Vice President, Donor Advancement & Marketing
Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County
To say, 2020 has been difficult would be an understatement for many of us who have had daily routines adjusted, social gatherings canceled, loved ones lost and ‘normal’ occurrences completely changed. As we approach year-end, it seems the turmoil continues to surround us, with worry and concern over the COVID-19 health pandemic, social injustice and the political storm. I think right now it can be hard to feel thankful and grateful amidst so much uncertainty.
Despite the extraordinary challenges in 2020 the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County are feeling thankful, grateful and full of hope. While we know that before COVID-19, life was already difficult for many Club kids and their families as they faced obstacles like access to healthy snacks and hot meals, essential items like a toothbrush and socks, a device to participate in school, or a positive adult who would be there no matter what. We also know that BECAUSE OF YOU hundreds of those who need us most were able to rely on the Boys & Girls Clubs to overcome each obstacle. Because you’ve been here for us, we’ve been here for them and for that we are very thankful, grateful and full of hope.
Because of you, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County is appreciative for;
- Never having to completely shut our doors to serving kids. The Club has remained open to provide a critical safety net for those who need us most. The Club transformed programming, adjusted service hours, provided meals, snacks and food boxes, access to Wi-Fi and devices for online learning and created Club on Wheels to take services to kids who could not make it to a Clubhouse.
- Our amazing team of professionals and volunteers who have been here every day doing Whatever It Takes for local kids. Our team is amazing! They have shown incredible compassion and dedication, regardless of their own health and safety concerns, as they worked to find a way to help kids.
- Committed donors devoted to helping Club kids succeed. While overall charitable giving was down 8.3 percent in quarter two, our giving remained strong as donors like you responded to support the Club’s mission of “enabling all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.” As year-end approaches, the reality that rallied supporters to give to COVID-19 relief funds is as true today as it was then.
- Collaborations with health officials, school administrators and faculty, non-profit and business leaders, and Club families have allowed us to respond affectively and reach more kids whose great futures were at risk due to the year’s overwhelming circumstances.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County is thankful, grateful and full of hope because of you, because of an amazing team, because of community support, because of strong partnerships, because we are doing Whatever it takes to meet the growing needs of our kids. Thank you for your commitment to the Boys & Girls Club mission. As we approach year-end we hope our journey together continues and you know that this Thanksgiving and always we are thankful for you.
One of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and our local Club’s biggest strengths is securing, keeping and upgrading corporate partners. According to Giving USA, corporate giving accounts for 5% of charitable giving in America. Many of our corporate partners could truly be deemed legacy partners, having supported the Club for many years and some others are just beginning their relationship. Each and every partnership is different, requires different activations, funds differently and changes from year to year. What is constant is the enormous value corporate philanthropy has in supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County.
Throughout the year, we have national business partners that conduct Back2School drives like Michaels Stores and Old Navy, those that conduct Holiday Giving drives like Ross Dress For Less, Taco Bell and Kohls. Then, there are other drives designed to help the Club in offering engaging daily activities like Buffalo Wild Wings and Lowe’s. Although these are national partnerships, our local Club benefits directly from each and every one.
Additionally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County has terrific local partnerships with businesses dedicated to supporting the Club and our community’s youth. Check out these meaningful campaigns from generous businesses in Yellowstone County.
– Gainan’s Flowers Annual ‘Roses for Kids’ fundraiser in August raises funds the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County by offering 1 and 2 dozen bouquets of roses at special prices. With every dozen purchased, a donation will be made to the Club. Jim Gainan shares, “Because it has been a challenging year for everyone, we are offering an additional incentive to send roses to brighten someone’s day while also giving to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County. Gainan’s Flowers will give you an EXTRA six roses for ONLY $5 with every dozen purchased, increasing the donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs.”
– King’s ACE Hardware runs a promotion several times throughout the year called ‘Painting GREAT Futures’ where $1.00 of each gallon of paint sold is gifted to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County.
– Taco John’s runs their ‘Nachos Navidad’ campaign every December and shares a portion of every nacho sale with our local Club.
– Office 360 Solutions is supporting The Club this summer by donating a portion of the sale of each HP product to the Boys & Girls Club.
– Davidson Design and Tiffany Davidson-Blades supports the Club by donating a portion of each sale the month of August.
– Dynamic Design jumped into action shortly after the Coronavirus pandemic sent many to work from home last May. They offered a Montana Strong ball cap for $10.00 and the proceeds went directly to to the Club.
I value each and every one of our partnerships, both nationally and locally. As the African proverb states, “It take a village to raise a child,” and our philanthropic business community understands the experience and interaction our children need to grow in a safe and healthy environment. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County is grateful for the help of so many in serving our local kids daily. Thank you! All the support helps provide a fun, engaging and safe environment for our Club members to experience individual success.
There are so many others that I would like to highlight. I’ll add, ‘to be continued’ to this blog post so we can share more of our Great Happenings with the business community at a later date.
If you are interested in visiting about the details of each of our partnerships, or would like to start a relationship with your local Club please contact Karrie Owen at 406-294-4511 or Kowen@bgcyellowstone.org
To Be Continued…
“The Boys & Girls Club saved my life. It made me who I am today, and gave me a Great Future. I’m a proud member of the Alumni Club. I’m ready to take a stand for the next generation.” – Mona Dixon, 2010 National Youth of the Year
We all have moments that shape us. Parts of our lives that make us who we are. For some, that was their time at the Boys & Girls Clubs.
- Nationally, over half of alumni said the Boys & Girls Club saved their life.
- Nearly 70% of alumni said that the Boys & Girls Club was the ONLY place to go after school.
- 88% said the Club was one of the best things available to kids in their community.
- Over 80% would encourage a young person to join today.
Since 1971, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County has been at the forefront of youth development, serving thousands of children each year across Yellowstone County. Children, who need us most, and who are better able to take control of their lives and envision a bright future because of the daily experience provided by our highly-trained, caring Club professionals.
If you are one of the Club kids who benefited from your Club experience, we want to hear from you!
We are launching the Yellowstone County Alumni & Friends Club, which is a local grass roots organization committed to helping our next generation of Club Members BE GREAT.
Don’t delay, sign up today!
It is simple to enroll, you just need to email your contact information to Missy Lucas at email@example.com. In addition to your contact information, which will remain confidential, we would love to hear about your favorite Club memory about; our staff and volunteers or a particular activity or event.
Enroll now, because as we near the Club’s 50th Anniversary in 2021, the Alumni & Friends Club will be a great way to help CELEBRATE our past and build upon your success to help today’s members find their own GREAT FUTURE.
“Everyone faces challenges in life, some bigger than others. But the way I see it, you can either run and hide or you can show up and face them head on. I have decided that I will choose courage over comfort and show up every day to face my challenges. The Club helped me learn that” states Bayleigh, the 2020 Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County.
Bayleigh first walked through the Castle Rock Club doors on August 29, 2011 as a 2nd Grader. Now, a high school sophomore, she walks through the same doors each day as a member of our Jr. Staff team. In the 8 ½ years she has attended the Club we have watched her grow into a strong and capable young lady who is a true role model to young girls at the Club.
During Bayleigh’s Youth of the Year speech she shared “my Club makes me feel safe, worthy, and special. My goal as a junior staff is to show other Club members that they are needed, cared about, and important. Just like the staff members made me feel.” Bayleigh is currently creating a new program at the Club which will focus on helping girls build confidence and find their voice.
Staff and Club members alike can always count on Bayleigh to come to work with a positive attitude and an infectious smile. As Youth of the Year, Bayleigh represents the Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County and the essence of what the organization hopes for all the youth we serve.
Bayleigh is a stand-out star and is on track to reach every goal she sets for herself. After High School graduation, she hopes to attend Montana State University where she plans to major in social work.
Each day, as the tsunami of ever changing news washes over us, it is all too easy to lose hope and focus as we struggle just to determine, which way is up. However, while these daily uncertainties are difficult for most, they are simply overwhelming for Club members who need us most. For those young people who normally struggle for consistency, the Boys & Girls Club is a beacon of hope and opportunity desperately needed to navigate this chaos and continue their journey toward a GREAT FUTURE.
Now, more than ever, it is the chaos facing our members, which drives our organization and our team to focus on our mission and do everything reasonably possible to provide as much consistency as we can. To that end, I want to share what our Club professionals, with support from the Club and Endowment Foundation Boards, have done to modify the Club experience to keep the faith with our members and help them stay the course to a bright future.
A Daily Experience
The Bair Family Clubhouse has reopened to provide a full day experience for current members who are homeless or have parents working in the medical field or as first responders. In order to serve these members and keep everyone as safe as possible, our incredible team of Club professionals re-wrote “the book” on running a Boys & Girls Club, which now includes an aggressive set of new safety and sanitation procedures. Now that we are a few weeks into this new environment, I am pleased to report that the new experience is working and we are providing a GREAT experience for our members who can join us each day.
A Remote Connection
In addition to the daily experience at the Bair Family Clubhouse, our Club professionals are creating new “remote” opportunities to engage members who are not able to attend their local Clubhouse. The development of this innovative programming continues and I am excited with the progress made through our team’s amazing ingenuity and creativity.
Stay the Course
In closing, I want to extend a very heartfelt thank you to each of you for your ongoing generosity. Thanks to you, not only can the Club do amazing things on a “normal” day, but also can pivot on a dime to re-create a Club experience that can do amazing things in a time of chaos and uncertainty. While we do not know what new challenges will come tomorrow, I hope you will continue to stand beside us as we stay the course and be the beacon of hope to those who need us most can rely on.
Brian Dennis, President & CEO
Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County served as a safe, fun place for over 1,345 kids to spend time this summer. Kids of all ages spent time during the 10 week program playing sports and games, planting and harvesting gardens, taking fun-filled field trips, making new friends, and more- all while benefitting from the mentorship, positive guidance and love they received from Club staff and volunteers. To celebrate another GREAT summer, the Club held our annual Kids Fun Day on Friday, August 16th, the last day of our summer program at the Bair Family Clubhouse. During Friday’s event, Club members participated in a day filled with field activities, food, fun and friends!
We are extremely grateful to the Sam & Judy McDonald Foundation for sponsoring another amazing Kid-Tastic Summer Wrap Up Day! Their continued support over the past years have made a true difference to the kids we serve.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County summer program did not disappoint. From the moment the Summer program kicked off on June 10th Club members had opportunities to participate in fun and engaging activities that keep them interested, safe, combated summer learning loss and allowed them to have loads of fun.
Club members 6th grade and up at the Bair Family Clubhouse, spent time in the Teen Center, which features the Teen Bean coffee shop (which the kids run!), an X-Box, and a comfortable couch, it’s no wonder there’s a waiting list for kids to get in. “This is their space, on both good and bad days,” says Paige Hodges, our Teen Center Coordinator. “My goal is to make sure this is the one place where they know there’s a friendly face they can count on. We begin the day with what we call parking lot time. A little down time, where kids can be on their phones, hang out with each other, and burn off some energy before planned activities start.” In addition, each day the teens take part in group activities and help plan for upcoming Coffee Shop Fridays. When the shop was open, the kids took the orders, collect the cash, and clean up at the end of the shift. “Just like the real world, they interview in order to get a job at the Teen Bean Coffee Shop,” Paige says. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County is grateful to Wells Fargo for supporting the Teen Bean Coffee shop along with a financial literacy program throughout the school year.
Thanks to King’s Ace Hardware-Zimmerman, State Avenue Ace Hardware, Central Avenue Ace Hardware, Lockwood Ace Hardware, Laurel Ace Hardware the kids at the Club were able to create a beautiful garden this summer. Club members had a blast planting the donated flowers and enjoyed a picnic lunch after all their hard work.
The Club ran a fleet of vehicles each day throughout the summer to shuttle Club members on field trips. This summer Club members visited the spray parks, Lewis & Clark Caverns, Mule Train Alpaca Ranch, and the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary just to name a few. In May, through Cabela’s Rods & Reels program the Club received fishing rods. This generous gift allows our staff to take kids to different fishing spots in the Billings area as well at Red Lodge. A lot of our members had never gone fishing and this provided them a new opportunity to have fun in the great outdoors.
This summer was filled with success! We served thousands of kids, exposed them to fun and engaging activities, new opportunities and memory-making fun. We also celebrated success with many community partnerships that provided support to our program, like
- Impact Day at Lucky’s Market where 10% of the days sales were donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs,
- Peggy D. Schneider and Michael Hass of Allstate Insurance not only gifted funds but also gifted their time to help improve the garden area at the Bair Family Clubhouse,
- Downtown Rotary awarded the Club a grant that allowed us to replace a freezer, washer, dryer and screen door
- Gainans decade of support with the Roses for Kids promotion. This year in recognition of the 10th year partnering on this promotion, Gainans will be gifting an additional 10% of the proceeds from every dozen of roses sold to the Club.
We are so grateful to all of our staff, volunteers, supporters and sponsors who help Club kids BE GREAT! If you’d like to get involved and find out how you can support the Clubs, please call 406-245-4457.