Nearly 50 members at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCGS) came together in April for a 24-hour lock-in that addressed diversity, tolerance and acceptance among teenagers. The PROUD Lock-In, which took place at the organization’s Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch located in Arcadia, hosted teens selected from BGCGS’ various locations, including: Lehi, Red Mountain, Rose Lane, The Thunderbirds, Vestar and Virginia G. Piper Branches. The overnight event was filled with team building activities and touched on various stereotypes and discrimination.
“The PROUD Lock-In really breaks down barriers in a way these teens haven’t experienced before,” said Beethoven Felix, teen development supervisor at the Barker Branch. “It’s a fun, but very emotional experience that exposes them to situations to help broaden their understanding of each other. By the end of the 24-hours everyone is extremely close.”
The PROUD Lock-In is an extension of the Barker Branch’s ongoing teen PROUD Program, which stands for People Respecting Others’ Unique Differences, and was started by a Club member nearly 10 years ago. Recognizing the vast diversity of the branches that make up BGCGS – which service youth from Fountain Hills to Mesa and include the Salt Pima Indian Reservation – the PROUD Lock-In is open to all branches in order to give teens a chance to interact with those from different racial, cultural and economic backgrounds.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary throughout 2014, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale empowers 17,800 youth of all ages and backgrounds to develop the qualities needed to reach their full potential as productive, responsible citizens. The Club provides a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship and athletics, and over 100 high-impact youth development programs during critical non-school hours. Clubs are located in cities and on Native American lands in the greater Scottsdale area and promote academic success, positive character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. For more information, visit www.bcgs.org.