Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Aug. 05

Tuba City welcomes Boys & Girls Club

TUBA CITY-- The Boys & Girls Club of the Dine Nation opened its second club here July 19 and will follow with two more by the end of the month at Crownpoint and Tohatchi.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. skipped part of the Navajo Nation Council's summer session in order to attend the opening, saying he didn't want to disappoint the youth. He was in Washington, D.C., on July 21 when the Crownpoint club grand opening occurred.

"I know we wouldn't be here today if not for teamwork," the president told some 75 youth, parents and grandparents who came for the grand opening. "It's about having respect for one another, having an attitude of 'what can I do on behalf of one child?'"

The president told the youth that it doesn't do anyone any good to say that something can't be done, such as the opening of a club like this.

"We have to get involved," he said. "That's the only way to bring services to our communities. I know that working together will get you there."

Shirley told Kenneth Nez, Tuba City program supervisor for the

Department of Youth and a former Navajo Nation Council delegate, that because Tuba City was generous with its facilities, a Boys & Girls Club was being established.

"I'm really happy about it," Nez said. "Our facility was shut down by

Environment Health. But I'm really proud of my staff. It's going to make everything so much better."

Nez said he expects as many as 100 youth a day to use the new club. He said the club received a grant of $50,000 from the national Boys & Girls Club of America. Other money was used to purchase computers.

On opening day, 20 young people played pool, foosball, and watched television on a big screen. Nez said work on the club is not finished and will include a sauna, weight lifting room, aerobics room and dancing area.

"Our youth and our grandchildren are very important and we need to recognize and be cognizant of the challenge facing them every day," Shirley said. "In 10 to 15 years, they're the ones who will be in charge."

Shirley recognized the work of Marilyn King-Johnson, director of the Department of Youth in the Division of Education, who now oversees the development of the clubs, as well as Michele Morris, Spencer Willie and Lamont Yazzie of the Navajo Nation Expansion Office.

Former Tuba City Council Delegate James Bilagody served as master of ceremonies.

Brother and sister Megan and Bill Butler performed classical music on the piano. Lil1 Miss Western Yvette Shorty and Miss Western Teen Tisheena Tisi also entertained. Former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald spoke in place of his daughter, Hope MacDonald-Lonetree, who could not attend because of the Navajo Nation Council session.

The president distributed shoes donated by Nike and tickets to the Phoenix Mercuries. After a meal, Nez escorted the president on a tour of the newly renovated facility.

For more information, call Boys & Girls Club of Dine Nation at 928-871-6534/6518.

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