Bayleigh, 2020 Yellowstone County Youth of the Year

“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.

Keeping The Faith

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

Kids Fun Day 2019

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.