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Members at the Boys and Girls of Detroit Lakes make weekly visits to Diamond Willow Assisted Living to play bingo with the residents. Not only do the students look forward to the trips, so do the elderly residents.
Members at the Boys and Girls of Detroit Lakes make weekly visits to Diamond Willow Assisted Living to play bingo with the residents. Not only do the students look forward to the trips, so do the elderly residents.

Boys & Girls Club 'Big Bash' is set for March 20

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

DETROIT LAKES - Still riding the wave of a record-setting Polar Plunge, the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes is bringing back programs, enhancing already established programs, bonding with the older generation and preparing for one heck of a Big Bash.

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Big Bash

The 10th annual Big Bash is going for a more relaxed feel this year.

Scheduled for Friday, March 20 in the Historic Holmes Ballroom, the Big Bash will feature catering by The Convent on Reeves, including hot crab dip, smoked salmon, cheesecake, brown sugar pecan shortbread cookies, lime sugar cookies, veggie kabobs and many more food choices.

Social hour begins at 6 p.m., a program follows at 7, and a live auction begins at 8:30 p.m. A silent auction will take place throughout the evening. Showtyme DJ will be providing the music.

Tickets are $25 per person, or sponsorship tables of eight people are available for $250. Tickets are available at the Boys and Girls Club or by calling 847-5700.

"We're going for a laid back atmosphere this year," Executive Director Pat Petermann said.

Instead of a keynote speaker, this year will feature the kids from the club -- singing, speaking, reading a poem and parent testimonials.

"Let's just do something focused on the kids, focused on the club," Petermann said of the format.

On this year's live auction, items include a WE Fest VIP package, two tickets with Allegiant Air from Fargo to Orlando and more. The silent auction items include golf packages, meal packages, tickets to Red Hawks, Fargo Force and Twins games, jewelry and more.

"It'll be good food, good times," Petermann said.

Mentoring program

With the help of a $20,000 grant through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Boys and Girls Club will be able to enhance its already-in-place mentoring program.

"We're enhancing it through getting more teens and adults involved through the Power Hour," Petermann explained.

Power Hour is when older student and mentors help the younger students with schooling.

"We're very fortunate to get that grant because of cuts," he said. "Grants are getting harder and harder to get, so I was surprised we got it."

The $20,000 is distributed over a six month-to-one year period of time, rather than in a lump sum. Development reports are submitted about the mentoring program, and then money is distributed.

The main mentoring program this will benefit coincides with the workforce development grant.

"We train staff and teens and volunteers to become mentors to our younger kids at the club," Petermann said.

The program gives the younger kids someone to guide them, reach goals, make good choices, etc.

"That's how it will be enhanced," he added.

Targeted Services

Monday through Thursday each week, two teachers from the Detroit Lakes School District come over to the Boys and Girls Club from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to help students with their homework.

"They meet the kids wherever they are (academically)," Youth Development Director Tahnee Moe said.

Targeted Services is also offered in the school, and this is the same program. The Boys and Girls Club used to have Targeted Services, but was switched to a similar Power Hour. It's now back to Targeted Services, with help from the school.

"We decided to join forces and work with the school," Program Director Stacy Heinlein said.

Another pairing with the school system comes with the Area Learning Center.

Moe spends time at the ALC, hosting several topics including Career Lunch, Money Matters, Smart Moves and Goals for Graduation. Smart Moves talks about avoiding drugs and alcohol, Money Matters teaches the basics about having a savings account and checking account, and Career Lunch goes over how to write a resume and cover letter and how to get a job.

Moe also works with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club on those same topics.

On Wednesdays, Heinlein works with the students at the school on a program called Nutrition, Exercise and Well Being, courtesy of a grant through the Dakota Medical Foundation.

Heinlein said she works with the teacher at the school to coordinate the exercise portion, then she talks about nutrition, reading food labels, anything tied to well being. Then comes the fun, with some physical activities like kickball, curling, etc.

Both program started at the beginning of this year, and may end when the quarter does, although Heinlein and Moe agree they'd like to continue them.

"I would like to, depends on the kids and how much changes on their end," Heinlein said of the teachers.

Bridging generation

It started out with crafts and reading, but now it's all bingo, all the time.

"We just came up with the idea. We always like to find ways to connect two different generations," Diamond Willow Community Relations Coordinator Debi Zastrow said.

On Thursdays, kids from the club venture over to Diamond Willow to play bingo with the residents at the assisted living facility.

"Just bringing them together -- that socialization of generations," Moe said.

Kids call out the bingo numbers and play with the residents as well. More so though, they bond with the residents, seeing that it's not scary to go into an elderly folks' home, Moe explained.

"They love it," she said of both the kids and the Diamond Willow residents. "They look forward to us coming over each week."

Zastrow agrees.

"Our residents absolutely love, love, love it," she said. She added that residents wake up on Thursdays and ask right away if this is the day the kids come over to play bingo.

"We're very proud of the Boys and Girls Club, and to have a facility like this in Detroit Lakes. We're honored to indirectly be a part of that," Zastrow added.

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