Equipping Club members with leadership skills is central to Native Boys & Girls Clubs’ goal to provide ample opportunities to build self-esteem and strengthen self-worth. Recently, the Boys & Girls Club of White Earth was able to offer one such opportunity by sending two Club Youth Peer Mentors to the Sea Research Foundation’s Peer Mentor Leadership Academy (PMLA) in Mystic, Connecticut.
Club Grants Coordinator, Tammi Nelson noted that, “Most of our youth on the Reservation do not have opportunities like this presented to them. We are motivated to provide valuable experiences to our youth that they would not otherwise have.” Youth Peer Mentors at the Club, such as those who attended the PMLA, have excelled in their leadership positions, resulting in many of the younger Club youth looking up to them for guidance and support. To further refine and develop their skills as role models, the Boys & Girls Club of White Earth seized on the opportunity to participate in the PMLA.
Through structured learning sessions and off site trips to places such as Bluff Point State Park, PMLA attendees were taught the importance of setting goals and cultivating relationships in order to be the best mentors they can be. The Youth Peer Mentors from White Earth thoroughly enjoyed the lessons, as they sharpened the invaluable social skills needed to be a great mentor.
In summarizing the powerful event, Nelson said, “Even if it was something as simple as playing ice breaker games with the youth, our mentors realized how much of a positive influence they can have on the younger participants.” Through the trip to the PMLA, Youth Peer Mentors from the Boys & Girls Clubs of White Earth were able to gain life changing experiences that have equipped them to be leaders in their Club, their community and beyond.