an opportunity to celebrate and increase awareness of the invaluable work Clubs do for kids. Back in the day, promotions tended to be more rudimentary, such as this 1948 advertisement on a Cincinnati delivery truck.

Communications have come a long way since then. Nowadays, coordinated national promotions help unite our 4,000 Clubs as a Movement. In Atlanta, for example, banners raising public awareness adorned the city’s busy streets throughout this year’s Club Week. Regardless of the medium, the message of National Boys & Girls Club Week remains the same: Boys & Girls Clubs help young people to build great futures. 12 SPRING 2013

JOIN Professional


Association Today!

Boys & Girls Club staff who join The Professional Association receive benefits such as: Scholarships • Awards and Recognition Program • Networking Opportunities • Training • Mentoring

“The Professional Association is dedicated to helping Club staff be the best youth development professionals possible. From CPOs to part-time staff, we are all The Professional Association.” Jim Clark

President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America

“TPA strengthens my organization by supporting our staff on their Boys & Girls Club career path.” Pat R. Van Burkleo President and CPO Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge, La.

“Being a TPA member pays huge dividends. It’s allowed me to attend trainings that otherwise would not have been possible and develop leadership skills I use every day.” Jason Barta Executive Director Boys & Girls Club of Bartlesville, Okla.

“TPA recognizes the hard work that Club professionals do every day and provides standards to sustain our commitment.” Cindy Garza Community Relations Supervisor Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg RGV, Edinburg, Texas

Learn More about The Professional Association at CONNECTIONS 13



Four young men who made the Passport to Manhood journey at Edinburg RGV.


ast year, Alex and José made the Passport to Manhood journey. The boys, both 11 years old, live in Edinburg, Texas, where they attend the Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Valley. Their Club was one of 12 to take part in the 2012 pilot phase of a revised Passport to Manhood program.

While the journeys the boys made were different, they shared an important characteristic: the meaningful guidance and support that only an adult male mentor can provide to a boy.

GUIDING HANDS José credits Passport to Manhood with helping him to understand the dangers of drugs, teaching him to stay calm instead of becoming angry, and giving him a mentor and friend to look up to. His mentor is Edwin Padilla, Edinburg’s 2011 Youth of the Year.

José, left, and Alex learned valuable life skills through the program.

14 SPRING 2013

“I learned that when I am angry, I can hit a pillow,” José says with a big smile. “I also found a hero in Edwin because he is a great leader and person. I want to be respected like Edwin and become Youth of the Year and go to college.” Alex’s mentor, Ramon Velez, helped the young man pursue his passion: spinning records.


D.J. Alex with his wheels of steel.

“I was so excited to learn how to use the D.J. equipment and was very nervous when I did my first gig at the Club,” says Alex. “I am so happy that my mentor just happens to be a D.J., too! He was able to teach us about his part-time career.” As Alex’s mentor, Vela learned something from his experience, too. “I enjoyed mentoring the boys, talking with them and helping to guide them into manhood,” says Vela, aka D.J. Ray. “This has been a very rewarding experience for me.”

PASSPORT’S PROGRESS The generous support of Gillette has enabled Boys & Girls Clubs of America to revise Passport to Manhood. This includes expanding its focus (originally ages 11 to 14) to serve ages 8 to 17, allowing more Club males to realize its benefits. The refreshed program’s 14 sessions are designed to be engaging, hands-on and accessible to youth of various learning styles. By concentrating on specific aspects of character development and manhood, the sessions help young men explore and develop the attitudes, values and behaviors necessary to become self-sufficient men. In addition, the program incorporates rites of passage, creating special opportunities for bonding, and special practices and observances to mark the time when a boy leaves childhood and enters manhood. Participants use their passports to journal their experiences and reflect on individual and collective strengths. At the conclusion of each activity, participants complete a service project with Club staff and mentors.

The transition to adulthood is a difficult process for most young people. Boys who do not have the guidance of parents and family to teach them what it means to be a man are expected to initiate themselves into adulthood. They often adopt ideas of masculinity from popular culture – male stereotypes that distort ideas about how men are “supposed” to act. Boys need positive role models of masculinity. Today’s soaring high school dropout rates are a clear indication that young men need positive relationships with caring adults. Club staff can make a powerful impact in these young men’s lives, influencing their emotional growth and development. But they need help. While there are many positive adult males seeking to make a difference in the lives of young people, few are aware of mentorship opportunities available at the Club. Passport to Manhood provides an ideal opportunity to connect youth with mentors who can offer guidance on the often rocky road to manhood.

LASTING OUTCOMES “Passport to Manhood has made a huge impact on both the boys and their adult mentors,” said Sabrina Walker Hernandez, chief professional offer at Edinburg RGV. “It has forged strong relationships that will endure over time.” Deric Daniels is the program director at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles, which also took part in the pilot program. He, too, appreciates the program’s long-lasting influence. “The fraternal atmosphere that Passport to Manhood creates for our young men gives them an opportunity to help each other and take responsibility for their own learning,” says Daniels. “The best thing is that the learning and camaraderie continue long after the program is complete.”

All organizations will receive a complimentary copy of the revised Passport to Manhood program in late spring. Watch for more information, including how to order more copies for your Clubs.

José beneath a photo of his mentor, Youth of the Year Edwin Padilla.


columns Child & Club Safety


By Les Nichols


t the heart of the Boys & Girls Club mission is our commitment to provide safe places for children to learn and grow. To underscore our constant focus on this fundamental principle, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has established the Child & Club Safety department. The goal of the department is to strengthen each Club’s ability to protect its members, making BGCA a national advocate for youth safety in Clubs and communities across the country. Success requires never-ending vigilance in identifying potential areas of risk to children’s safety and applying innovative solutions to reduce them. The Safety Assessment is a simple-to-use questionnaire that helps Clubs to do just that. It clearly indicates where Clubs are meeting or exceeding national safety standards for youth-serving organizations and where they have room to improve. Twenty-four percent of organizations have conducted Safety Assessments so far, significant headway toward BGCA’s goal of 100 percent participation by the end of 2013.

A POWERFUL TOOL A key component of BGCA’s approach to child safety is partnering with other national child protection leaders to develop, implement and evaluate new safety-related resources in critical risk areas. No area of risk requires more vigilance than the prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation. Although it may not be the most frequently occurring risk – compared to accidents and injuries, for instance – the potential harm to a developing child is so great that we must create and maintain as many protections as possible. To that end, BGCA and Praesidium, a leader in child sexual abuse prevention in youth-serving organizations, developed the Safety Assessment tool for the following key prevention areas: • • • • • • •

Policies Staff/Volunteer Screening and Selection Training Monitoring and Supervision of Club Members Responding to Concerns, Allegations and Incidents Member and Parent Awareness Operational Standards

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Child & Club Safety


Organizations answer survey questions in each of these areas to complete the Safety Assessment. Next, they consult with Child & Club Safety staff to discuss their assessment results and create action plans to address areas for improvement. (See sidebar for more information.)

ASSESSMENT IN ACTION In 2012, the leadership team of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport, Tenn., completed the Safety Assessment and created a six-month action plan. They worked with their board’s human resources committee to make improvements and monitor progress. The results were illuminating. As Chief Professional Officer Lisa Beilharz explains, “We learned that we do have good safety and prevention practices, but completing the questionnaire showed us where our gaps were. For instance, we do a great job in all the standard things, such as background checks and orientation, but we needed to strengthen our written policies to better reflect our practices.” The organization also identified opportunities to strengthen orientation and training. Their local Children’s Advocacy Center provided child abuse prevention training to better prepare volunteers and staff to recognize signs of abuse. By immediately addressing child safety policies and training new volunteers and staff, a culture of vigilance was created. “All of our staff and volunteers are now trained on how to pay attention and how to look for warnings of child abuse,” says Beilharz. “It’s a deterrent to those who would attempt to harm children.” Since part-time staff members are very involved in dayto-day Club activities and may notice things others do not, the Kingsport Club will include the entire staff in its 2013 Safety Assessment. Input from frontline staff is important if child and Club safety measures are to be meaningful and relevant. As Beilharz notes, “We can put policies in place, but if they’re not being acted upon, it won’t do us any good. Attention to child safety isn’t just top-down.” The Child & Club Safety department will work collaboratively with local organizations to achieve a Movement-wide culture of safety. Lessons learned from Clubs doing a good job protecting children will be shared with all Clubs. With the creation of the new department, the Safety Assessment tool and other comprehensive materials on, every organization has the resources to become an even safer place for children to learn and grow. Parents, community stakeholders and our members should not expect any less. Les Nichols is national vice president of Child & Club Safety, which is housed in BGCA’s new Organizational & Executive Development Services department.

At the BGC of Greater Kingsport, safety is the foundation of the Club Experience.

RESOURCES TO KEEP KIDS SAFE CHILD SAFETY HOTLINE – As part of our partnership with Praesidium, this free, confidential hotline offers guidance on child safety concerns as well as on actions that can endanger a child, but do not clearly fit within mandated child abuse reporting guidelines. (866) 607-SAFE (7233) SAFETY ASSESSMENT TOOL – Enables Clubs to gauge strengths, weaknesses and develop improvement strategies in key child risk prevention areas. (404) 487-5930 or BACKGROUND CHECKS – LexisNexis Screening Solutions offers Clubs reduced pricing and automatically flags duplicate requests, calling attention to applicants who try to move between enrolled Clubs. (800) 590-8535 CLUB CARE – Praesidium has developed a comprehensive fee-based child sexual abuse prevention and response program specifically for BGCA. It includes model policies, assessment tools, online training, a helpline and crisis management support. (800) 743-6354 NATIONAL CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER – Locate your local Children’s Advocacy Center from its national network of sexual abuse prevention organizations. – The Child & Club Safety section resources and tools include risk checklists and templates; bullying prevention tips; and consultation and training information. CONNECTIONS 17

columns Excellence in Action




hortly after joining the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley in 2006, I was asked to take on the role of treasurer, which I was happy to do. Back then, our California Club had a strategic plan we reviewed on an annual basis. To tighten up the plan, I started to match our finances up with the strategic plan. Previously, we didn’t give enough consideration to whether we had the funds to meet our objectives.

Leena Mathew is the board president for the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley in Burbank, Calif. She is also the director for worldwide films and worldwide stage plays for The Walt Disney Company.

18 SPRING 2013

Until a story is tied to them, numbers are just numbers. It’s when you tell a story that numbers start to make sense. That helps people to ask the right questions and to, from a planning perspective, start making changes. So I revamped our fiscal statements to tell the story of our organization.

months prior, with various staff and board members responsible for gathering information. Our resource development chair, finance chair, board development chair, and program development committee work together to present a report at the retreat.

Over the years, we’ve learned not to have too many goals in our strategic plan. We’ve determined six We created a financial package with month-to-date, key objectives as most important: finance, program, year-to-date, and budget vs. actual analyses; and resources, communications, facilities and board an explanation as to why budget was or was not development. Each objective has anywhere from one achieved. I also put a cash-flow projection in place. to five deliverables, with each assigned a time frame It was important for board members to know our in which to achieve it. This helps to create a culture of current cash position and how it would change in accountability, with one staff person and one board coming months. Cash is king at every organization. If member assigned to each deliverable. We review each you don’t have enough working capital to meet your objective throughout the year to make sure we’re on target. obligations, eventually you’re going to go under. By putting the right information before our board, Every three years, we turn to an outside consultant we were able to explain variances between objectives to create a very detailed strategic plan. Part of this and actuals more effectively. Everything started to process includes a random survey of Club youth, connect. My fellow board members understood parents and members of the community – what are the costs of the programs, the profitability of the we doing right, what can be improved, which services programs, and where programs potentially were not do you feel are lacking in the community, what other services do you feel the Boys & Girls Club could effective from a financial perspective. provide?


We decided to establish an annual retreat to review and update our strategic plan. Each spring, our board and key Club staff gather for an all-day, off-site strategy session. We start preparing for it about two

Our consultant also surveys leaders and board members of other local youth nonprofits, which has yielded some of the most valuable feedback. Sometimes, organizations have a skewed perception of the Boys & Girls Club. If we receive feedback like,

Excellence in Action


Club CEO Shanna Warren, left, and Board President Leena Mathew with friends in Burbank.

“I think the Club is where kids who are poor and in trouble go” … well, that’s stuff we need to know so we can do a better job reminding people that we serve everyone. It tells us what public perception is, which we use as part of the strategic planning process.

BEYOND NUMBERS Because we’ve been successful at strategic planning, many Clubs approach us for advice. One question we often get is, “What good is planning? We can put it on paper. But if we don’t have the resources or people to make it happen, it just doesn’t work.” What I try to stress is that planning requires you to look at your organization as a whole: where you want to go, your mission, your vision, all your goals. The true issue is not short-term need. There’s a bigger issue here, which is not properly planning for tomorrow. A lot of boards don’t know everything that goes into the planning process, the pre-work that has to be done and

how to facilitate the process. It’s important to have a neutral facilitator. It allows the process to flow better and gives everyone an opportunity to express their opinion. A neutral party sets guidelines and rules that keep you on track. They keep to an agenda and bring all kinds of tools to get you through the process. Club leaders should look at strategic planning in a more encompassing way, in which we try to balance our goals and our vision with the necessary resources. Having the right partnerships in place, the right community members involved, the right board members to provide leadership in different areas, and accurate financials should all be part of what we are planning toward. But the point of strategic planning isn’t to reach a certain level and stop. At the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, we constantly look for ways to serve our youth. To open up new avenues, new doors, new ways of doing things so that we can continue to grow. It’s always about looking forward and thinking, “What more can we do”? CONNECTIONS 19

columns View From The Potomac

20 SPRING 2013




he Boys & Girls Club Movement has strong brand recognition as the nation’s leading youth development organization. There is perhaps no better example of this than the annual Oval Office meeting between the U.S. President and Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National and Regional Youth of the Year winners. Nevertheless, many public and private sector leaders remain unaware of the range of programs and life-changing outcomes Boys & Girls Clubs provide. There is an increasing need for Clubs to be vocal advocates for youth in their communities. If a concerted effort is made, local advocacy will help to ensure – from city hall to the White House, from corner stores to corporate suites – that the critical needs of youth are understood, and that the vital role Clubs play in addressing these needs is clear. At its most basic, advocacy is about making meaningful connections between the services Clubs provide and the issues people care strongly about. A public health official, for example, should know how your Club uses Triple Play to help kids stay healthy; just as a business leader in technology should know how you engage members with science activities; and a superintendent needs to know your Club’s strategies for supporting on-time school progression.

A long-held tradition, BGCA National Youth of the Year and the Regional Youth of the Year finalists met with the President in the Oval Office.

View From The Potomac

TIPS FOR SUCCESS Consider utilizing the following strategies to boost your advocacy efforts in your community. • Educate Yourself – Effective advocates must know which issues are most important to their constituencies. Keep up to date on public policy priorities in your community and state. Pay attention to federal policy, too. Know your business community and its concerns. Take part in community forums to show support and learn which issues are of top concern. • Target Your Message – Create message points that draw explicit connections between known needs and Club activities that impact those needs. Use targeted advocacy to highlight positive social impacts your Club makes, such as helping kids succeed in school or encouraging their community engagement. Keep message points brief, and make sure they are understood by staff, board members, as well as Club youth leaders and parents.


advocacy can offer unparalleled support in advancing your Club’s work. To cultivate champions, consider audiences you want to reach (business leaders, educators, etc.). Then create opportunities for possible champions to learn about your Club and serve a meaningful leadership role. • Stewardship – Once you have cultivated supporters, it is vital to sustain an ongoing relationship with them. This is known as stewardship. It is imperative that donors know you value them and the positive impact they make. Good stewardship will help ensure that, wherever their careers may take them, your supporters remain knowledgeable of the important work your Club is accomplishing and the achievements of the youth you serve.

YOUTH: OUR BEST ADVOCATES Here in the nation’s capital, it often feels like there is a cacophony of voices, all operating at high volume, each advocating for their own cause or interest. One big reason that Boys & Girls Clubs stand out from the crowd is because we have the most effective advocates of all – our incredible youth, many of whom have overcome challenges to become vibrant young people who embody the future of our country.

• Reach Out – Keep local decision-makers informed about your Club. Invite elected officials and business leaders to attend Club tours, special events and open houses. Contact local media to tell them about Club outcomes and youth success stories. Above all, ensure your Club is seen as a valuable community resource. Share your time and expertise to advance issues of So tell your kids’ stories effectively. Bring people to your importance to youth, even if there is not always an Club to see firsthand the many things kids are capable of accomplishing. Together, we will continue to increase immediate benefit to your Club. support for Boys & Girls Clubs and the critical work we • Cultivate Champions – Key champions are government, do for our nation’s youth. business and community leaders who support Clubs by providing visibility, generating support, brokering Kevin McCartney is senior vice president of government relations partnerships, and influencing public policy. Their for BGCA.

From left: 2012-13 National YOY Trei Dudley and Regional finalists Mai Tong Yang, Denzell Perry, Crystile Carter and Tyler Merriweather were praised by President Obama for their leadership and accomplishments.



What do YOUR members have to say about the Club? Are they engaged in school?

Are they making smart choices about exercise?


drugs and alcohol? What impact does the Club have on them? The National Youth Outcomes Initiative can help all Clubs, large or small, answer these questions and more. Register online now. Give us 5 minutes, and we’ll give you the data you need to make good decisions, refine the Club Experience and boost your fundraising power.

Know your impact.

Connections Spring 2013  
Connections Spring 2013  

Our Spring 2013 issue of Connections brings us A New Season for Learning, a feature about reversing the “summer slide” that puts kids behind...