Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)’s Native Service Unit (NSU) was proud to attend and contribute to the 2018 BGCA National Conference in San Diego, California from Wednesday, May 2 to Friday, May 5. The NSU, led by Vice President Carla Knapp, facilitated a Native track for all Native Club attendees to attend. The session discussed new opportunities specific to Native Clubs, best practices for youth development professionals, and solutions for challenges found in the community.

The NSU’s exhibit booth at BGCA National Conference allowed for information about Native Clubs, support offered from BGCA Native Services, toolkits, and other culturally relevant programs adapted for Native youth to be shared with interested attendees. The exhibit booth allowed for attendees to gain an understanding on the importance of culturally based programming, and receive information needed to serve Native youth at their Clubs.

During the Conference, the NSU and the Native Advisory Committee (NAC) were able to meet to update their strategic plan and vision for Boys & Girls Clubs on Native Lands. NAC is composed of 14 Boys & Girls Club CEOs who provide leadership and insight on Native history, tradition, cultures, and values. Several special guests were in attendance such as Wilbur Woodis, Senior Policy Analyst for External Affairs at Indian Health Service, and Katherine Campbell, Program Analyst Office of Research, Policy and Post-Secondary at Bureau of Indian Education. Ernie Stevens, Chairman for National Indian Gaming Association was also in attendance. Ernie was the second Native American inducted to the BGC Alumni Hall of Fame for his consistency and commitment to Native Clubs.

The 2018 BGCA National Conference was an exciting opportunity for Club staff from all over the country to gather together to reflect on achievements and accomplishments made over the last year, celebrate current partnerships, and continue to plan for the future of service to our youth.