This past June, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias (BGCS) took eight Club members on an unforgettable trip to Washington D.C. The group consisted of CEO Galen Quenzer, Unit Directors Star Ramos and Christian Cervantes, and eight members, ages 13-18, of the Ivanhoe and Farmersville Boys & Girls Clubs. The trip served as an educational and inspirational reward for these high-achieving Club members.
These members have been very involved with the Boys & Girls Club for multiple years. They were selected for this trip by their Unit Directors based on their merits of leadership and civil service. CEO Galen Quenzer explains, “Selected youth have demonstrated leadership qualities, participate in community service, and have a desire to learn and understand the world outside of their community. They are inquisitive, they aspire to make a difference in their communities, and they are interested in exploring future career options. Staff believe this experience may provide a spark and motivation to work towards a bright future.”
BGCS took these members to visit Washington D.C. in hopes of expanding their world view—encouraging them to visualize great achievements and life experiences for themselves. The organization also aims to inspire their members to make a difference in their own community by helping them understand our democratic government and one’s own personal responsibility within it. Lastly, it is also BGCS’ goal to increase Club members’ motivation to learn and help them understand the importance of education.
In preparation for the D.C. trip, members were educated on all they would be visiting. They discussed the impact of the following topics and influential figures: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr, World War II, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and much more. They also learned about the basics of the U.S. government and how it differs from other governments around the world. Additionally, members prepared for the portion of their trip where they would be meeting with Congressman Devin Nunes and his staff to advocate for their position on an issue of their choice. They prepared by agreeing on a current federal issue, researching the issue from all sides, and adopting a position to advocate for with their representative in Congress.
The group spent four days in D.C. and dedicated their time to seeing and learning as much as possible. They visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, the National Archives, Ford’s Theater, the White House, the Supreme Court, Union Station, the Senate Office buildings, the Supreme Court building, the Capitol building, the Library of Congress, and several memorials and monuments.
Last but not least, they put their research and planning into action by meeting Congressman Devin Nunes and staff, and advocating for legislation allowing for permanent legalization and pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” or beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in the United States.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias would like to recognize all the donors and supporters who made this trip possible, saying, “Thank you to the following donors for investing in the education and future success of our Farmersville and Ivanhoe Club members: Robert Allen, Ivanhoe Lions Club, Bob & Norma Kay Line, Soroptimist International of Visalia, and Dustin & Alena Stewart. You have helped create an unforgettable and impactful experience that will inspire for a lifetime.”