Editorial: Navajo Boys and Girls Club finally reopens

"We said we would like nothing more than for the Navajo Nation to prove us wrong, and Thursday nation officials did exactly that.

After almost three years of bureaucratic red tape, the Shiprock Boys and Girls Club opened its doors again.

The club celebrated its grand reopening last Thursday with children, parents, and, to the young attendees' delight, cake. Close to 150 people came to the ceremony, from local Program Manager Wetona Becenti and Unit Director Cassandra Tsosie to Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr.

"Children need a place to go after school," Shirley said. "We're doing everything we can to meet some needs. Sometimes we come up short, but we're doing everything we can."

He compared the Navajo Nation to a giant oak tree, saying that growth may be slow, but it is steady.

Shiprock was the first club to open on the reservation, and Thursday it became the seventh to reopen.

All 14 clubs were closed in 2004 amid allegations that Boys and Girls Club of Navajo, Inc. mismanaged federal dollars. The non-profit organization's charter was revoked and, in early 2005, the Navajo Nation leadership took over, receiving its own charter from the Boys and Girls Club of America under the Navajo Nation Department of Youth.

"It was a sad day when the doors of this facility closed," Shiprock Chapter President Duane "Chili" Yazzie said. "It was a very active place. I'm very happy this day has finally come.""

Get the Story:
Editorial: A day to remember: Shiprock Boys, Girls Club opens once again (The Farmington Daily Times 4/30)

Relevant Links:
Boys and Girls Clubs in Indian Country - http://www.naclubs.org

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