Welcome to Native American Heritage Month – and the celebration of twenty years of Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country! Over the next four weeks, we’ll spotlight some of the issues our tribal youth face, and the creative and inspiring ways in which our Clubs are rising to address those challenges that demonstrate wonderful spirit, resilience, and sense of community.
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Band
The Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe homeland consists of 76,000 acres of reservation land in Hayward, Wis. There are about 7,000 enrolled tribal members, 2,600 of whom live on or near the reservation. Poverty is the biggest issue for the LCO Band; unemployment is around 70% and brings a host of other problems such as substance abuse and health issues.
Club members from Boys & Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Band.
However, the Boys & Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Band is out to change those statistics for the next generation. Members had a terrific time including the "BE GREAT" theme with their summer fun! Club members rode on a float in their local parade. The theme for the float, "Opening the Door to the Next 20 Years in Indian County," came from Club staff's experience at BGCA’s 106th Annual National Conference in May.
Linda Wiltse is BGCA's vice president of Program & Youth Development Services.
Club members also painted ceiling tiles describing what BE GREAT means to them. They want everyone who enters the building to know that a "GREAT Future Starts Here!" During the Club's National Night Out, over 100 community members and Club families participated. The summer ended with a community event called "Healing Field, Finding Common Ground” to pay tribute to the strength of their community while they continue to find common ground between natives and non-natives.