At Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, we’re dedicated to helping youth achieve the great futures they want in life. One of the ways we do this is through our sports offerings, which includes our exceptional swim program. At the Don Fisher Clubhouse, our competition-sized swimming pool allows Club members to learn swimming essentials and hone their skills to stay healthy and gain athletic scholarship potential. One of our swim program alumni, two-year Don Fisher Clubhouse member Kenya, recently received recognition for her collegiate-level accomplishments. In her freshman year on the University of California, Santa Cruz swim team, Kenya earned their Most Valuable Female Rookie award, signifying her dedication and hard work over the challenges of the swim season.
Recently, we caught up with Kenya to talk with her about her achievements as a swimmer and how Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco helped her grow into the person she is today. When asked how skills learned at BGCSF have helped her transition into college, Kenya spoke of a number of ways the Club taught her important lessons. “Throughout my time with BGCSF, I developed and improved on ways to stay motivated, to continue to work hard, and to face challenges that come my way.” Kenya said. “I also learned methods for when and how to ask for help when faced with a challenge. Now that I am in college, I find these skills useful for navigating through and succeeding in my classes.”
Reflecting on what Club membership had meant for her, Kenya cited the memories she has and people she’s met as important aspects of the person she is today. “Club membership has given me the opportunity to work with and meet so many amazing staff and fellow Club members that have helped me grow and develop my character. I am grateful for the memories that I made at the Club since I have learned so many new things about life and the people around me which have given me a broader sense of the world around me.”
The relationships she developed were particularly important to Kenya’s interest in swimming, stating, “The Club sparked my interest in swimming because of all the friendships that I made through the aquatics program and the sense of family that I got from fellow Club members and aquatics coaching staff.”
When asked which Club staff member played an influential role in her development, Kenya cited Don Fisher Clubhouse Aquatics Director, Jon Riley. “[Jon] helped me grow as a swimmer by always being supportive and motivating me to continue to challenge myself both in and out of the pool.” She said. “He has a positive mindset and welcoming personality that inspires me to work hard and achieve my goals.”
There’s no better reward for the work we do at BGCSF than seeing former members excel in life. We have a wealth of exceptional programming that provides youth with opportunities to build on the skills that will help them succeed in life. For more information on the benefits of becoming a BGCSF member, visit our membership page.
BGCSF is currently offering free support and training to Black-serving and Black-led individuals and organizations participating in The Dream Keeper Initiative, a citywide effort launched in 2021 to reinvest $120 million over two years into San Francisco’s diverse Black communities.
April is Arab American Heritage Month and I am excited to both reflect on what this month means to me personally and share how BGCSF and Camp Mendocino engage Arab youth and their families.
We are pleased to highlight a member of our Senior Leadership Team, Erin Gutierrez. Erin has served the BGCSF community for 15 years. Her experience spans multiple roles across the organization and provides a powerful and unique perspective on the holistic impact of BGCSF.