Submitted by Peggy Decker, Unit Director of the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club
OAKHURST – Our Boys and Girls Club (BGC) members had a very busy and exciting Valentine’s Day at the Club this year, with Yosemite Park Ranger Christine Raines coming to the Club for our first of four Junior Ranger Program classes!
This was a great opportunity for the kids to find out about the beautiful and amazing National Park we have right outside our back door! Our members will be learning about the plants, animals, geology, climate, along with all the adventures they can have up there.
The Junior Ranger Program is a four part series spanning through October and is part of the 150th Anniversary of Yosemite National Park Grant program. We were very lucky to be one of the sites they chose for the program.
During this session the kids focused primarily on our local wildlife, and were able to feel and touch about 15 or pelts, including the elusive mountain lion. The were able to see and touch models of animal skulls, and “real life” deer antlers. They all really enjoyed the material and hands-on aspects of the presentation, and can’t wait until April for their next class.
After the presentation, BGC members had fun exchanging valentines and eating heart-shaped cookies and pink punch. A lovable and educational Valentine’s Day was shared by all at our very own BGC!
On Feb. 11 and 25, Oakhurst BGC members had a fantastic afternoon learning new role play, as well as other new board games. Gamer Clay Gilpin was volunteering his time through BGC Fresno County, and taught our members exciting new games, skills, and ideas which they immensely enjoyed.
Working individually and together, using new gaming pieces and many-sided dice, the kids beat dragons, spiders, and other magical foe to accomplish goals in a game called “Pathfinder.” This experience and new material was a huge hit with quite a few of our members. Many already knew about these games, but not necessarily how to play them or get started.
Clay has bridged that gap and soon the kids will be independent enough in their skills to game on their own. I think it will bring hours of enjoyment and fun, and they’ll be learning how to work together to achieve common goals. That is a great skill to have, in general. Clay will be returning again in March to continue teaching our members new skills and games.
On Feb. 24, our Youth of the Year (YOY) contestant Ms. Savannah Vaught was invited to a dinner at BJ’s Brewery & Steakhouse in Fresno, to receive her first award for competing in the contest. Savannah and seven contestants from BGC Fresno County were all awarded a $300 scholarship check from the Briscoe family, along with professional portfolio pictures from the competition, and a box of See’s candy.
Savannah has been an amazing, professional, and poised candidate since she started this process back in September 2013. We have been very lucky to have such a great contestant to represent our Club. Savannah, a freshman at Yosemite High School, plans to put the money in her college saving account. She plans to one day study art abroad in Japan, and hopefully become proficient in the manga art form.
Coming in March at the BGC we have a “Lock It Up!” pharmaceutical drug presentation, as well as BGC Week! Check our Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club FB or stop by the Club for dates and event calendars. Stay safe out there and everyone enjoy our early Spring!