Join the YDT Community!

Did you know that the YD Toolbox app has a BUILT IN COMMUNITY???? You can get to the YDT Community online or through the Social button on the home page of the YD Toolbox app, which looks like this: There are two separate forums right now, one for Supervisors and one for Youth Development Professionals, although... Continue Reading →

High-Quality Activity Ideas from Models of Excellence

Today’s guest post is from Valerie Heron-Duranti, Director of Innovation & Creativity at BGCA.  Models of Excellence: The Center for High Quality Student Work is a collaborative project between Expeditionary Learning Schools and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It is a curated, open source collection of incredible high-quality Pre K-12th grade student projects to inspire... Continue Reading →

Free Printable STEM Posters

Looking for some new art for your program areas? One of my favorite websites, A Mighty Girl, has free printable posters celebrating pioneering women in Science. They are absolutely beautiful, and include NASA astronaut Mae Jemison, keynote speaker at BGCA's 2017 National Conference! A Mighty Girl not only links to the posters, but gives a... Continue Reading →

8 Creative Member Work Displays

A new year is upon us! Time to start fresh and do all the things we know we should do. Like drink so much water, start running marathons, and eat broccoli at every meal. LOL SURE. One simple way we can hit the reset button is by refreshing our program spaces at the Club! This... Continue Reading →

2017 In Review!

2017 has been both the fastest and the SLOWEST  year of all time. But it has been a GREAT year for Boys & Girls Clubs! In 2017 the Movement has grown and strengthened, and incredible things are happening in Clubs across the country. And this little 'ol blog began! The Club Experience Blog has been... Continue Reading →

Star Wars STEM Activities!

Like everyone else right now, we at the Club Experience Blog (well, let's be honest this is 100% certified nerd Sarah speaking) have STAR WARS FEVER! https://giphy.com/gifs/cheezburger-dancing-star-wars-jd6TVgsph6w7e It is always fun when we can bring the things our members are loving in pop culture into our programming in creative ways, which is why I was... Continue Reading →

Club Story: Cowboy Ethics

Boys & Girls Clubs set high standards, not just for members, but for their communities. By adopting and developing programming around the Cowboy Ethics Code of the West, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming have had a HUGE impact that spread state-wide. I recently spoke with Sara Beth Lyon, the Cowboy Ethics Outreach Coordinator, to... Continue Reading →

Club Story: M&M’s Reminders

I recently came across a SWEET management reminder tool from Tiffany Boley, Unit Director at the William Dawson Soaring Eagles Unit of Boys & Girls Clubs of Gadsden/Etowah County in Alabama. She graciously agreed to share it with us on the Club Experience Blog! Can you tell me a little about your Club? How long... Continue Reading →

9 Winter STEM Activities (And 1 BONUS Activity)

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THAT IT IS ALREADY WINTER?!?!?!?! https://giphy.com/gifs/television-dancing-HyTm2emO8ACfC This year has gone by so fast, but a new season and a new month means new activity planning! We've already talked about the importance of STEM activities for our members, and with the cold weather that winter brings, fun indoor programming is even more important... Continue Reading →

Club Story: Cooking Up Success!

Boys & Girls Clubs offer unique opportunities for our members to be successful. Today I bring you a conversation I had with Heather Peterson from Boys & Girls Clubs of Lac Courte Orielles, one of the first Boys & Girls Clubs on a Native American Reservation. One of their members recently won a national Boys... Continue Reading →

Club Story: Observing Children’s Grief Awareness Day

This guest post is from Kendra Williams-Calhoun, Unit Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harlan County in Kentucky. It is second in a two-part series for Children's Grief Awareness Day. When we think about grief as adults, we tend to think about sadness, sorrow, pain, and suffering. Now stop… https://giphy.com/gifs/peteandpete-season-3-the-adventures-of-pete-and-l0Nvr0QqmtpiizdhC   Think about all... Continue Reading →

Native American Games to Play in YOUR Club!

Today's guest post is from Christian Weaver of BGCA's Native Services Unit. Indigenous people have always found creative ways to stay active and entertained.  Traditional games were great ways to do that as they promoted movement and created a vehicle for communities to come together and fellowship.  In some communities, games were played during bitter... Continue Reading →

Family Matters

Just admit it. You TOTALLY heard this in your head when you read that headline. (Did I just age myself? That's ok. I am proud to be a part of the TGIF generation!) Here at BGCA, we do a ton of research into what makes for a great Club Experience. What we've discovered is that... Continue Reading →

Club Story: A Vision of Family

I am thrilled to bring you a conversation I recently had with Floretta Robinson, Club Director at THE PLAYERS Championship Unit of Boys & Girls Clubs of North Florida, located in wonderful, glorious St. Augustine. (Which, full disclosure, holds a VERY SPECIAL place in my heart as I graduated from Flagler College and then worked... Continue Reading →

Plan for National STEM Day!

DID YOU KNOW that November 8 is National STEM Day? This is a great opportunity to do activities or host a special event that highlights Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at your Club! We know that STEM careers are growing at double the rate of non-STEM careers, and that they pay nearly 30 percent more.... Continue Reading →

Webinar: Supporting LGBTQ Youth

This month's Culture of Wellness Webinar is on supporting LGBTQ youth in your Club. Here's the description: Boys & Girls Clubs have a responsibility to provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for ALL youth, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Join us for tips and best practices on creating an inclusive... Continue Reading →

Dominoes Activity Ideas

Do you have a set or two of dominoes in your Club? There are a lot of different activities you can do with them! Here are just a few from Pinterest: It is super easy to use dominoes to play math games. Here are some ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/668854982130767492/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/668854982130767503/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/668854982130114959/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/668854982130767470/ I know my members' favorite... Continue Reading →

The Mood Meter

This guest post is from Rachel Greene-Wilbur, Director of Gender & Well Being at BGCA. Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions every single day. However, sometimes youth have a hard time explaining or understanding their current mood. The Mood Meter is a very useful tool to help youth label how they are feeling, build... Continue Reading →

What Do We Measure? The Five Key Elements

So this blog is called The Club Experience Blog, but what does that mean?  Where does that come from? https://giphy.com/gifs/robert-downey-jr-question-excellent-dXICCcws9oxxK We have lots of different ways that we gather feedback from Club members, both informally and formally. One of the formal ways is the National Youth Outcomes Initiative, or NYOI. The NYOI is an annual... Continue Reading →

Club Story: Color Run

This guest post is by Jennifer Davide from the Cheney Family Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. When you add a whole bunch of kids, sunshine, and passionate staff, what do you get?? A pretty darn good summer. Now add a Color Run with a water slide and you’ve got memories to... Continue Reading →

Open-Ended Questions: What’s In Your Back Pocket?

This guest post is from Crystal Brown, Senior Director of Gender & Well-Being at BGCA. Have you ever asked a Club member a question and they provided you with an answer that gave you little to no information? https://giphy.com/gifs/30-rock-sme-how-do-you-1Qdp4trljSkY8 Questions like, “How are you?” or “Do you like coming to the Club?” will typically result... Continue Reading →

“In Their Own Words”: NEW BGCA Video!

At Boys & Girls Clubs, our members are our HIGHEST priority. It is reflected in our mission: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Our members are literally the reason that we exist. That is why it is *so important* that we... Continue Reading →

Webinar: Play Breaks!

All year, BGCA has offered a Culture of Wellness webinar series, and it has been GREAT. Each one is about half an hour long, and topics include social and emotional development models, nutrition and health standards, and physical safety. On Tuesday, September 19 the topic is Play Breaks! Here is the description: How do you... Continue Reading →

Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

TED Talks are short, powerful speeches, delivered without the use of notes, with the goal of spreading ideas. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but now the talks cover a wide variety of topics. They are generally 20 minutes or less, and are GREAT tools to use whether with youth or with staff or... Continue Reading →

Club Story: The Notebook

This guest post is from Monika Keenan, Branch Director at the Pigeon Forge Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains.  In the midst of our hectic days, sometimes it’s hard to see the individual kid through the crowd.  Then something happens and that one kid makes all the noise, chaos, and confusion... Continue Reading →

Link Roundup: Water Balloon Games!

Before we lose the blessed warmth of the summer months, here are some ideas for games to play outdoors with water balloons! They are perfect for a Power Hour celebration, a Friday afternoon, or a non-school day. Using milk jugs is a great tip! At the link, the blogger also gives some other ideas including... Continue Reading →

Weekly Inspiration Board

In my Education room at Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, I wanted to come up with a way to keep my decor fresh without a lot of effort. Plus there is just *so much information* I wanted to share with my members. So what I came up with was what I called... Continue Reading →

Fidget Spinner Games- Link Roundup!

If you are like me, you are thinking WHERE IN THE WORLD DID THIS FIDGET SPINNER CRAZE COME FROM????? http://gph.is/1gsWDcL If you are also like me, you have largely banned fidget spinners in your Club. BUT, stick with me for just a second, what if we could harness their mystical power for good? http://gph.is/28PLiGt Here... Continue Reading →

Visualizing Goal Tracking

I am not an artsy person. I know it's hard to believe what with this amazing blog and all (wink wink), but I am just not. One of my least favorite things both in my classroom when I was teaching and in my program area at the Club was creating bulletin boards. Luckily, there are... Continue Reading →

Activity Idea: Guess Who Cards

Since this is the start of a new school year, and many Clubs may have new members or your groups may have combined/changed, here is a GREAT activity to help members get to know each other and have some fun in the process! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/668854982130114786/ Direct Link: http://shelleygrayteaching.com/time-filler-idea-guess-who-cards/ What other get to know you games have you... Continue Reading →

It’s the Youth Development Toolbox!

Have you downloaded the Youth Development Toolbox app yet? If you haven't, GO DO IT RIGHT NOW. I'M SO SERIOUS. IT'S AMAZING. Here are the links: Apple Store Android This app is going to be your go-to resource for all kinds of practical, easy to implement activities and strategies in your Club. We've had some... Continue Reading →

Welcome!

When I was working as Education Director at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains, I was constantly scouring the EVERYWHERE for activity ideas and suggestions and anything else I could find. Working at the Club was unlike anything I'd done before, and particularly different than my former life as a middle school teacher.... Continue Reading →

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