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Ponemah Boys and Girls Club groundbreaking

A groundbreaking for the much anticipated Ponemah Branch of the Red Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club, and new Ponemah Community Center, a true multi-purpose facility was held May 5 near the current Ponemah Community Center.

Several tribal council members and hereditary chiefs along with Red Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club board members and staff attended the groundbreaking. About 50 gathered at the Ponemah Community Center to visit, look at blueprint plans for the inside and outside of the facility, hear words from Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr., and listened to the traditional drum of Chief Greeting Spears; at one point Jourdain joined in.

Later, all continued outside where Delwyn Hothusen took several shovels and hard hats out of the back of a pick-up truck. Tribal council members, Chief Spears, Boys and Girls Club board members, staff and volunteers donned those hard hats and shovels, posed for the obligatory photograph and then dug in for the groundbreaking. The children present also took a shovel of earth, including Ponemah Male Youth of the Month Benny Dow.

Tribal Council and Board members prepared for the groundbreaking. Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. is third from left, Ponemah Council Representatives Glenda Martin and Gary Nelson are sixth and seventh from left, and Tribal Treasurer and Ponemah resident Darrell G. Seki Sr. is to the right of Nelson.

The new multipurpose building will be done in phases beginning with a gymnasium followed by the Boys and Girls Club. “The completed nearly $2.5 million facility, will host not only the Boys and Girls Club and the Ponemah Community Center, but also a library, Head Start, Social Services, Elderly Nutrition, Day Care, and even a Judicial Court,” said Boys and Girls Club Director Becky Wierschke.

Money for the facility came from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, HUD Indian Community Development Block Grants, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Red Lake Tribal Council.

“There are already nearly 150 boys and girls at the Ponemah branch club,” Wierschke said. The club employs several staff, plus a number of adult and young adult volunteers. There is no cost for membership.

The Red Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club celebrated the second anniversary of its grand opening at the building near the pow-wow grounds at Red Lake June 5.

About the club

As with other Boys and Girls Clubs, the Red Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club has five core programs. They include; Character and Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, Health and Life Skills, the Arts and Sports, Fitness and Recreation.

Anishinabe culture is integrated as a functional part of all five core programs. Culture includes language, values, ethics, the arts, law, history, philosophy, psychology, health, medicine and social structure.