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And the 2015 Youth of the Year Winner is…

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Announces 2015 Youth of the Year
Annual Fundraiser Raises Over $500,000 for the Local Non-Profit

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is pleased to announce Allison Mertz, a junior at Pinnacle High School and seven-year member at the Thunderbirds Branch, has been named the organization’s 2015 Youth of the Year. The award was presented to Mertz at the non-profit’s Blue Door Ball which recently took place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess raising over $500,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title, the event celebrated the top teenage Club members with more than 800 attendees including community leaders, supporters and esteemed guests. The evening boasted a silent and live auction, dinner and live entertainment while the teen finalists shared their personal stories of triumph and transformation.

Mertz’s story centered on the impact of the SMART Girls program, which teaches health, fitness, education and self-esteem enhancement to girls. It was through that program Mertz realized she was not the only teenage girl facing peer-pressure issues – since then she has helped lead the program and mentor young girls. She also implemented community service projects and managed volunteer efforts through the Club.

“Teens all around the country struggle with self-image, worry of others opinions and sometimes feel like they are just not good enough,” says Mertz. “The Club made me realize I wasn’t alone and that I’m perfectly imperfect – and that’s something for which I’ll be forever grateful.”

Mertz plans to use the scholarship money granted to her through the Youth of the Year program and General Dynamics C4 Systems toward earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Arizona State University. She will also advance to the statewide Youth of the Year competition in April.

The following Youth of the Year finalists were also honored at the Blue Door Ball:

  • Tatum Ayers, senior at Pinnacle High School and member at the Vestar Branch located in Phoenix
  • Leonel Bello, senior at Coronado High School and member at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Melissa Ervin, senior at Fountain Hills High School and member at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch located in Fountain Hills
  • Leonel Reyes, senior at Arcadia High School and member at the Paiute Neighborhood Center located in Scottsdale, part of the Outreach Services program
  • Nicolas Schlip, sophomore at Saguaro High School and member at the Rose Lane Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Joshua Scott, sophomore at Westwood High School and member at the Lehi Branch located in Mesa on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Lane Yazziesenior at Salt River High School and member of the Red Mountain Branch, located in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Kristen Yee, senior at Desert Mountain High School and member at the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in Scottsdale

Along with recognizing the youth, in memory of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s long-time supporters Ruth & Hartley Barker, the organization instated an award in their honor. The award was presented during the event to an outstanding community member or group who has impacted our community through their exceptional service to youth. This year’s award continued in the footsteps of the Barker’s impact and was presented to Mary Ellen & Robert McKee in honor of their service and commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale for over 35 years.

Other major Blue Door Ball sponsors who joined Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title were General Dynamics C4 Systems, Voya Financial, Tiffany & Co., Republic Services, UMB Bank, Chasse Building Team, First Bank, First Western Trust, AAA Landscaping, Desert Ridge Community Association, FirstService Residential, Print Source One, Rimmer Electric, Bulter Hansen, P.C., and Gallagher Kennedy.

Celebrate Youth at the Blue Door Ball

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is set to honor its 2015 Youth of the Year finalists at the Blue Door Ball on Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort. Presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title, the ball celebrates the organization’s top teenage members with more than 600 attendees including community leaders, supporters and esteemed guests. The evening boasts a silent and live auction, dinner and live entertainment while our teen finalists share their personal stories of triumph and transformation.

“Thousands of youth walk through the big blue doors at the Boys & Girls Club every day. Behind these doors all children and teenagers—regardless of their background—are empowered to achieve great futures,” says Marianne Curran who is co-chairing the ball along with fellow board member Janet Caldarelli. “We believe every child deserves a great future, and great futures start with the critical support we receive at this year’s Blue Door Ball.”

The national Youth of the Year program is a premier character and leadership initiative which has been in existence for more than 60 years. Recipients of the award are chosen based on each finalist’s demonstration of moral character, life goals, leadership, poise, public speaking ability and service to the Club, community and family. This year’s 10 finalists will compete for the distinction of being named the winning Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Youth of the Year. This year’s finalists are:

  • Tatum Ayers, senior at Pinnacle High School and member at the Vestar Branch located in Phoenix
  • Leonel Bello, senior at Coronado High School and member at the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Melissa Ervin, senior at Fountain Hills High School and member at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch located in Fountain Hills
  • Leonel Reyes, senior at Arcadia High School and member at the Paiute Neighborhood Center located in Scottsdale, part of the Outreach Services program
  • Allison Mertz, junior at Pinnacle High School and member at the Thunderbirds Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Nic Ship, sophomore at Saguaro High School and member at the Rose Lane Branch located in Scottsdale
  • Joshua Scott, sophomore at Westwood High School and member at the Lehi Branch located in Mesa on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Lane Yazziesenior at Salt River High School and member of the Red Mountain Branch, located in Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
  • Kristen Yee, senior at Desert Mountain High School and member at the Virginia G. Piper Branch located in Scottsdale

The 2015 Youth of the Year announcement will be made at the conclusion of the Blue Door Ball. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and each of the nine runners-up will receive a $1,000 scholarship from General Dynamics C4 Systems. Some other corporate sponsors joining Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title are General Dynamics C4 Systems, Republic Services, UMB Bank, Chasse Building Team, First Bank and First Western Trust.

The winning 2015 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Youth of the Year will continue on to the state-level competition with other organizations from across Arizona. The winner of the state competition advances to the Pacific Region Youth of the Year competition held later this year, with the opportunity to continue to the national event.

Tickets for the Blue Door Ball start at $200/per person. Tables and event sponsorships are available at here or by calling 480-344-5682.

Foundation Announces New Executive Director

K Kramer 006

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation has announced the hiring of Kathy X. Kramer as their new Executive Director. Kramer brings more than 30 years of experience as a development officer with a focus on fundraising in health and human service settings including management, board relationships and strategic planning. Also, having grown up in Phoenix, Kramer has a deep understanding of the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“When my children were younger and as a working mother, my children attended the Barker Branch, part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, for after school care and during school breaks,” says Kramer. “I saw the Club’s mission first had and I am thrilled to join the Foundation and build a lasting legacy for future generations.”

Prior to joining the Foundation, Kramer served as the Vice President at Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation and also held top leadership positions at St. Joseph’s/Barrow Neurological Foundation.

“Kathy is committed to helping fund quality youth programming that is designed to develop character, leadership and life-enhancing skills, right here in our community,” says John C. Heitel, Foundation Chairman. “As one of the leading fundraisers in Arizona, we are extremely enthusiastic about Kathy joining the Boys & Girls Club movement.”

Established in 1992, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation is dedicated to providing annual operating support to over 17,800 youth served at the organization’s nine locations and multiple outreach sites. Now led by Kramer, the Foundation is governed by an independent board of 15 community leaders and trustees.

“We have been vigilant about growing the Foundation into a stable source for the Clubs,” says Heitel. “Providing a legacy of success for the organization and the youth it serves.”

As well as fundraising, the Foundation also manages its own Charitable Gift Annuity program – a tax wise way to support the organization while providing significant income to the donor over his or her lifetimes. Donations, whether big or small, can be made to endow any specific Club location, outreach site or program.

“We are truly proud of the way in which our Foundation raises funds for youth who need it the most,” says Steve Davidson, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. . “In our 60 year history great futures have been created here at the Clubs every day. Kathy’s work with the Foundation will provide the financial security we need to create more great futures for youth for many years to come.”

Live & Local Returns to Rock your Culinary World

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is bringing the food and music scene together like never before at the second annual Live & Local, presented by GoDaddy.  Arizona’s most celebrated culinary rock stars will converge on the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, Sunday, Nov. 9 at 5 pm along with local musicians for an evening filled to the brim with unique food and music experiences. Whether it’s truffle mac-n-cheese and short rib sliders or smooth whisky, Live & Local is guaranteed to feed your soul. Sponsored by the Arizona Restaurant Association and NOVA Home Loans, this standout event is unique as it celebrates local businesses while raising crucial funds that benefit local youth who need it the most. Here’s just a taste of what’s on the menu at this year’s event…

ROCK STAR CHEFS

  • Barrio Queen
  • Southern Rail / Beckett’s Table
  • Binkley’s
  • Kincaid’s
  • Paul Martin’s American Grill
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • SumoMaya
  • Bistro on Wheels Food Truck
  • Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Cholla
  • Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers
  • Foosia Fresh
  • Petite Maison
  • Taggia
  • The Grind
  • The Standard
  • Tom’s Thumb
  • Tryst Cafe
  • Kelly’s at Southbridge
  • Chase’s Diner
  • Pink Pony
  • The Melting Pot
  • Passport Coffee & Tea
  • C3 Kitchen
  • San Tan Brewery
  • Salty Senorita
  • Union Barrel House
  • Wildflower Bread Company
  • White Chocolate Grill

GOOD LIBATIONS

  • Dozens of wine samplings by Arizona’s finest vineyards
  • 3 Amigos Tequila
  • Sleepy Dog Brewery
  • Roger Clyne Mexican Moonshine Tequila
  • Prescott Brewing Company
  • Mudshark Brewery
  • Mother Road Brewing Company
  • Four Peaks Brewing Company
  • Hand-crafted cocktails and more

THE PLAYLIST

  • Nate Williams Band: A night of dancing, kicking back on the beach, sipping a blended margarita— the Nate Williams Band supplies the soundtrack to moments of pure joy. One of Arizona’s most popular live acts, this talented combo specializes in originals and well-chosen covers done in a funky, Reggae-influenced style.
  • Georgia Chrome: This hopping ensemble brings on the two-steppin’ fun with an energetic mix of chart-topping country and down-home Americana. Based in Phoenix, this audience favorite is a mainstay at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, and time after time, they’ve proven that they’ve got the chops and know-how to create a rockin’ party atmosphere.
  • Adam Shero: Everything about Adam Shero’s effortless musicianship can be seen on YouTube, via his sprightly solo cover version of “Moves Like Jagger.” In the video, Shero transforms 2011’s most unavoidable song into a shimmering, lovely mélange of tight guitars, spacey synths and soulful, multi-layered vocals.

FULL SENSORY EXPERIENCES

  • Ale Yeah Beer Garden: Guests will savor this music-infused craft beer garden showcasing more than 30 unique varieties served with signature bites. Adding to the fun are beer-branded koozies featuring fun sayings like “Hip Hops” and “Brew Haha.” Crafted by Crescent Crown Distributing
  • Pitch Black VIP Experience: This “better than a backstage” experience pits VIP guests against each other in a musical showdown of Rock Band while enjoying the taste of Johnny Walker Black Label, Captain Morgan Black and Crown Royal Black under the glow of neon lights. Check out the action from a private bird’s nest or from two double bars. Powered by GoDaddy
  • unWINEd Lounge: And when only wine will do, VIP guests refresh at this wine lounge featuring unique vintages and freshly rolled cigars. Decorated with handcrafted bistro lights, the lounge is the perfect place to relax and un-wine-d.
  • Pick a Track Music Lounge: Browse our wall-to-wall CD collection for a chance to win deliciously loud restaurant gift cards. $25 allows you to “download” any track, each track features a gift card valued $25 to $200 from a culinary hotspot.
  • VIP After Party: Starting at 9 pm the party will continue with this exclusive experience featuring more beats, savory desserts, adult milkshakes and more. Fashioned by Arizona Foothills Magazine.

“Great albums are like great menus, handcrafted to a single overall theme or unified story. And Live & Local is the album of foodies,” says local restaurateur Allen Thompson, who is co-chairing the event with Frank Gorman, Executive Vice President at Meridian Bank. “Our all-volunteer committee and staff have spent countless hours curating every detail of this year’s event to ensure Live & Local continues to be one of Arizona’s most popular and provocative culinary events.”

Boys & Girls Club Kids Participate in Revolutionary New ‘Pen Pal’ Technology

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and Aha!101 recently launched a program where Club members in Scottsdale connect live with peers in China through a glorified ‘Pen Pal’ system. The Boys & Girls Club members, who are also English Language Learners (ELL) students, received a tablet, which will become their gateway to becoming fluent in English while connecting to peers around the world.

Through the program, called Woogi U, youth will participate in a student-driven, game-based English language program on the tablet that connects English-speaking and non-English speaking children from around the world. The students will connect and collaborate directly with students in schools throughout China as they practice English while developing 21st century skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, entrepreneurship and cultural understanding.

The Woogi U program is designed to motivate students by games, relevance and social interaction as well as help peak curiosity for understanding the English language, increasing learning speeds. The tablets were donated by Aha!101 and will be owned by the Boys & Girls Club members once they master the first year of English fluency.

“We are thrilled to provide 21st century learning devices to these Boys & Girls Club youth, whom we believe have so much potential to be a positive influence on their family, community and country, “ says Reed Frerichs, Managing Director of Aha!101, “We are setting them free to learn critical life skills at anytime and anywhere.”

The program is said to be extremely scalable, effective and runs at a minimal cost. The Woogi U program is also an affordable English language product for non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Clubs as it offers a dynamic learning experience which engages students and keeps them wanting to learn more, all delivered on a state of the art tablet.

“This partnership is a perfect match as it helps drives our mission of providing academic success, character and healthy lifestyles, all while being on the forefront of technology,” says Steve Davidson, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. “We look forward to seeing our Club members excel with this program as well as have fun meeting peers in other countries – something they might not ever get the chance to do otherwise.”