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News

Youth Giving Project Seeking Interns

Gregory Owens

The Youth Giving Project is a youth philanthropy program that teaches young people leadership skills and the importance of community involvement. YGP's mission is "youth funding ideas to inspire and impact their communities."  The Youth Giving Project is a collaborative program between BYI, Bozeman Area Community Foundation, and Foundant Technologies

Ten local middle and high school students will evaluate and award over $10,000 in grants to fund projects in their community that they feel represent the perspectives and values of their peers. 

Students will meet 2-3 times monthly after-school, with one meeting being a service project or site visit to learn more about local nonprofits.  Students receive a small stipend for their internship with the Youth Giving Project, as well as great skills in not only grant making, but leadership and team work. 

Applications for members of the Youth Giving Project are open until December 1st. The program runs through the end of the school year.

Here is a link for applications.  Contact ej@bozemanyouth.org with questions.

THANK YOU for helping build the next generation of philanthropists!

Bozeman Youth Initiative Programs

Gregory Owens

I know what to do when I grow up now!
— Campbell, Youth Giving Project intern

Bozeman Youth Initiative is a highly individualized mentoring program that encourages young people to make decisions, exercise real power and learn from failure in the pursuit of ideas they themselves identify as meaningful.

These are a few of the youth-driven programs young people have created with BYI in recent years:

YOUTH GIVING PROJECT

A collaboration with Foundant Technologies and the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, the Youth Giving Project is a program that helps young people develop leadership skills and experience the importance of community involvement and philanthropy.  Bozeman Youth Initiative interns solicit and review applications and choose youth-led projects to fund through a $10,000 grant from FoundantTechnologies.  2016 grants from the Youth Giving Project will be announced May 3 at 6pm at the Baxter Hotel in Bozeman at the Give Big Gallatin Valley finale celebration.

PROJECT SKATEPARK

Bozeman High students from Cassie Ubaldo's Freshman Strategies class wanted to raise awareness about issues of drugs & graffiti at Kirk Park skate park.  Bozeman Youth Initiative got together with Bozeman Parks & Recreation, Bozeman Police, several local businesses and other nonprofits to support these young people in producing an all-ages skateboarding event that included competitors ages 6-40 and from as far away as Billings.

BYI PRODUCTIONS

A youth-led production company that subverted conventional wisdom by safely producing close to 50 all-ages concerts, dances, and DJ competitions in five years with partners including Cactus Records and Chamberlin Productions.  BYI youth volunteers chose acts, promoted, and participated in all aspects of running events attended by hundreds of young people.  Young musicians, DJs, and technicians moved from these events into working professionally using skills they’d learned.

YOUTH ART WALK

This program was begun by BYI volunteers who wanted to create an opportunity for young artists to display and sell their work.  Starting in the parking lot at Sack’s in 2011, the Art Walk program has grown into a regular part of the Downtown Bozeman Association’s Summer Art Walk series, with BYI interns coordinating up to two-dozen artists from 8th grade through high school and booking young musicians.  

CLOTHING SWAP

BYI volunteers organized two different “clothing swap” events where young people and families with younger kids could bring their used clothes and get new clothes.

PURE SKI FILM PREMIERE

Volunteers secured the rights to the all-female ski film “Pure” for the Bozeman premiere, took donations of coats, gloves, etc. for the Warming Center, and collected raffle donations from local ski and sports shops.

"BOZONE OZONE BUS" (BOB)

BOB is a unique, youth-driven program to turn a full-size school bus into a mobile educational greenhouse with first volunteers, then paid teen interns, who traveled to local elementary schools to teach hands-on lessons, tied to district science standards, in plant anatomy, basic gardening, and sustainability.  See Ned Gall's short film, BOB: The Bozone Ozone Bus.

Youth Giving Project

Gregory Owens

BYI helps young people make ideas happen.

We did it with a group of kids and community volunteers that launched the BOB bus.

We've done it with our all-ages concerts, dances, DJ battles, ski film premieres, clothing swaps, and other youth-produced programs.

This past spring we helped a group of Bozeman High freshman put on a successful skateboarding contest.

Last week, we celebrated the end of our fifth season of young artists selling their work through the Youth Art Walk program.
 
Those are just a few of the ideas we helped young people turn into reality.  

But we believe there are more ideas out there and more young people who could gain independence and experience from hands-on-learning.

So we're excited to announce an important new step in our commitment to helping young people do things they imagine.

BYI is partnering with Foundant Technologies and the Bozeman Area Community Foundation to invite young people ages 14-18 to apply for paid internships and volunteer positions with a group that will judge youth project proposals and award $10,000 in grant funds.

Thanks to this donation from Foundant Technologies and expert support from the Community Foundation, we have an opportunity to help more young people learn social, occupational, creative, and other skills through working on real-world projects developed from their ideas.

We're asking for help from our friends and supporters to help get this message out to the people we all know who could bring great things to and take them away from this opportunity.

E-mail greg@bozemanyouth.org or Program Director, EJ Porth ej@bozemanyouth.org or call (406) 580-3659.  We're happy to answer questions.

Thank you for helping us cast the net as widely as possible in searching the right young people for this job.

APPLY ONLINE

Bozeman High Students Host Community Skateboard Competition

Gregory Owens

Graphic by CIAN BULLOCK.

Bozeman High School Freshman Strategies class with Bozeman Youth Initiative and the Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department present the Community Skate Comp, a skateboard competition for ages 6 and up, Saturday May 30, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Kirk Park skate park, 218 North 20th Avenue.

Funded and supported through a grant from Bozeman Youth Initiative, Project Skate Park, a class project, led by teacher Cassie Ubaldo, is an all-volunteer student-driven effort to make Kirk Park “a safer, cleaner and better environment.” 

Throughout the school year approximately 20 students have been organizing regular clean-up days at the park and enlisting the support of the Parks and Recreation department,  Bozeman Police, and community organizations like Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) and Montana Conservation Corps.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage young skaters and families to use and enjoy the skate park.  A team of high school judges, supported by experienced adult mentors and teachers, will judge competitors in different age groups with prizes donated by local businesses including World Boards, Cactus RecordsREI, and BYEP.

 Register online through the “Recreation” button at www.bozeman.net/Home.  Registration fees for this event and donations will go toward the continued upkeep and maintenance of the Kirk Park skate park. 

For more information, contact Greg Owens with the Bozeman Youth Initiative at (406) 580-3659 or info@bozemanyouth.org.

Zach Ostrovsky

Gregory Owens

Bozeman Youth Initiatiative sparked an interest in my mind when Greg Owens walked into the 2008 junior class of (What the heck was it?) (Note: "Active Citizenship" w/Erica Huntingdale -g.o.) and made an offer to my classmates and I. He said, simply, "Approach me with an idea, and a passion to back that thought up. We will then see what we can do to help make that dream become a reality."

(L) Jelica Summerfield, one of the BYI volunteers who worked with Zach Ostrovsky (R) and others to make the BOB bus a reality. 

            To my account, I was surprisingly one of, if not the only individual who spoke with Greg after that offer was presented to the full classroom. Initially, we spoke about my dream, to simply make a greenhouse. Then we made it our dream and mission, and met with community members of all types. The final project transformed into something much wilder than the basic greenhouse we had foreseen; the outcome of our community's vision lives to this day, visiting schools on the regular, educating people about plants and foods.  Thanks to the community's collaboration, schools, university, library, and laser focus, we helped make ourselves a school bus greenhouse we call the Bozone mobile greenhouse. Most importantly, the result of community work keeps returning positivity to the community. My most beautiful return was the thought of helping create a community schoolhouse; we love eating food, we love knowing where our food comes from, and we love teaching.

            Remember the story of two people with a goal, meeting with students, volunteers, and experts to create a tool the community imagined, created, and keeps utilizing. Everything between inception of the bus to daily maintenance remains because of collaboration and hard work. Persistence is key, plants continue to grow, and Bozeman Youth Initiative lives on, they are right there (I may point at you.) There's much room for improvement, and they happen to be great listeners and have the peculiar ability to make things happen. So, dream on, and keep expressing your dreams!

 

Zach Brown

Gregory Owens

[NOTE: After working as an early BOB program volunteer as a Bozeman High School student, Zach Brown graduated from the University of Montana where he was a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholar, and a 2013 Newman Civic Fellows award winner.  In Fall 2014, Zach was elected to the Montana House of Representatives at the age of 24.]

Zach Brown, 2011, as a member of 1K New Gardens, on a work day with the Bozone Ozone Bus at the Livingston Food Pantry Community Garden site.

The Bozeman Youth Initiative has played a big role in my growth as a human, and as a young professional. It was so wicked cool to watch a wild idea by a friend - to turn a school bus into a mobile greenhouse that actually grows local food - turn into a reality that gave our community and schools something to rally around. Now I see something that I helped build during my high school years touring Bozeman's elementary schools, and I get to talk about BOB the bus with my niece who is a first grader at Hawthorne. Like I said: wicked cool. Thanks to BYI for all you have done to make me, and more importantly, our community, stronger and more vibrant. Keep trucking!

 

Natalie Benson

Gregory Owens

I learned of Bozeman Youth Initiative when I was finishing my undergraduate degree at MSU and was participating in the Horticulture Club. I was taken aback by BYI's drive to make kids' ideas turn into tangible goals and develop life long skills through teamwork and problem solving. I was excited the following year, 2011, when I became a volunteer teacher for their Bozone Ozone Bus.

Natalie Benson, 2010, to the far right in this picture, helping BYI plant seeds at the MSU Plant Growth Center.

This was a valuable experience. I had an excellent time teaching kids about greenhouse life.  During my time I saw kids exploring, learning and dissecting how something works.  Each time I was excited by BYI's drive to keep kids learning while building a stronger community through participation and sharing knowledge.  My time volunteering was as instructional and valuable for me as for the kids that came onto the greenhouse bus.

I also helped BYI put on a fundraising art show, selling local high school students art at Sacks Thrift. I enjoyed watching young artists make and sell their work for an organization that gave them the opportunity to take risks and be themselves.


Kate Murphy

Gregory Owens

[NOTE: After designing several posters for BYI shows, Kate Murphy earned a full-tuition scholarship to the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.  This past fall, Kate was also one of 15 students in North America to do a semester-long residency through the American Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design in New York City.]

BYI started as an opportunity to get involved with all ages events in my hometown. 

These events were few and far between and I wanted to help make them happen more frequently. Bozeman Youth Initiative had a friendly atmosphere that provided resources to turn our ideas into realities. 

I felt welcomed. 

I didn't know that BYI would end up being so much more.

This organization had a huge impact on my youth. I didn't know much about myself yet - but like any frustrated teenager, I knew I was misunderstood and creatively oppressed. In BYI, I was heard and respected for the first time. I suddenly had friends. I learned perseverance, drive, and what it really meant to work with others.

This environment lead me to pursue other places that thrive on creativity, such as art school. I gained invaluable social skills and I believe this program is responsible for my current ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals. I will always be grateful for The Bozeman Youth Initiative. 

Kate's poster for the Zion I show.

E.J. Porth

Gregory Owens

People get really down on teenagers these days. They say they're lazy or reckless or self-involved.

My time working with the Bozeman Youth Initiative has shown me the complete opposite is true.

At BYI we empower and encourage youth to make things happen, from events, concerts, and art shows to fundraisers, movie screenings, and environmental education.

Sometimes all it takes is someone to tell you that your crazy out-of-the box idea could actually work and you should go for it. I've seen kids with those crazy out-of the-box ideas turn them into realities.

With support from BYI funding and staff I've seen those kids grow tremendously through the process.  They learn teamwork, volunteer coordination, marketing, interviewing, fundraising, budgeting skills and more.

At BYI we simply say yes, and to many kids, that's what they need most in a world that thinks they deserve no's. 

Program Director E.J. Porth and Zima.


Madison Nixon

Gregory Owens

Any youth from any background with any dream will find inspiration and support in BYI.

It has been almost seven years since I began working with BYI. The more time that passes, the more invaluable my experiences with BYI become. I was 16 when a friend recommended that I get involved in the BYI Bozone Ozone Greenhouse Bus project (B.O.B), which was in its infancy at the time. Being a part of B.O.B, from bus demolition to teaching, changed my life in so many incredible ways. I was struggling to find clubs and projects within the public school system that would allow myself and other students to have limitless resources and creative freedom to achieve our goals. I felt stifled by closed minds and mentors with too little time. BYI’s mission to provide opportunities, mentorship and resources to youth in order to help them achieve their goals and connect with their community was a breath of optimism and excitement for me.

During my four years of working directly with the B.O.B program I gained leadership, writing, networking, team work, teaching, speaking, interviewing and communication skills. My interests in sustainability, agriculture, ecology and teaching blossomed because of the B.O.B program. I felt connected with my community, and still feel that connection. I felt more motivated and passionate than ever. Many of my friends became involved in BYI and we all made new friends along the way. We broke down social barriers as well as barriers to our goals.

Madi, with kids from Irving School, one of the first classes to visit the BOB bus.

At a time in my life when I felt lost and wanted to drop out of high school, BYI allowed me to pursue my interests. My work with BYI clarified what my interests were and I pursued a Bachelors degree in Agroecology as well as Latin American & Latino Studies at Montana State University. I will be graduating spring 2015 and continuing on to graduate school.

I was thinking the other day about what I am most grateful for from BYI. The list is incredibly long! BYI and the amazing people who have mentored myself and other youth’s along the way have changed so many lives in so many positive ways.  All of the kids I’ve had the pleasure of creating, growing, and succeeding with in BYI have grown to be happy, powerful and successful adults. The network of friends and contacts I’ve gained by participating in various BYI projects to this day helps me succeed and connect in my community. Recently, as I face new obstacles in the next chapter of my life, I became aware of my ability and readiness to take on new projects and tasks, be it creating a new program or figuring out how to get a loan. Uncertainty and lack of knowledge does not intimidate me. Knowing how to navigate new obstacles and pursue new dreams is invaluable. BYI mentors and volunteers provided the framework, education, creative freedom and support that allowed me to learn how to start from square one and succeed.

I am fortunate to still be involved with BYI as an adult board member. I am so proud and inspired by each and every one of the programs and projects BYI, its mentors and its youth volunteers have created over the years. It is wonderful to watch new youth volunteers create and succeed with BYI every year and hear how that they feel the same way as I do about Bozeman Youth Initiative. BYI is the only non-profit in the Bozeman community of its kind, where youth are in control, are never told that something is too hard, too big or too irrelevant. Any youth from any background with any dream will find inspiration and support in BYI. I still find support and inspiration in BYI 7 years later. 

I want to give a special thanks to Greg Owens, for being a friend and a mentor, no matter what.

Thank you to all of the adults who have graciously taken time to volunteer with BYI, you have made a difference in so many youth’s lives.

BOB - Media Coverage

Gregory Owens

Here is a collection of news stories and media resources about the first five years of the Bozone Ozone Bus:

First of its Kind Greenhouse Bus - Dan Boyce, KXLF, 2010.

BOB Rides Again - Dan Boyce, KBZK,2011.

BOB the Bozone Ozone Bus (Ned Gall's documentary on Huffington Post)

Home Ground with Brian Kahn - Yellowstone Public Radio, 2011.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle - BOB Free Summer Camp, 2011.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle - Iraqi exchange students help local volunteers plant for food bank, 2011.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle - BOB launch feature, 2010.

NBC Montana - BYI story featuring BOB, 2012.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 2010.

Student Work


Fan Mail For BOB

Gregory Owens

These are mostly from Morning Star School in Bozeman but include drawings and letters from BOB's young fans around town.

Will, Morning Star School

Eiseley, Highland Montessori

Sophia, Morning Star

Caitlin, Morning Star

Gabe, Morning Star

Taylor, Morning Star

Tristan, Morning Star

Olivia, Morning Star

BYI ART WALK GALLERY

Gregory Owens

The group of student artists who started our summer youth Art Walk program first came together for an art exhibit as part of the Bozeman Youth Festival in 2009. Now, every summer since 2011, we've been running the art walks as a program for young artistic entrepreneurs to learn skills to display, market, and sell their works in different media. Several student artists have sold their first work and earned commissions from their participation in the BYI Art Walk.

The BYI youth Art Walk program started in 2011 with an exhibit of young artists in the parking lot at Saks thrift store.

Tanner Stordahl

The BYI Art Walk Project exposes young artists to the selling and showcasing of their art. This event introduces and allows aspiring artists to presenting themselves as local artists in the community of Bozeman. Further by allowing artists to come together we, as a initiative, build essential connections in the art world for young artists, and build a friendly and constructive event enabling artists to transition from dabbling craftsmen - and women, into more professional artists of their craft - financially and socially.
— Sarah Budeski, 2015 Art Walk Student Coordinator

Isaac Guy.

Sky Norquist

Matt Powell-Palm

(As a volunter) I helped BYI put on a fundraising art show, selling local high school students art at Sacks Thrift. I enjoyed watching young artists make and sell their work for an organization that gave them the opportunity to take risks and be themselves.
— Natalie Benson, Minneapolis

BYI PRODUCTIONS - GALLERY

Gregory Owens

Since 2009, the BYI Productions program has produced dozens of all-ages concerts, dances, DJ battles, art, film and cultural events, creating opportunities for volunteers, youth artists and social entrepreneurs.

Dacotah Stordahl poster for The Atomics with DJ Wizard Murph at the Fairgrounds; the first production of the new BYI Productions program in 2009.

Atomics rehearsal, Beall Park Arts Center.

Dacotah and the band setting up for Atomics show.

Ladies and gentlemen... The Atomics!

BYI youth board members Kate Barber and Jelica Summerfield.

ANDERS:  Isaac Guy, Sam Lowe-Anker, and Geran Wales.

Missoula band Have a Nice Coma at the Gallatin Labor Temple.

LEAVES IN MY SLEEVES reunion show, Gallatin Fairgrounds.

Patrick Murphy, aka DJ Wizard Murph.

This organization had a huge impact on my youth. I didn’t know much about myself yet - but like any frustrated teenager, I knew I was misunderstood and creatively oppressed. In BYI, I was heard and respected for the first time. I suddenly had friends. I learned perseverance, drive, and what it really meant to work with others. This environment lead me to pursue other places that thrive on creativity, such as art school. I gained invaluable social skills and I believe this program is responsible for my current ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals. I will always be grateful for The Bozeman Youth Initiative.
— Kate Murphy

This show was a fundraiser for Hopelink, a suicide prevention program at MSU.  Poster by Kate Murphy.

One of a series of all-ages shows we did with Compound Productions in Bozeman.  Poster, Kate Murphy.

Bozeman Youth Festival, 2009.  Poster by Dacotah Stordahl.

Dacotah at the sound controls.

Casey from Bozeman Bike Kitchen teaches a workshop at Bozeman Youth Festival, 2009.

The student art show at Bozeman Youth Festival was the forerunner of our Art Walk Program.

SIOUX FALLS at Gallatin Labor Temple.  Isaac Eiger, near, guitar; Fred Nixon, bass; Patrick Murphy, drums.

Photo: Sean Erickson

Photo: Sean Erickson

The BYI DJ BATTLE event - featuring young DJs competing for prizes & showcase slots with Chamberlin Productions, started and ran for two years at Cactus Records downtown, moving into the Baxter Ballroom in its third year as it grew in popularity.

DJ Battle I.  L>R Annie Josephs, Molly Titus-Ieronimo, Whitney Skauge, Program Director Lucia Stewart, Madi Nixon.  Photo by Skye Norquist / Big Skye Photography.

Sami Bierman, Emma Kerins, Madde Gnauck raffling items at the Bozeman premiere of the ski film "Pure," which was also a coat and winter clothing drive for the local warming center.

Students from BHS Freshman Strategies cleaning up the Kirk Park skate park.

BOB THE GREENHOUSE BUS - GALLERY

Gregory Owens

One day in 2008, one Bozeman high school student said, "I think greenhouses are cool."  A couple of BYI youth volunteers agreed.  Their principal said, "What if your greenhouse could move around?"  An MSU engineering student said, "I think your mobile greenhouse should be a school bus."  When asked if they could help, literally hundreds of people said, "Yes." Now thousands of kids think greenhouses are cool. [BTW, here's the same story with pictures.]  And scroll through here for a few of our favorite moments and memories from the now six-year journey of BOB...

Original BOB poster by Augie Cary.

BYI Board Member Maria Kappes w/Lily Deford, b/g volunteers Kareen Erbe & Marshall Swearingen at early BOB brainstorm.

Montana State University Plant Growth Center Director David Baumbauer giving greenhouse tour to Dacotah Stordahl, Kareen Erbe, Kate Barber, and others.

Sam Hedlund filming an early planting session with volunteers Amanda Anderson and Molly Titus-Ieronimo.

Two people who put a lot of work and energy into this project: Kevin Vilkin holds up two thumbs while Spencer Winchester holds up the hood of the bus.

First BOB public appearance at the MSU Horticulture Club Open House, 2010.

The Bozeman Youth Initiative has played a big role in my growth as a human, and as a young professional. It was so wicked cool to watch a wild idea by a friend - to turn a school bus into a mobile greenhouse that actually grows local food - turn into a reality that gave our community and schools something to rally around. Now I see something that I helped build during my high school years touring Bozeman’s elementary schools, and I get to talk about BOB the bus with my niece who is a first grader at Hawthorne.
— Zach Brown, former BYI volunteer / Montana State Representative

Tessa Moeckel and Molly Titus-Ieronimo teach kids at Irving School.

Governor Brian Schweitzer comes to visit BOB at Irving School.

The first ripe BOB tomato.

Our first year with the bus, Longfellow Farm-to-School group received a grant from MSU Team Nutrition, part of which went to the creation of a BOB coloring book we gave out to kids.  This cover image was created by Kate Murphy.

Volunteer recruitment poster by Kate Murphy.

Poster for the premiere screening of Ned Gall's BOB documentary.

Making BOB pizzas with LaFoley's mobile pizza oven and the Longfellow Farm to School group.

At the city compost site for Leaf Rake Day with BYI volunteers and members of One Thousand New Gardens.

Intern Kayla Verzuh cleaning the bus.

Interns Kate Moore and Rylea Rubright mixing up some soil.

Plants growing under L.E.D. lights in a grow room built by Ben Hughes.

Snow day fun with AmeriCorps member Max Smith and Emily Dickinson kids.

Kara Landolfi teaching kids at Emily Dickinson.

Volunteers from Belgrade High School Renewable Energy Club teaching kids at Ridgeview Elementary in Belgrade.

Gianna Andrews teaching.  (You know you're in Montana when you have to bundle up for a greenhouse lesson.)

Rylea Rubright and Gianna Andrews warming up seedlings at Morning Star.

Sicily Ranieri with kids at Morning Star School.

Ben Bunch with kids at Irving School.

Ben Bunch with kids at Irving School.

Cherokee Nevin at Hawthorne School.

Kate Moore at Irving School.

Kayla Verzuh, Sicily Ranieri, and Madde Gnauck at Longfellow School.

Kayla apparently just said, "Who wants to plant?"

In 2011 Page Huyette and a team of young counselors and interns put together a free summer camp for kids in the free lunch program with the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.  Activities included gardening exercises with the BOB bus, physical fitness, art and music.

Camp intern Robison Bianchini gives camper a ride.

Page Huyette, the person who made this all happen.

2011 Free Summer BOB Camp staff and some of the campers.

Madi Nixon

At a time in my life when I felt lost and wanted to drop out of high school, BYI allowed me to pursue my interests. My work with BYI clarified what my interests were and I pursued a Bachelors degree in Agroecolgy as well as Latin American & Latino Studies at Montana State University. I will be graduating spring 2015 and continuing on to graduate school.
— Madison Nixon, BYI board member

Program Director Ben Hughes with 2015 interns Emma Kerins, Kate Brunswick, Ambert Cobb, Ellie Eiger, and Kacie Cobb.  Not pictured Kerstin Long & Kate Middleton.  The teaching program began all-volunteer.  Now this is our third group of paid interns with the bus program.

BOB VI

Gregory Owens

This afternoon we kicked off Season 6 with the Bozone Ozone Bus (BOB) with K-5 kids from Gallatin Gateway School.

Here's a clip of Ben & the crew afterwards...


Project Skate Park Update

Gregory Owens

Last fall, at our BYI back-to-school guerilla frozen yogurt street party, I met some young skaters who told me they were interested in doing a project at the Kirk Park skate park in Bozeman.  A couple weeks later, I saw these same kids again when I visited Cassie Ubaldo's Freshman Strategies class at BHS.  

I gave their class my basic BYI rap:  "We help young people do projects that help them build skills and benefit their peers..."  Then I asked if anybody had questions, which is usually the point where silence ensues and we all just stare at one another awkwardly.  But these kids immediately went, "Hey Greg, here's what we want to do...."

... which was to start an all-volunteer, youth-led effort to clean-up the skate park; discourage graffiti, drinking and drug use; and generally turn the park into a more kid-and-family-friendly place to hang out and skate.  Which is exactly the kind of thing BYI is all about, especially the youth-led part.

I started working on a weekly basis with the class, helping with organization, planning and development of their idea for a community youth skating competition (May 30).

I also reached out to Bozeman Parks & Recreation and they brought in Bozeman Police and the whole thing got rolling (pardon the pun) with community orgs like Big Sky Youth Empowerment and Montana Conservation Corps, as well as help from local biz like World Boards, A Thousand Arms, and Cactus Records.  Not to mention tremendous support from the school district.

Logo by BHS student Cian Bullock

Logo by BHS student Cian Bullock

Posters, t-shirts and other promo will be hitting in the next few days.  Interested skaters can find the registration link through the Parks & Rec program guide. The Freshman Strategies team will also be doing a registration at Bozeman High around the second week of May.

Meantime, you can follow the project through their Facebook page.

If you think that's cool, please remember us and consider making a donation to BYI during the upcoming May 5 Give Big Gallatin Valley fundraising campaign. Your support of our organization makes it possible for us to mentor, inspire, encourage, and teach all kinds of young people and to hook them up with the resources they need to express their vision of community and achieve their highest potential.

And hopefully we'll see you May 30 for the Community Sk8 Comp.  Thanks!

Greg Owens, Executive Director                         Bozeman Youth Initiative

(406) 580-3659                           greg@bozemanyouth.org

BYI Joins Give Big Gallatin Valley

Gregory Owens

Bozeman Youth Initiative is one of the non-profit organizations participating in the May 5 Give Big Gallatin Valley event, a local effort led by the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, aimed at encouraging philanthropy in our community.

Give Big Gallatin Valley will happen from midnight to midnight on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. For those 24 hours, online donations will be accepted through www.GiveBigGV.org.

As a smaller non-profit, we can use all the help we can get in this campaign.  In the next 30 days we'll be reaching out to our volunteers and supporters, asking them to extend the message to family, friends and beyond, in hopes of raising money to help BYI continue its work developing and supporting youth-driven community projects like BOB the mobile greenhouse bus, #projectskatepark, and other BYI activities you'll hear more about in the next few days.

If you have experiences, thoughts, media, or other things to share about BYI, we invite you to tell the world via Facebook and help get the word out to Give Big!