Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias takes Farmersville, Ivanhoe teens to Washington D.C.
VISALIA – Washington D.C. might be a divisive place when it comes to politics but not when it comes to investing the country’s youth.
In June, eight teens from Ivanhoe and Farmersville came together to take an unforgettable trip to the nation’s capital through the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias (BGCS). The group consisted of CEO Galen Quenzer, Unit Directors Star Ramos and Christian Cervantes, and eight members, ages 13 to 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.
“Selected youth have demonstrated leadership qualities, participate in community service, and have a desire to learn and understand the world outside of their community,” Quenzer said. “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’s 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.
Quenzer thanked all the donors and supporters who made this trip possible, including Robert Allen, Ivanhoe Lions Club, Bob and Norma Kay Line, Soroptimist International of Visalia, and Dustin and Alena Stewart.
“Thank you to the following donors for investing in the education and future success of our Farmersville and Ivanhoe Club members,” Quenzer said. “You have helped create an unforgettable and impactful experience that will inspire for a lifetime.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias is focused on helping all young people, especially those who need us most, become responsible, caring and productive members of society. Boys & Girls Clubs were established in Tulare County in the 1990s when Exeter and Visalia community leaders responded to the need for a positive place for local youth to spend free time after school. Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias provides services at 15 clubs throughout Tulare County. Clubs provide a wide span of activities for local youth, varying from STEM to sports. www.bgcsequoias.org.