Share your story for our 75th anniversary!
“Sharing is caring,” says 20-year-old Magan Truesdale.
That was her response when asked why she was willing to share her story about the years she spent with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary (BGCC). Magan also encourages others involved with BGCC to share their stories as well.
“We need to share about the things that are important in life, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, which supports kids.”
Magan was one of those kids. At the age of 12, her parents put her and her younger sister into after-school programs at BGCC’s Falconridge Club. Both her parents worked until long after Magan and her sister were home from school.
“It gave me something to do after school. A lot of my friends didn’t have that and they may have been subject to getting in with the wrong crowd.”
Magan saw many of the youth she went to school with start making bad decisions because they didn’t go to a safe and encouraging place after school like she did.
“I would recommend Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary to everyone,” she said. “It really was a great experience.”
She remembers being in a program called Edible Incredible, which is similar to today's Junior Chefs program.
"I've always loved to cook," says Magan. Another BGCC program she was in was a space program where the kids built items for a NASA contest.
"My first career aspiration as a child was to be an astronaut so that was awesome," said Magan, who now owns her own business making synthetic dread locks.
Magan didn't become an astronaut but she did learn other skills through BGCC programs that were helpful. She took a babysitter course through the agency.
"I still have the certificate. I ended up doing a lot of babysitting so it was definitely helpful."
Magan was also part of the Calgary Stampede Work Experience Program - which is a program offered in partnership with the Calgary Stampede that has been running now for 41 years.
"I was young so making my own money was great," she said about the Stampede program. "I am still friends with some of the kids I worked with at Stampede."
The Stampede Work Experience program hires hundreds of Calgary youth to pick up the litter at the grounds throughout the 10-day event.
"It's so much better than staying home," she said. "I learned to appreciate not littering, which is something I did before."
Magan said working in the Stampede program brought many benefits. Sometimes she'd find money while cleaning up the grounds, she made friends and all the workers get into the Stampede for free.
"It was a way better experience than what I could have been doing in the summer," she said.
"I don't think I would have gotten a job so young if it wasn't for the Stampede program."
The Stampede Work Experience program taught her punctuality, organizational skills and professionalism.
Magan certainly remembers her time with Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary fondly.
While in school, she said she was often the subject of bullying and was a shy and introverted young girl. BGCC gave her a safe place to go where she was completely accepted for who she was.
"They always valued my wackiness," she said of the BGCC staff.
Not to mention, being at the club and involved in programs meant she wasn't getting into trouble.
"A lot of kids I went to school with were involved in things one shouldn't be involved in at 12 and 13 years of age."
Today, Magan says she is thankful for all the experiences and lessons she learned through BGCC. She said she wanted to share her story because BGCC is important to her and wants to help the club continue to make a difference in the lives of other kids.
“I’m so glad I got to do so many things,” says Magan.
Would you like to share your experiences of BGCC?
Next year - 2014 - is Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary’s 75th anniversary! In preparation, we are collecting stories from our alumni. We’d love to hear your BGCC story! Contact Brigette Jobin, Communications Coordinator, at email@example.com or 403-520-1535.