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Oakhurst BGC: Step Up, Clean Up, Speak Up

Submitted by Peggy Decker, Unit Director of the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club

OAKHURST – Back in December, the Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club mixed Christmas decorations, apple cider, red licorice, red grapes, green grapes, pizzas, candy canes, cookies, presents and cheer. Also add 77 great kids, some families and a Yosemite Dance Company recital. What you get is an epic party at the BGC!

Thank you to everyone who helped our Club and its members this holiday season, including a huge thanks to Toys for Tots and the Oakhurst Senior Center for their gift drives, and to Yosemite Dance Co. for their gift of free dance classes for Club members leading up to the recital. It was so wonderful.

Dec 2013 BGC dance recital Yosemite Dance CoThe Oakhurst BGC was closed from Dec. 21 through Jan. 5 for break. Back in business afterwards, the Yosemite High School (YHS) Boys Varsity basketball Team decided to lend a hand with volunteer hours, and started coming into the Club for an hour on Mondays to help out.

The b-ball boys really stepped up: they are a big help and huge hit with our members. The kids love to go play basketball with the big guys and have a blast doing it.

Jan 2014 YHS Basketball Varsity volunteers at BGCThe high school players split their talents evenly, and the sportsmanship and fun on the court is evident. It’s a win-win for all: the YHS guys get credit at school for volunteer hours, the BGC members learn valuable sports skills and get exercise, and everyone has fun.

On Monday, Jan. 13, the BGC held our Martin Luther King, Jr. “Day of Service” event (MLK Day). Activities at the Club included an educational discussion about MLK Day, an hour long Oakhurst Parkway Creek cleanup (which our members performed with the YHS Varsity Boys Basketball Team) a mock protest against issues that our members face daily, and ended with an impromptu basketball game with the YHS team and our own Club members.

Jan 2014 MLK Day at BGCIt was an educational, empowering, and motivational day at the Club. The kids worked together with each other and others from outside their Club, gave back to their community, and also realized it is okay to speak out if they think they are being treated unfairly. A great event and a good time was shared by all who attended.

On Thursday night, Jan. 16, this year’s local BGC Youth of the Year (YOY) candidate Savannah Vaught competed in the Fresno County YOY Competition in Clovis. Savannah, 15, is a Freshman at YHS. She has been practicing, competing, and representing the Club since September, and it was her night to shine and speak up. Along with seven other candidates from other Boys and Girls Clubs in Fresno County, Savannah did a Q & A round robin for an hour with judges, and then delivered a three minute speech in front of a crowd of about 100.

Jan 2014 BGC SavannahSavannah did an amazing job representing herself, her Club, and her community. It has been a pleasure working with her for several months and watching her mature as an individual, on so many different levels. We could not have asked for a better representative, and we are so proud of her! Watch for an awards banquet for the YOY competition in May. Meanwhile, Savannah will be representing the Club at various functions throughout the year. Congratulations to Savannah on her excellent performance.

On Friday, Jan. 24, the “Books for Bikes” fall/winter competition wrapped up at the Club. BGC members have been reading since the start of the school year in hopes of winning two brand new HUFFY bikes! Our winners for this first round were Samuel Montanez receiving the boys bike, after reading a total of 2,502 pages since mid-August, and his sister Serafina Montanez winning the girls bike. Serafina read a total of 2,293 pages. Our runner-up was Redbird Lapman, who read 624 pages total and received a gift card.

BGC kidsIt’s a great way to get kids into reading and keep them reading. New bikes are a big motivator, and it helps we have a fantastic in-house library here at the Club with hundreds of books that any member can utilize.

A new “Books for Bikes Winter/Spring” Competition will kick off immediately, and two more brand new Huffy bikes will be given away at the end of the school year. Reading logs for the competition are available at the Club, and it is open to all BGC members.

That same afternoon, the Sierra Rotary Club dropped off a truckload of new backpacks full of awesome goodies to our BGC Members.

Rotary dropped off backpacks for kids at the BGCWe are so thankful, and the kids are so excited. They couldn’t have been delivered at a better time, we’re halfway through the school year and school supplies for these kids are running low. It was a Friday full of big smiles and lots of very happy, giggling kids.

For more information, contact the Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club.

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