In conjunction with Native American Heritage Month this November, leaders of nearly 50 tribes and Boys & Girls Club professionals gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz., last week for a special summit.
Great Futures in Indian Country drew more than 180 participants. A “grand entry” – a solemn processional borrowed from Native culture – opened the summit. As the tribes entered, a drum group played an honor song. Tribal flags held aloft, the procession moved clockwise, forming a circle that would not dissolve until the song was complete.
Attendees were provided with tremendous opportunities to learn, share ideas and deepen relationships. Sessions generated outside-the-box thinking and creative dialogue on how Native Clubs, and Clubs with Native sites, can deepen impact on young people and develop stronger organizations to better meet community needs.
BGCA has partnered with Native communities across the country for more than two decades. The rich tradition and culture found in these communities lends Clubs on Native Lands a unique energy.
At the same time, the needs in these communities, especially for their young people, are great. For instance, while high school graduation is a serious issue for all our youth – every year, 1 in 4 students fails to graduate – it’s even more pronounced for Native youth; only about 50 percent will graduate from high school on time.
That’s why we’re so committed to enhancing and expanding our work in Native communities – to truly reach those who need us most.
Underlying all our efforts is a deep appreciation and respect for Native culture, a commitment that the Native Club Experience continues to celebrate the distinctive way of life and history in Indian Country.