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Clubs re-open following two-month COVID-19 Closure

On Monday, May 18, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) re-opened five of its nine branch locations following a 2-month closure to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in accordance with federal and state guidelines.

The Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch in south Scottsdale, the Virginia G. Piper Branch in the Scottsdale Ranch neighborhood, the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch in Fountain Hills, the Thunderbirds Branch in the Grayhawk Community, and the Vestar Branch in Desert Ridge will open summer day camps Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Additionally, each branch has a teen center offering summer teen programming.

“Many of the families we serve are heading back to their places of business and really need us right now,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “We have spent the past two months preparing our safe reopening plan that follows all updated CDC guidelines and training teammates on new procedures and practices.”

The five Clubs reopening on Monday have undergone deep cleaning and sanitizing, painting, and reorganizing. Parents/guardians can expect curbside drop-offs and pickups which include temperature checks upon check-in.

The following additional safety procedures have been put in place:

  • Curbside drop-offs and pickups in the front of all open Clubs
  • All Club members and staff will have their body temperature taken prior to entering the building using no-touch thermometers
  • Hand sanitizer will be required for all before entering the building
  • Planned/spaced hand washing for members between rotations during the day
  • Members will be reminded to not touch their face and to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing
  • Hourly disinfecting of high touch areas
  • Programming that is social distancing conscious with instructions and reminders at the beginning of each rotation
  • Field trips and external outings have been canceled until further notice
  • Entry into the Clubs is prohibited to anyone who does not provide direct services to members – this includes sports clinics and camps

“Our team of youth development professionals has been planning weekly themes, reading and literacy activities, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) projects, games and challenges and a lot of fun for our members,” said Julien. “Kids are ready to get back to the business of being kids, and we are thrilled to be there for them.”

Space is limited to keep groupings of kids to 10 or less during each rotation. For youth members, the cost is $179/week. Teen members attend at no charge with a current $25 annual membership. Register at www.bgcs.org/clubconnect.

Club sports have been canceled for the summer season with the expectation of opening fall sports registrations on July 6. Those interested in a small clinic or camp for volleyball or basketball may contact Avalanche Athletics (avalancheathletics.com) or Hoop Code (hoopcode.com).

Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs names Carly Mertz 2020 Arizona State Youth of the Year, Dylan Voy 2020 Arizona Military Youth of the Year

Outstanding teens from seven Arizona Boys & Girls Clubs and military base youth programs competed for the highest state Club member honors using video conferencing

PHOENIX – Carly Mertz, 17, and Dylan Voy, 18, were awarded Arizona Youth of the Year honors during an online ceremony organized by the Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and presented by Fiesta Bowl Charities on Tuesday, March 31.

Carly, a 12-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Thunderbirds Branch, was named the 2020 Arizona State Youth of the Year.

Dylan, a seven-year member of the Luke AFB Youth Program, received the 2020 Arizona State Military Youth of the Year top honors.

Selected from a field of 7 candidates from Boys & Girls Club organizations around the state, Carly and Dylan will receive scholarships and go on to compete at the regional level in their respective categories. Regional winners move on to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year competition.

“It is an absolute honor to represent my Thunderbirds Branch, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, and the State of Arizona,” said Carly following the announcement. “It means so much to me to be able to give something back to the Boys & Girls Clubs since they have done so much for me throughout my life. I hope to raise awareness about the serious issues of negative mental health in youth and teens and to make support systems more accessible.”

In Carly’s three-minute competition speech she cited the national statistic that one in five teenagers struggle with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and spoke passionately about the Club’s programs and mentors that continue to help her find confidence, positive body image, and acceptance.

“We are so very proud of Carly and the impressive young lady she has become,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS CEO. “She truly exemplifies the magic of the Clubs and will be an impactful spokesperson for the growing number of teens in all demographics who struggle with anxiety disorders.”

Each of the seven teen candidates presented their three-minute speeches to judges and completed the interview process using video conferencing on Monday, March 30, 2020. The winners were announced live online in a virtual ceremony the following day.

“Even though I would have loved to meet the other amazing candidates, Boys & Girls Clubs of America kept everyone safe by making the process virtual,” Carly added. “I am so excited to have this opportunity to make Arizona proud.”

Carly has been accepted to Arizona State University’s Barrett, The Honors College, and will pursue her interests in community service and corporate responsibility through a major in marketing and hospitality.

Dylan is taking honors and AP classes while maintaining a 3.6 GPA. His goal after graduation is to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering before joining the US Air Force as an officer.

“These youth represent the very best of our Clubs. Their academic and philanthropic achievements are an inspiration in a time of so much uncertainty and change,” said Andy Reese, the Board Chair for the Arizona Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. “Our Clubs have been a stabilizing force in the lives of thousands of youth around Arizona, and I’m thrilled to see Carly and Dylan advance to the regional Youth of the Year competition.”

All of the candidates previously competed at local levels to represent their individual Boys & Girls Club organizations before moving on to the state competition. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year Program is a premier youth development recognition experience celebrating academic success, examples of leadership and overall Club involvement. Teens must write multiple essays, participate in the interview process and deliver a three-minute speech highlighting the impact of their Club experience.

Arizona State Youth of the Year judges:
Chelsea Collins – Customer Service Manager, Toyota/Lexus Financial Services
Emily Holden – Director of Game & Event Operations, Fiesta Bowl
Mark Gretter – Director of Youth Basketball Programs, Phoenix Suns

Arizona State Youth of the Year candidates:
Carly Mertz, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
Jasimiair Roebuck, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson
Samia Ruiz, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix
Jacob Thompson, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River
Cesar Villasenor, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley

Arizona Military Youth of the Year candidates:
Dylan Voy, Luke AFB Youth Program
Liesl White, Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Program

Carly M. named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale 2020 Youth of the Year

At its annual Celebrate Youth Gala Friday night, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) named Carly M. its 2020 Youth of the Year. Carly, age 17, has been a member of the BGCS Thunderbirds Branch for 12 years.

In front of more than 600 guests at the gala presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Meritage Homes, Carly told her story of finding confidence, positive body image, and acceptance at the Club. She says her Club mentors and programs have helped her overcome the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that one in five teenagers struggle with each year.

Carly will receive a $5,000 scholarship for college which will help her achieve her goal of becoming an event planner for a non-profit.

“Our gala guests are always in awe of our teen leaders, and this year our eight finalists did not disappoint,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “On full display at the Celebrate Youth Gala was the true impact of the Clubs—confident, compassionate and resilient young leaders on their individual paths to great futures.”

Carly was chosen from a field of 8 finalists that included: Joseph (JP) C. age 15, from the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch; Zaria G., age 15, from the Lehi Branch; Annay L., age 18, from the Scottsdale Charros Branch; Kennise M., age 16, from the Red Mountain Branch; Kayla M., age 17, from the Virginia G. Piper Branch; Jason N., age 17, from the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch; and Isabella T., age 16, from the Vestar Branch.

Youth of the Year is a national Boys & Girls Clubs of America program promoting leadership, exceptional academic performance and community service. The competition began in September with 19 BGCS teens vying for the Clubs’ highest honor and a total of $12,000 in scholarship awards provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation. Broadband Dynamics and Gabbie and Bob Rife provided an additional $2,000 for each finalist.

In the months leading up to the final competition, candidates prepare by writing multiple essays and participating in panel interviews with community leaders. The teens also practiced their presentations of Club experiences, personal growth, and transformation which they shared on the big stage at the Celebrate Youth Gala.

Proceeds generated from sponsorships, ticket and table sales, auction items and paddle-raiser purchases go directly to fund Club programming.

Carly will go on to compete at the state level on March 30, 2020, with the potential to move onto regional and national competitions.

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ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF GREATER SCOTTSDALE

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) serves thousands of youth at nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.

Research shows that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more likely they are to feel more connected to school and have greater post-secondary aspirations. The door to our kids’ futures is often crowded by temptation and misdirection making it difficult for them to reach their full potential. Inside our doors, youth development professionals and mentors provide guidance, support, and encouragement in an enriching and safe environment. Our outcome-based programming assures that success is in reach for all kids and teens who enter our doors, no matter their circumstances.

 

Cox Awards $20,675 to upgrade technology space at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Fountain Hills Branch

A refurbished and upgraded technology innovation lab funded by a $20,675 award from Cox Communications, Inc., was unveiled at the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale on Friday, Aug. 9.

The Cox Innovation Lab features new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, and technology upgrades including 10 high-speed laptops, a MacBook, 2 virtual reality headsets, Nintendo Labo, a 4K TV display, and a 3D printer making the space the first of its kind in Fountain Hills.

“At Cox we believe that life is better when we have more moments of real human connection. Not only does access to the Internet keep students connected to their teachers, but we know it is a vital tool for school work and STEM programs,” said Susan Anable, Southwest Region Vice President of Public Affairs, Cox Communications.  “We know that this Innovation Lab will not only provide moments of fun, but with access to the Internet a world is opened to young minds.”

Located in the McKee Branch teen center, the lab will also be used for programming made available to younger Club members.

“With this new technology, any place can now become a learning environment,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “By funding this lab, Cox provided our kids with opportunities to explore faraway places with virtual reality headsets, create robots, learn coding and programming, and create digital art. These are skills and experiences that will help our kids prepare for the jobs of tomorrow right here in our state.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Change the Equation, Inc. projects a growth of 23% in STEM jobs in Arizona through 2024 and ranked Arizona second in growth for computing jobs.

Virtual reality headsets along with 360-degree cameras will provide BGCS members the ability to explore other countries, play games, and create their own 360-degree images and videos. With Nintendo Labo, kids will be able to create interactive modules like steering wheels and robots. The 4K television display will be used to show demos while Club members work at their own station, view virtual reality images, and provide the greatest clarity possible for the Nintendo experience. With the 3D printer, kids will be exposed to coding and digital art creation.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch serves 650 youth and teen members with before school and after school programming as well as summer day camp and sports leagues. The McKee Branch is located on North Del Cambre Avenue in Fountain Hills. To learn more about this Club, visit www.bgcs.org or call (480) 344-5400.

The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation Invests $120,000 In Boys & Girls Club Scholarship Recipients By Funding A New Staff Position To Support Students Across Phoenix And Scottsdale Clubs

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix (BGCMP) has been awarded a $120,000 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to establish a full-time College Access and Success Manager. The new position will benefit both Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) by managing the multiple scholarships available to Club youth and providing direct support to scholarship recipients throughout their college career.

“Education plays a key role in shaping a person’s future,” said businessman Bob Parsons. “This collaborative position will help the Boys & Girls Clubs provide scholarship students with the structure and support they need to be successful in their pursuit of higher education.”

Over the past few years, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation – and a number of other organizations and individuals – have provided scholarship funding for Club members. Many of the scholarship recipients come from families living at or below the poverty level, and a large majority of them are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Students in these situations often lack the support system to help them navigate the college experience and too often scholarships go unused because the student is overwhelmed or doesn’t know where to turn for help.

“Attending college or getting post-secondary training is one of the best ways for teens to break the cycle of familial poverty, but these students encounter challenges at home and at school that their counterparts may not face,” said Marcia Mintz, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. “Our students worked very hard in high school to graduate and earn a scholarship. Thanks to the grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, we will now be able to continue to support our scholarship students as they navigate the world of higher education.”

The Success Manager will support nearly two dozen clubs across Phoenix and Greater Scottsdale, teaching scholarship recipients how to prepare for college, set up a bank account, manage their financial aid and scholarship funds, and fulfill their academic scholarship requirements. Because the vast majority of the youth in this program will be first-generation college students, the Success Manager also will serve as their support system to answer questions and provide ongoing encouragement and reassurance as they work toward a degree.

“Having someone in their corner who can help navigate both the financial and academic challenges of college will give Boys & Girls Club youth a much greater chance at success,” said businesswoman Renee Parsons. “The results will benefit not only the scholarship recipient but their entire family by helping first-generation and lower-income students accomplish lasting success.”

Longtime advocates for the Boys & Girls Club, this recent grant brings The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation’s total support – across both Metro Phoenix and Greater Scottsdale clubs – to more than $9 million, including many Youth of the Year scholarships

“Teens like Kyla Silas, our 2017 Youth of the Year and first-generation college student, often feel like their dreams are not possible as they begin to explore the cost of higher education,” said Robyn Julien, CEO of

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. “Because of the support from donors like the Parsons, and with guidance through the scholarship funding process, our youth realize that they are capable of achieving their dreams, even with all the changes and added responsibilities that go along with attending college.”

Research has shown that the more time youth spend at a Boys & Girls Club, the more connection they feel to school and the greater their post-secondary aspirations become. Thousands of youth walk through the door of a Boys & Girls Club every day, where they are prepared to become 21st century leaders, globally competitive graduates, innovative dream makers and healthy game changers. To learn more visit: https://www.bgca.org/.

Red Mountain Branch Teen Development Specialist honored with Innovation Award

Angela DiCicco, Teen Development Specialist at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s (BGCS) Red Mountain Branch, was presented with the prestigious Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2019 Money Matters Innovation Award. Council Members Michael Dallas and Tom Largo were on hand to recognize DiCicco at the BGCS all-staff meeting held at the Lehi Community Center on Thursday, April 4.

The Innovation Award recognizes only 6 Clubs nationally who are implementing innovative financial literacy programming. DiCicco created a comic book to go hand-in-hand with the BGCA Money Matters curriculum helping Club members become interested in and understand the importance of financial responsibility. The Red Mountain BGCS Branch will receive $1,000 from Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a result of the program’s enhancement created by DiCicco.

“A lot of our teens are into comic books and our younger kids love them too,” said DiCicco. “It’s a good way to inspire both youth and teens with the message of financial responsibility that all of our Clubs can use.”

Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13 to 18. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses, and pay for college.

“We recognize that increasing the financial literacy of youth in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is a priority for our organization,” said Tamara Littlesalt-Butler, BGCS Vice President of Native American & Community Services. “Angela’s ability to retool program curriculums to fit the needs and interests of our youth has helped us make a huge impact for our members.”

The Red Mountain Branch and the Lehi Branch of BGCS are both located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and the organization’s youth development programming at www.bgcs.org.

Youth display art at Innovative Dreammakers EXPO

Youth and teen members from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) displayed their visual, digital, and performing art at the 2nd Annual Innovative Dreammakers EXPO as part of National Fine Arts Exhibit programming on Wednesday, April 3 at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts.

Fine art and photography pieces were showcased at the EXPO that placed during organizational competitions held throughout the year along with live vocal, dance, drama, hoop dance, and cheer performances.

“I like art because I get to use my imagination and go free. Someday I’m going to be a famous artist,” said Geo, age 8 from the BGCS Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch. He proudly displayed his 2nd place winning mixed media art at the EXPO.

Over the past year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has committed to growing its arts programming with daily fine arts activities, specialized art classes, environmental art programming, and one-of-a-kind experiences and career development with Valley artists. As part of the Innovative Dreammaker initiative, youth also are exposed to performance opportunities with dance classes, cheer teams, music, and voice.

“I like cheer and dance because it is fun and when I’m bored, I can just do it,” said Beyonce, age 10 from the BGCS Scottsdale Charros Branch. Beyonce and her cheer team performed at the EXPO. “It makes me happy to dance with my friends. The most exciting thing that happened was when we won the Spirit Stick at the Chant Off at the end of summer camp last year.”

“At a time when schools continue to cut back on arts education, we are making sure all of our after-school program members have access to fine arts programming every week,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “We are forming new partnerships with respected Valley arts organizations so that we can bring the best into our Clubs.”

A Thunderbirds Charities award of $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) spearheaded the growth of the initiative which has already shown results in helping youth to develop specialized skills, find their passions, and use their voice.

“We’re thrilled to help Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale and their mission to foster innovation in our communities,” said Thunderbirds Charities President Carlos Sugich. “BGCS has a tremendous positive impact on our young people and we’re very proud to help any way we can.”

“This generous gift from Thunderbirds Charities is critical to our year-round Innovative Dream-Maker programming,” said Julien. “We are continually grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their commitment to our community and helping our youth develop the skills they need to be successful.”

The winning pieces from competitions held throughout the year will be sent to the regional competition which will be hosted by BGCS on May 14 at the BIG YAM offices on Northsight in Scottsdale. Included are:

Multicolor Drawing
Dustin M., 9, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Taliya W., 10, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Edward C., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Collage
Nicole S., 6, Vestar Branch
Alyssa P., 10, Lehi Branch
Olivia H., 13, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Watercolor
Lena M., 8, Vestar Branch
Yaya H., 10, Vestar Branch
Julia G., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Pastel
Nicole S., 6, Vestar Branch
Jaden L., 12, Vestar Branch

Monochromatic Drawing
Lexi A., 8, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Gage V., 11, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Edward C., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Gianna M., 17, Vestar Branch

Acrylic or Oil
Gina M., 8, Vestar Branch
Josh G., 11, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Julia G., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Rena J., 17, Thunderbirds Branch

Printmaking
Aahaan B., 8, Vestar Branch
Harper H., 11, Thunderbirds Branch
Karym N., 14, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch
Sarah G., 16, Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch

Mixed Media
Betsy S., 9, Red Mountain Branch
Julienne H., 11, Thunderbirds Branch
Joshua B., 14, Virginia G. Piper Branch
Peyton B., 16, Virginia G. Piper Branch

Group Project
Virginia G. Piper Branch Chihuly Project

BGCS offers of variety of arts and innovation programming at their nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, Mesa, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.

The National Fine Arts program offered to all members focuses on one medium a month to encourage artistic expression including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture. Youth artists whose work shows improvement and promise in their age group are placed in competition at local and regional exhibits. A panel of judges selects works for inclusion in the National Fine Arts Exhibit, which is displayed at Boys & Girls Clubs of America events.

Boys & Girls Clubs’ ImageMakers Photography program teaches youth the art and science of photography designed to help Club members go beyond taking simple snapshots on their phones and develop the skills to produce impactful photographs.

“In our Clubs, we witness firsthand the positive impact of arts programming. Members not only gain hands-on skills but also develop cultural awareness and community connectedness,” said Lyndal Pleasant, BGCS Director of Arts Programming. “Performing arts opportunities allow members to be recognized for their creativity and self-expression. We were excited to see so many from the community come to view the exhibits and support our young artists.”

Find out more about programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale by visiting www.bgcs.org.

Tisha B. Named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale 2019 Youth of the Year at Celebrate Youth at Blue Door Ball Gala


Tisha B., 17-year-old member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Sal Cosenza Teen Center at the Virginia G. Piper Branch was named the organization’s 2019 Youth of the Year. The announcement was made Friday night at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s annual signature fundraiser, Celebrate Youth at Blue Door Ball presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Great American Title.

The gala, held at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge, raised $1 million to fund Club programming through ticket and table sales, event sponsorships, paddle-raisers, and live and silent auctions.

Bob and Renee Parsons, through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, donated more than $300,000 in the paddle raise and live auction. Their generosity helped the Clubs reach the million-dollar mark for the first time in the history of this event.

The event also highlights the impact of the Clubs on local youth with each of the eight Youth of the Year teen finalists presenting their personal stories of growth, resiliency and achievement.

“This organization changes the lives of young people one day at a time,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President & CEO. “If our more than 650 guests didn’t know that upon walking into the gala, they definitely knew it upon leaving Friday night after hearing our amazing teens tell their stories.”

Joining B. in the Youth of the Year competition was Michael B., age 17, from the Vestar Branch; Alexandra G., age 16, from the Scottsdale Charros Branch; Caleb J., age 18, from the Red Mountain Branch; Tara M., age 17, from the Thunderbirds Branch; Jake M., age 17, from the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch; Elyssa V., age 17, from the Lehi Branch; and Jessica V., age 17, from the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch.

“On full display at Celebrate Youth at Blue Door Ball is the true magic of the Clubs—while everyone has their own challenges and burdens, some that may be visible and some that aren’t, what our programming and youth development professionals inspire in our kids is that you don’t have to be defined by what life throws at you,” explained Julien. “By setting goals, working hard and having the support system and mentorships our Clubs provide, they decide what their life will be.”

Youth of the Year is a national Boys & Girls Clubs of America program promoting leadership, exceptional academic performance and community service. This annual competition begins in September with more than 30 BGCS teens vying for the Clubs’ highest honor and $12,000 in scholarship awards provided by Voya Financial.

In the months leading up to the final competition, candidates prepare by writing multiple essays and participating in two rounds of one-on-one and panel interviews with local community leaders. Each teen also practices and hones their presentations of Club experiences and personal growth and transformation.

“All of the candidates are a wonderful representation of the light that the Clubs provide, and all of the candidates were worthy of becoming the 2019 Youth of the Year,” said Sara Donaldson, VP Investment Stewardship at Voya Investment Management and Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale Board Member, who served as lead judge for this year’s Youth of the Year competition. “The final decision was extremely difficult, but in the end, we felt that Tisha was the best representative of that light.”

Tisha will go on to compete at the state level on March 26, 2019, with the potential to move onto regional and national competitions.

Thunderbirds Charities awards $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale for Innovative Dream-Maker programming


Thunderbirds Charities awarded $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) to help fund and grow the youth development organization’s Innovative Dream-Maker initiative for arts and innovation programming.

Fine arts, performing arts, graphic design, drama, music, photography and entrepreneurism are all focuses of the Club’s Innovative Dream-Maker programming.

“We’re thrilled to help Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale and their mission to foster innovation in our communities,” said Thunderbirds Charities President Carlos Sugich. “BGCS has a tremendous positive impact on our young people and we’re very proud to help any way we can.”

“This generous gift from Thunderbirds Charities is critical to our year-round Innovative Dream-Maker initiative,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “We are continually grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their commitment to our community and helping our youth develop the skills they need to be successful.”

BGCS offers of variety of arts and innovation programming at their nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, Mesa, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.

The National Fine Arts program offered to all members focuses on one medium a month to encourage artistic expression including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture. Youth artists whose work shows improvement and promise in their age group are placed in competition at local and regional exhibits. A panel of judges selects works for inclusion in the National Fine Arts Exhibit, which is displayed at Boys & Girls Clubs of America events.

Boys & Girls Clubs’ ImageMakers Photography program teaches youth the art and science of photography designed to help Club members go beyond taking simple snapshots on their phones and develop the skills to produce impactful photographs.

The Clubs’ What’s Your Vision? program challenges youth to identify an opportunity to solve a problem, then design a business or product around their idea. The program introduces youth to the entrepreneurial spirit, business ethics, planning and research, development and design, marketing, finances, and presentation skills.

“In our Clubs, we witness firsthand the positive impact of arts programming: it promotes and sharpens self-directed learning, problem solving, persistence, collaboration and critical thinking skills,” said Julien. “Studies show that arts education helps students master other subjects such as reading, math and social studies as well.”

Find out more about programming at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale by visiting www.bgcs.org.

First local Super Smash Bros Ultimate tournament to be held at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Vestar Branch

Bravous eSports is hosting the first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament in the Valley on Saturday, December 8 at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Vestar Branch in north Phoenix.  Nintendo’s much-anticipated Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be released Friday, December 7. Event registration is free of charge.

“Being able to say that the first tournament of its kind was held at one of our Clubs is very exciting,” said Curt McReynolds, BGCS Chief Operating Officer. “It’s not only a great way to introduce our kids and teens to something brand new, but also an opportunity to get the community in our Club doors.”

There are 128 spots available for registration. Four of the 10 top-ranked players in Arizona will be at the event competing. One match of each round will be shown on a screen for the audience to view. Competitors will play with GameCube controllers through the Nintendo Switch on monitors.

“We are excited to partner with Boys and Girls Club,” said Scott Novis, founder of Bravous eSports. Our goal is to not only throw a great tournament, but to create an environment where players can come together and connect with other people in their community who share their passion for video games.”

In addition to the competition, there will be food trucks and a coffee vendor at the tournament. Attendees will also be able to purchase merchandise from multiple vendors, with potential giveaways.

EVENT DETAILS

Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Vestar Branch

3975 E. Lockwood Dr.

Phoenix, AZ 85050

Visit bravous.com to register for the tournament and to find out more about upcoming clinics and leagues.