Walton

BGC Alum Gives Back at WCBGC

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Everyone’s reason for being involved with a Boys & Girls Club is unique, but it always ends with “because someone cared for me, I want to care for others as well.”

For Antonio Dillard, a Walton County Boys & Girls Club Youth Development Professional, his why is simple, “I’m a product of the Boys & Girls Club. Because of the Club and those who cared for me, I’m here as a successful adult.”

 “I want to provide that support to our youth here in Walton County every day,” he added.

Antonia has been with the movement for a year and currently is the Teen Center Director for the Club.

“We want to ensure that teens have a safe place to go where we encourage our youth to excel in school and at home in becoming productive members of their community,” he shared. “Being an alum myself of the Boys & Girls Club, I know how impactful allowing teens to have responsibility in helping serve in their community can be. That’s why we are constantly looking at new ways to engage our teens in Monroe. From inviting community members in to teach our teens to cook, practice for job interviews and learn new life skills to taking our teens out into the community to serve – we are here to ensure our teens believe the sky is the limit.”

For Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, having Youth Development Professionals such as Antonia on hand is vital to the success of the Club’s impact. 

“Mr. Antonio goes above and beyond his job duties. He’s always giving our teens the freedom to learn hands on skills while mentoring them in the process,” he shared. “It takes caring individuals such as Antonia to empower our youth and to show them that they’re dreams can indeed become reality. We would love to have more community members join us as volunteers to be a part of this life changing work.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club or to volunteer, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

 

WCBGC Celebrates Successful Garden Harvest

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Summer brought a gardening adventure for the youth of Walton County Boys & Girls Club. All summer long, Club youth spent time daily tending to their garden in partnership with the Walton County Master Gardeners Club. Youth learned the importance of eating healthy by actively participating in growing their own food for the summer months. 

They recently celebrated their accomplishments with an awards ceremony presented by the Master Gardening Club.

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“The Junior Master Gardeners Club were able to see the fruits of their labor at this celebration and were recognized for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Club over the seven-week program,” Lynn E. Hill, Walton County Boys & Girls Club Director, shared. “Members of the Master Gardening Club, alongside House Representative Bruce Williamson, joined our youth to salute their efforts with a feast from their summer grown vegetables.”

Club members worked alongside Master Gardener mentors to make salsa and chop vegetables for a veggie platter to serve those gathered at the celebration. 

“It was so wonderful to hear each name of our Junior Master Gardeners have their names called during the award ceremony and to see their smiling faces light up,” Hill shared. “They were beaming with pride at their accomplishment and that’s exactly what we desire – for them to have pride in all they do in life.”

 Ellen Wainwright of the Walton County Master Gardeners Club shared how impactful their time with the youth has been for her. 

“The Club youth were always so enthusiastic and engage in every project we brought to them this summer,” she shared. “We worked with the children teaching them about gardening, planting and growing their own vegetables. We harvested our own vegetables and talked about preparing healthy meals. They had the opportunity to make smoothies, salsa, eggplant pizzas, energy bites and burritos out of the vegetables they grew.”

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Wainwright added “watching the youth learn about not only vegetables but what makes a garden successful and sustainable for our environment was such a treat.”

“They learned how a cucumber becomes a pickle,” she shared. “They got to taste different types of peppers and learned about pollinators and their importance in gardening. We even had some beekeepers come and talk. They got to see some bees and how honey is harvested and even tasted the honey.”

 For Mr. Hill, this is what the Club is all about – engaging the youth with community members so we can teach together.

 “The kids that participated in the Junior Master Gardeners Club have been observed smiling, laughing, working as a team and learning something new,” he shared. “It is very important for young people to learn where their food comes from, how to take pride in their community and why it is so important to always strive for comradery, which is why teamwork was a number one factor in them completing their projects this summer.”

 Those projects were beautifying the exterior grounds of the Club with flowers and a garden, sprucing up the area surrounding the mailbox and flagpole and cultivating their vegetables from the garden. 

“In total, over $4,000 in donated plants and supplies were used from our local community to make this summer program possible,” Hill shared. “We are so grateful to the Walton County Master Gardeners Club for giving their time and treasures to teach our youth the art of gardening.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclub or call 770-207-6279.

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WCBGC Names Youth of Month for August

 Celebrating our Youth 

Walton County Boys & Girls Clubcelebrates its members and their accomplishments. This month the Club Youth of the Month is Tileauna Tiller.

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Tiller became a member recently during WCBGC’s Summer Programming. 

“Being awarded Youth of the Month was such a surprise and made me feel really special,” Tiller said. “I loved the encouragement I got during Master Gardener’s Class and it helped me to believe in myself.”

Tiller was selected for her growth since coming to the Club and her “never giving up” attitude.

“Tileauna was reluctant to join the Gardening Club. She would tell me that she could not do it. But one day she came over smiling with fresh vegetables in hand and was so proud to show off her eggplant,” Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director shared.“She looked at me, hands out and said, ‘Look what I did!’  The programs we offer our members definitely have a positive impact on their lives.”

Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, shared that Tileauna engages in every activity with enthusiasm.  

“Her exceptional ability to adapt to a new environment is amazing,” he added.

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

BGCNCG Welcomes Barnesville-Lamar to the Movement

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Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia celebrated the ground breaking of its newest Club site located in Barnesville, Georgia. Barnesville-Lamar Boys & Girls Club is set to open January 13, 2020 and will serve ages 6 - 18 of Lamar county. 

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The Club’s steering committee, along with Lamar county residents and officials, planted their golden shovels into the soil marking the beginning of BLBGC’s journey to become a fully operational Club in 2020. 

“Ten years from now this Club will be a gift that will truly keep on giving. The dedication behind this effort that’s made this ground breaking possible today – and moving forward - will change the environment, trajectory and outlook of youth in Lamar County,” Bob Mackey, President & CEO of BGCNCG shared. “On behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia, we’d like to congratulate your steering committee on the steps taken to change lives forever.”

Joe Edwards, president of United Bank, longtime supporter of Lamar County youth and steering committee chairman of Barnesville-Lamar Boys & Girls Club, shared his excitement to be opening a Club with Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia. 

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“Soon it will be five decades that my family and I have been in Lamar county. I’ve worked on a lot of civic projects in those years, but never have I witnessed such a unified support,” Edwards shared. “The county commission is with us, the school board is with us, the Rotatory Club is with us – I’ve never seen so much support and encouragement and we’re here today committing to the youth because of that support.” 

Ron Smith, Lamar County School Board member, added to Edwards’ sentiments.

“We feel very blessed to live in a community like ours with such support for our kids,” Smith said. “We are making a great opportunity available today. A place for kids to be kids, but also a place where they can be guided into adulthood.”

Michael Tompkins, BGCNCG Corporate Board Chairman, concluded that this new addition will continue to give youth “a hand up.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s amazing what we’re doing with these youth,” he said. “We’re giving these kids the tools to access the greatness in this country.”

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Boys & Girls Clubs are essential places where youth can develop skills, make lasting connections with mentors, and achieve great futures. Since youth have different experiences and learning styles, Boys & Girls Clubs never take a single approach to helping youth succeed. It takes caring individuals to provide a safe place, and quality programs. This ensures that all youth have a brighter future. 

BLBGC will provide young people a fun, safe and educational space with a fostering environment where they can be who they are—and become who they are meant to be.

To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia, visit www.bgcncg.com. To learn more about how you can become involved in the Barnesville-Lamar Boys & Girls Club, call 770-267-8034 or visit their Facebook @BLBGC. 

WCBGC partners with NorthEast Georgia Regional Commission for Workforce Development

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For Ashley Hackel preparing our youth for the workforce is critical to their development as young adults. That’s why for the last year she’s been partnering with the Walton County Boys & Girls Club. And this summer she’s connecting WCBGC Alumni with employment at the Club.

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“I am the Summer Youth Associate of an agency called the NorthEast Georgia Regional Commission for Workforce Development, an organization that forms non-financial worksite agreements with local governments, schools, and non-profit agencies to provide training and serve as worksites for Summer Youth Work Experience participants,” Hackel shared. “The WIOA program with the Boys & Girls Club of Walton County provides the framework for workforce preparation and employment system designed to meet the needs of the local employers, job seekers, and those who want to further their careers.  The Boys & Girls Club of Walton County has been an agency through the Workforce Initiative and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to connect youth and their careers in youth leadership and character development.”

Hackel adds that this partnership has been a wonderful opportunity to provide on the job training to help youth gain the necessary skills and abilities to perform specific tasks and develop desirable work behavior.

“The youth in this program are selected for the Boys & Girls Club through proper interviewing to maintain and certify that participants can develop certain skills and abilities,” she said. 

Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, said, “This program allows the partnership to have a two-fold effect in the process. The youth, who work in this program can learn through BGC, how to plan and schedule, and create and establish good work ethics.”

“We are so thrilled to have a Club alumnus working with us this summer through our partnership with WIOA,” Hill added. “Destinee Long is an ideal role model for our youth and she’s learning valuable work ethic skill sets while working as a Youth Development Professional, such as scheduling, coordinating programming and directing Club members in activities.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

WCBGC teens learn culinary basics

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Walton County Boys & Girls Club teens are learning Culinary basics this summer.

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The Culinary Basics course was a week-long project-based learning initiative taught teens the necessary skills in preparing healthy meals for breakfast and lunch. 

The teens did research through the Career Launch Program of the Teen Center to discover workforce opportunities where they could continue their cooking skills. 

Mr. Lynn E. Hill,WCBGC Club Director, said that this summer the Club wanted to find activities that “the Teens in particular would enjoy doing and find it to be fun.  

“The name of this week long activity was dubbed ‘Culinary Basics’ because the Teens can find an alternative to eating a lot of fast foods,” Hill added. “It teaches them how to create good meals with nutritious foods such as carrots, rice, water, and wheat bread. They can develop healthier lifestyles by learning to cook and eat foods properly.” 

WCGGC Club member, Jalen Lemons, shared how these activities helped him get over his fear of not knowing how to cook.

“I never knew that I could actually cook,” he shared. “Thanks to my Teen Director, Ms. Krystal Thomas, I was given the opportunity to learn because I don’t get this chance at home.”

We were really pleased with the outcomes of our first Culinary Basics course, Thomas shared. 

“These activities will continue to be a part of our Career Launch program. We found something that Teens these days would enjoy doing and every Teen was involved.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclub or call 770-207-6279.


 

WCBGC Names July Youth of the Month

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Celebrating our Youth 

Walton County Boys & Girls Club celebrates its members and their accomplishments. This month the Club Youth of the Month is Giovanni Hernandez.

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Hernandez has been a member of the Club for two years.

“Being awarded Youth of the Month feels like a big deal and I feel really special being seen as an outstanding Club member,” Hernandez said. “I like everything we do at our Club. I love learning new things and the staff here are super fun to be around.”

Hernandez was selected for his growth since coming to the Club and becoming a beacon of what a Club leader looks like for his peers. 

“Giovannie participates in every activity that is given to his age group of Club Members, often showing a leadership in every game, activity, or program,” Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, shared. “He often tells others in his neighborhood, and as a result, several youths have joined the Club because he has spoken so highly of his local Club. He’s exceptional behavior dubs him the Youth of the Month.”

Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, says he’s seen a change in Hernandez behavior since coming to the Club. 

“As I reflect upon Giovanni, I am elated that the new unanimously agree in selecting him as the Youth of the Month. I have noticed that Giovanni strives really hard to behave and I have also seen him making conscious efforts in every part of the Club,” Hill said. “I have absolutely seen the change in Giovanni’s behavior. When he first arrived at our Club, he was extremely shy and now he has blossomed into a leader amongst his peers. He is one of those kids that you want to have under your care.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

 

WCBGC Members Visit Tallulah Falls

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The Girls Scouts of the Walton County Boys & Girls Club recently visited Tallulah Falls with the annual Athens Girls Scout Retreat. In partnership with Girls Scouts of Georgia, the SMART Girls met with other troops throughout the state of Georgia in a weekend event filled with fun, laughter and fellowship. 

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The girls spent the weekend participating in several different team building exercises and outdoor skill such as rope walking, log drills, canoeing and other activities that promote teamwork, leadership, and networking.  The girls also learned the basics of retiring a flag.  

 “I learned to do some things that I never knew before,” Aubrey Allen, WCBGC member shared. “It was so fun to learn new skills and meet so many new friends.”

Club Director Lynn E. Hill shared how impactful the event is for Club youth.

“This event held in north Georgia, was important for these girls of the Walton County Club because of the life lessons that were taught during the course of the event,” Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, shared. “The girls could take away lessons on the importance of teamwork, hard work, and understanding nature. I am so glad to know these virtues are included in a weekend field trip that they truly enjoyed.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

WCBGC Celebrates its Seniors

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Walton County Boys & Girls Club celebrated four of its seniors graduating. Among the graduating seniors was Club Director Lynn E. Hill’s son, Jared. 

Jared has been a member of the WCBGC for 12 years and is excited to enter into the Club Alumni program. 

I have come to realize through the Boys & Girls Club that being an alumni now gives me the opportunity to be a spokesperson for the Club and what is called the Movement,” Jared shared. “The Boys & Girls Club has been everything for me. I have truly learned that ‘Great Futures really do start here.’”

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For Lynn Hill he couldn’t be prouder of his son.

I am so proud of my son Jared! I have literally watched him maneuver through the Boys & Girls Club as a Club Member, and as a parent. I witnessed how youth can be nurtured through a program and the effects that positive energy can have on a child developing through watching my own son progress through the Movement,” he shard. “He is now an alumni, and I know that the afterschool program and summer Camp works for our kids who need us the most, because I was engaged in the process with him for his duration as a life-long member of the Boys & Girls Club.

Hill shared he’s thrilled to see where each WCBGC graduate goes in their future. 

“Each Club member knows that they have a home here at our Club,” he added. 

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.


 

WCBGC Names June Youth of the Month



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Celebrating our Youth 

Walton County Boys & Girls Clubcelebrates its members and their accomplishments. This month the Club Youth of the Month isJocelyn Ferguson.

Ferguson has been a member of the Club for three years.

“I want to thank everyone at the Club for helping me feel better about myself,” Ferguson shared. “I am a part of something that makes me feel really special and the staff here help me become something great!”

Ferguson was selected for her positive attitude and willingness to learn the Boys & Girls Club motto, as well as becoming a leader in her Club. 

“Jocelyn makes volunteering really special for me at the Boys & Girls Club,” Ms. Tranteegus Allen, Director and volunteer of Desflo, Inc., shared. “Jocelyn proves what potential a member has when they are supported and given the tools for success. She is never a youth who will shy away from challenges, and her energy is explosive.  She has all the right tools needed to build a character that will make her great, and I’m that she will always remember her humble beginnings her at the Boys & Girls Club.”

Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, says he’s seen a change in “Jocelyn’s behavior.”

“Her parents have commented on several occasions on the improvement in her attitude and behavior, and they have given much credit to the efforts of character development and leadership offered by the Club,” he shared. “I’ve noticed that Jocelyn strives really hard to accomplish things at the Club, and that is a wonderful thing because she will use that same type of energy to accomplish much of her goals in her life.  She is a real go-getter. Jocelyn truly deserves this honor, for she has earned through her interest in the Youth of the Month, and the overall programs offered to her at the Club. “

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.


WCBGC Parent Involvement Highlight

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Journey Clay has a wonderful family. A family who stays involved with the work that she and her older brother, Victor, does at the Boys & Girls Club.  She is shown displaying a piece of artwork that her and her mother did together, as the Future Georgia Educators also came and set up a time for parents and Club members to can enjoy.  Mrs. Brenda Clay, Journey’s mother, stated that she wanted everyone to see the good things that the Club is doing with the Club Members, and that she was so happy to be a part of it.   She doesn’t want to miss anything that gives the parents an opportunity to get involved.                      

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Kamrynn Garner and Darien Lancaster are just two of several Club Members who have had parents come to the Club for a visit in participation of Club projects held in the Art Room. Mrs. Lancaster, center, supervises the production of flower pot decoration and flowers created by her son, Darien, provided by the Monroe Junior Service League of Monroe. Beside Kamrynn Garner, is Billy Lewis, Jr., who just finished a presentation with his mother on Autism Awareness Month, with a concluding activity of flower planting to show how members with autism and express and perceive things differently.

Creative Arts brings 'lights, camera, action' to Walton Club

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For Tranteegus Allen ensuring youth have a bright future is a motto she lives out as the founder of Desflo, Inc – a nonprofit which helps invest in youth through the arts. 

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When Allen heard of the Walton Boys & Girls Club, she knew that a partnership had to be formed. And this is where the Creative Arts Project was born for Club youth. 

For over three months now Allen has been volunteering at WCBGC teaching the youth “how to create film projects through creative arts lenses.”

“This will successfully influence youth to gain knowledge in the specific area of film-making, which promotes literacy and positive youth development,” she shared. “The Creative Art Project is a program that encourages the imagination of original ideas and artistic work of talented youth, which also promotes literacy, self-awareness, self-expression and stage presence.”

Lynn E. Hill, the Club’s director, couldn’t be more thrilled about the new program at the Club. 

“I can see the impact that she is already making with the Club Members,” he said. “Her stage play experience and the promotion of self-awareness gives them something to look forward to. Her passion and love for youth launches her above the rest and our Club members benefit greatly from her leadership.”

For Allen this partnership is about caring for our future generations. 

“Dr. Seuss puts it like this… ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” she shared. “Our aim through the partnership is that the youth enjoy the positive activities and heed to the necessary structure and discipline these sessions will require. The sky is the only limit in achievement for these bright individuals.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

Walton EMC highlights youth of WCBGC in Classic Golf Tournament

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Walton County Boys & Girls Club members recently enjoyed a day of Golf during the Walton EMC Charity Golf Classic sponsored by Walton Electric Membership Corporation.  All funds raised at the tournament go toward the general operating budget of the Walton Club.

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“This year’s event was very special to me as Unit Director,” Mr. Lynn E. Hill, Club Director shared. “My father worked at the Walton EMC and retired there after 35 years of employment. Several employees still remember his tenure there, and we do this charity in honor of him and his dedication to Walton EMC. I’m so proud to see this legacy continue through myself and passed down to our Teens and Youth whom we encourage every day.”

The event was highlighted by the Keystone Club and Teens of the Walton Club participated in the event by speaking with golfers and sponsors on the Golf Course, eating lunch with participants and learning the game of Golf from tournament players.

Each year the Walton EMC recognizes outstanding teens of the Walton County Club and spends the day in an effort to promote fundraising for the BGC.  Those youth were recognized at the tournament. 

“These Teens who represented our Boys & Girls Club were excited to be in the Golf Classic.  As I spoke with the principals of the schools, they were all excited to excuse them from the schools because they whole-heartedly felt that the members would benefit from the event and excite them into future endeavors,” Hill shared. 

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For WCBGC member Ronny Monford learning golf from those present was an exciting new skill to acquire.

“I love to play all kinds of sports,” he said. “It creates a healthy lifestyle, yet I find this sport to be the most enjoyable!”

Janiya Smith, another Club member, shared “This has been one of the best days ever! I met some really great people from my community with good hearts for the Club.”

“My heart is overjoyed with an opportunity to serve these wonderful teens who have come out to the Golf Classic today. I know the potential of these students, and that is why I wanted to come out and be a part of this annual event,” a WCBGC Volunteer shared. “I believe also that it is not so much as to how much money was raised here at this event, but to see how these Teens had an opportunity to be exposed to something that they may have ever experienced before, and to see the look on their faces, was and is priceless.  I’ve worked to support Teens before, but this year was truly special.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

WCBGC Names May Youth of the Month

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Celebrating our Youth 

Walton County Boys & Girls Clubcelebrates its members and their accomplishments. This month the Club is Youth of the Month Sophia Mendez. 

Mendez has been a member of the Club for one year.

“The best thing that I like about the Club is that I get to have fun with all my friends,” Mendez shared. “The staff makes me feel important and I believe I can grow up and be really special.”

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Mendez was selected for her positive attitude and willingness to try new things and excelling in implementation of the BGC way.

For Sophia, her favorite program at the Club is Power Hour and the opportunities she has to read out loud to other Club members. Sophia, a kindergartener, is currently reading at a second-grade level. 

“Sophia makes volunteering really special for me at the Boys & Girls Club,” Jenni Andersen, a student volunteer at George Walton Academy.  “Sophia will come in to share with what she has learned from school, and as she completes her homework through the Power Hour Program, she often looks for special activities related to her schoolwork that we have here in the Club. She keeps me excited and looking forward to coming to the Club each day that I come.”

Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, “looks for Sophie coming through the doors of the Club each day.”

“She always helps in encouraging other members and lights up the whole Club with her smile,” he shared. “When I spoke with her parents, they expressed how important it was for their children to learn social skills. She’s not only improved her social skills but teaches other members about improving their social skills. Sophia is a rising Club Member, and a pleasure to have her enrolled here.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

Sophia Mendezis Walton County Boys & Girls Club Teen of the Month for May.

 

WCBGC Names April Teen of the Month for April

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Celebrating our Youth 

Walton County Boys & Girls Clubcelebrates its members and their accomplishments. This month the Club is Teen member of the Month Christopher Day. 

Day has been a member of the Club for one year and is a teen member of the Club.

“It makes me happy to know that my mom is proud of the things that I am learning and doing at the Boys & Girls Club,” Day shared. “I really enjoy meeting new people through the Boys & Girls Club, like the Belles & Bowties Fundraiser I recently attended.”

Day was selected for his ability to lead his peers in activities, willingness to try new things and excelling in implementation of the BGC way.

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For Christopher his favorite program at the Club is Passport to Manhood where he learns how to dress for success, etiquette techniques and the importance of pursuing your education. 

Christopher is a member of the Keystone Club, Passport to Manhood and the Basketball Team. 

 “There is a uniqueness about this young individual that I have grown to love about Christopher,” Lynn E. Hill, WCGGC Director shared. “His mother moved her family to Georgia about 2 years ago and she was very concerned about his surroundings and the kids he would be vulnerable to. I assured her that there was something about “C.J.” that would cause him to rise above his environment and excel as a notable youth in our community.”

Mr. Hill believes, Christopher has done more than excel.

“His mother is so happy that Chris has a place to develop and mature. His style of dress has changed. He works on his language and speech,” he shared. “Surely, he is moving to the top of his class in school.  He has taken advantage of the Boys & Girls Club experience.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club, visit www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

WCBGC Golden Steppers take third at step show

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Walking onto the Classic Center stage in Athens was thirty Walton County Boys & Girls Club members to perform as The Golden Steppers. They have been practicing since January for this big performance at the 16th Annual Youth Step Show, presented by the Athens Alumni National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc.  

The girls were delighted to discover that out of the competition they placed third and were also acknowledge as People’s Choice by the 500 audience members in attendance. 

This performance by the Golden Steppers was an initiative of the S.M.A.R.T. Girls program that is in place at the Club. A portion of the event’s proceeds were donated toward the Club.   

For several dancers, this competition is something they’ll never forget.

“I’m so proud of us,” Club member Teresha Smith said. “I will never forget this experience for the rest of my life.”

Club member Makayla West said, “Even though we didn’t take first place, I’m so glad we got third and we are always winners at the Boys & Girls Club.”

 “I saw something within these number of girls that I haven’t seen in a long time - a love for their Boys & Girls Club,” Lynn E. Hill, WCBGC Director, said.  “When the announcement was made that they placed third place in the competition, they were filled with joy. I am so proud of these young girls. The group is a part of the SMART Girls resistance program at the Boys & Girls Club, in which we instill into these values of morals, ethics, hard-work, integrity, and a whole lot of GRIT!  The energy that they put into their work, the work ethic, and the discipline that they displayed will cause them to be GREAT!”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club visit, www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

GWA youth gives 'Hope & Opportunity' to WCBGC

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Jenni Andersen knows who she wants to become when she grows up – a teacher in Walton County. She’s a senior at George Walton Academy. To give her real world experience with youth she’s been diligently volunteering at the Walton County Boys & Girls Club.

When Jenni first visited the Club she was surprised to see just how many “wonderful things were being done” at the Club. 

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“As I came to visit the Club, Mr. Lynn E. Hill (WCBGC Director) would show me how I could make a difference in the lives of the members and where I could be utilized the most to understand the importance of being a teacher. 

Mr. Hill gave her a tour of the facility, how the Club operated and showcased what being involved could look like at the Club.

After her visit, Jenni knew what she wanted to do – Power Hour.

Power Hour is a program which focuses on creating a safe space for members to ask questions about homework, work together on school work, study and find unique ways to engage with what they’ve been learning in school.

“I really enjoy being here and giving my best to the Club,” Anderson shared. “I have met so many interesting kids here in the Club and it motivates me to continue pursuing my career path in education. Every time that I come to volunteer, I feel that I have made a difference.  I am thankful for this opportunity to volunteer at a good place like this.”

Mr. Hill says Jenni has brought a “special kind of energy” to the Club. He said that after his initial meeting with Jenni he knew Power Hour was the right fit 

“I wanted Miss Jenni to be a part of the Power Hour Program because I realized that she was gifted in that area,” Mr. Hill shared. “With the kind of energy that she has, and excelling in academics in her school, I know that this energy will pour over into the members. It is wonderful to know that we still have young people who have a vested interest in education and teaching our youth. It’s even more exciting to know that Ms. Jenni will be one of those educators who had humble beginnings right here at the Boys & Girls Club, and she will always contribute to the success of our youth.”

For Jenni, her time at the Club has helped fuel her goal of becoming a teacher with first-hand experience of what making a difference in a younger youth’s life can do.

“I believe that everybody, at some point in time in their lives, ought to give back to their community through volunteering,” she shared. “I learned the motto, that, ‘Great Futures Start Here.’ I can see that for myself as I volunteer at this place. The kids here are special. They deserve all of the good things in life, and I want to help be a part of that.”

To learn more about Walton County Boys & Girls Club visit, www.bgcncg.com/waltonclubor call 770-207-6279.

BGCNCG Youth Named Semi-Finalist at State Comp

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Griggs “shines” a message of positivity 

Ricquaria Griggs believes in empowering others – it’s a message she’s been spreading since joining Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club in 2012. It was there within the walls of her Boys & Girls Club that she found her inner voice and confidence to start sharing her positivity. And, it was on stage at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Georgia Youth of the Year competition she heard her inner voice say, “I’m here.”

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‘Here’ was hearing her name being called as a semi-finalist in the state-wide competition, where she competed against more than 30 youth from Georgia Clubs. 

The statewide competition was a three-day competition, which consisted of interviews, essays and speeches focusing on how Boys & Girls Clubs impacted the youth.

For Griggs, the impact was easy to name – “the Club taught me to love myself and how I can in return take that love and give it to my community.”

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And even though she didn’t take home the title of state-wide Youth of the Year, Griggs keeps echoing two words, “I’m here.”

“After the winner was announced a fellow Youth of the Year said to me, ‘but, I’m here’ and I couldn’t help but reflect on the meaning of those two words for my life and my future,” she shared. “Wherever I am meant to be and whatever I am truly meant to pursue, I will get there because I was here – because this Club and organization believed in me and because I believed in myself.”

Among those gathered to support Ricquaria was Greene County High School Principal, James Peek, who shared his excitement in her successes. 

“It has been a tremendous experience attending this Youth of the Year ceremony. We at Greene County High School are very proud of Ricquaria’s accomplishments,” he shared. “She is an outstanding student and tremendous leader in our community. I know that she is on the path to do great things in the future.”

For Mike Conrads, a Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia advisory board member and donor toward the Youth of the Year program, watching Ricquaria grow was an immense honor to participate in. 

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“Shine is the word – Ricquaria is amazing,” he shared. “She’s such a great representative and she truly has her act together. She knows where she’s going, so humble and just a wonderful spirit. It’s been wonderful to watch her grow through this last year.”

Conrads added, “She’s going to be a superstar in the future – she already is.”

“She’s going to be leader and she is going to come back to our community and give back – that’s her.”

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During the course of the last year, Ricquaria was been named Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year, as well as the organization wide Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia Youth of the Year. Her accomplishments are marked by her unrelenting dedication to grow as a leader, as well as an individual. 

Bob Mackey, President & CEO of BGCNCG, said “We are so proud of Ricquaria. She truly lives and breathes our mission statement in her own community efforts to ensure every youth reaches their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

“Her accomplishments also echo our core commitment to continue fostering great futures for our youth in North Central, as this marks the second year a youth from our organization was named a semi-finalist in this competition,” he added. “We’re also so grateful for the individuals who helped prepare Ricquaria for this competition. Thank you, Linda and Mike Conrads, June and Michael Tompkins, Terressa and Kim Jensen for helping prep her for the sessions.”

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For Ricquaria, her future is bright and sure to be something “amazing.”

“Because of my local Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia, I was given the opportunity to share my story and inspire others along the way,” she shared. “I now have the confidence to keep striving to be successful. I can’t wait to see what’s next for me because I know it is going to be something amazing!”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program empowers young people to reach their full potential by providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine.

Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia’s vision is to provide a world-class experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters its doors.

For more information or to donate, visit www.bgcncg.com. If you’d like to get involved, please contact 770-267-8034. 

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