Charro Foundation grant helps ensure youth stay active
“As a Charro, we are thankful to be able to help Boys & Girls Clubs to be able to provide affordable sports programs including volleyball, basketball and flag football for over 4,000 youth in our community.”– Mark Hiegel, Scottsdale Charros
When school is out—children need a place to go.
Founded in 1860 as a national entity with an Arizona footprint since 1946, the Boys & Girls Club model has been giving young people constructive, positive environments in American communities since the 19th Century.
The national entity and its corps of local chapters — all of which are 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organizations—operate as a Congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code with headquarters stationed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Here in Arizona, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale are meeting the charge of the national effort.
“Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale is dedicated to preparing youth for great futures with programming focused on academics, advocacy, leadership, imagination, creativity, and healthy habits,” said Robyn Julien, CEO Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.
“Our goal is to produce well-rounded, dynamic individuals who are ready to become 21st Century leaders, globally competitive graduates, innovative dream-makers and healthy game-changers.”
For more than a century the Boys & Girls Clubs have been there for young people — and in the City of Scottsdale many call the community hub essential.
“When school is out, we are in. How kids spend their time out of school significantly impacts their lives,” Ms. Julien said.
“Between the unstructured hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and during school breaks, many kids are left to find their own forms of supervision and recreation. Studies show this ‘always connected’ generation reports increased feelings of anxiety, sedentary lifestyles and rising obesity rates. Kids and teens need to be active and engaged in real relationships not found on a screen.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention nearly a quarter of American children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are living an unhealthy lifestyle:
- The prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
- Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
- Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22.0%) had higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%).
- Non-Hispanic Asians (11.0%) had lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
The CDS defines obesity as a body mass index at or above the 95th national percentile.
To combat this discerning trends of unhealthy behaviors the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale offer myriad physical activities and organized sports for club members.
“We offer Club leagues for volleyball, basketball, flag football, and new last year we started offering the First Tee golf program,” Ms. Julien explained of programs offered.
“We also offer competitive leagues for families seeking a more challenging sports opportunities. For our kids, it’s not about being on a school team, it’s about being healthy and active. Our Club sports programs promote teamwork, healthy choices and emotional intelligence.”
But offering those kinds of programs cost, cold-hard cash, and without community and charitable support, Boys & Girls Club officials contend the constructive, positive environments offered would not exist.
The Charro connection
The Scottsdale Charros—through The Charro Foundation—provided the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale a $75,000 grant to ensure year-round youth sports leagues are offered to club members.
“As a Charro, we are thankful to be able to help Boys & Girls Clubs to be able to provide affordable sports programs including volleyball, basketball and flag football for over 4,000 youth in our community,” said Scottsdale Charro Mark Hiegel, who also serves on the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Club.
“Making sure we provide a safe place for thousands of local youth to learn and grow is very gratifying.”
Throughout the calendar year, made possible in part due to The Charro Foundation, the local Scottsdale Boys & Girls Club offers:
- Basketball—four seasons, year-round at seven local club sites.
- Flag football—during fall at the McKee branch in Fountain Hills.
- Soccer—during the fall at the Barker branch.
- Volleyball—throughout the fall, winter and spring at the Thunderbirds and Vestar branches.
“Boys & Girls Clubs sports programming not only provides physical activity that many kids are missing out on today, but also promotes teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship,” Mr. Hiegel said. “The Clubs are a positive youth development organization focusing on developing our next generation of leaders, and we are proud to support this important organization and its mission.”
For Mr. Hiegel, he has seen first-hand the positive impacts after-school programs can have on all children.
“All kids can benefit from the Boys & Girls Club’s programming,” he said. “When school is out, kids need a place to go. Boys & Girls Clubs gives our local youth a place to get homework help and have experiences that will help shape their futures.”
Scottsdale Independent Managing Editor News Editor Terrance Thornton can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/nvnewsman.