Published On: Mon, Aug 12th, 2013

Cherokee Boys Club Report – week of Aug. 15

A LITTLE HISTORY ON THE BOYS CLUB’S ON-THE-JOB-TRAINING (OJT)

SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM

 

The Boys Club’s OJT (On-the-Job-Training) program began as early as 1932 when the Cherokee Boys Farm Club was established at the Cherokee Boarding School.  In 1934 the Cherokee Motor Club was founded.  When the Boarding School closed in 1954, these two Clubs were continued by the Cherokee Day School.

Shown (left-right) are Zachary Smith, Michael George, Kobe Toineeta, Kennan Panther and Travis Smith.  (CBC photo)

Shown (left-right) are Zachary Smith, Michael George, Kobe Toineeta, Kennan Panther and Travis Smith. (CBC photo)

In 1958, Ray Kinsland became the Boys Vocational Teacher for the Day School and was the faculty sponsor of the Farm and Motor Clubs.  As projects grew, students not only worked during the summer months; they were also able to work on weekends and holidays and were paid fifty cents an hour.   The adults supervising these young workers were the Vocational Teacher and the bus drivers.

The OJT students were paid by the Club through a student activity fund.  This fund received its money from the crops raised and sold by the students as well as from the fees earned by painting vehicles or overhauling engines.  Mary Chiltoskey, Librarian of the Day School, was also assigned the duty of being the Secretary/Treasurer of the student activity fund.  Once a week she would write a check to the students for the work they performed in the training programs.  She continued this practice until John Dills assumed this responsibility.

Shown (left-right) front row - Scott Sneed, Ryver Gunter, Amorie Gunter and Abigail Long; back row - Bailey Littlejohn, Zachary Smith, Kendra Wiggins and Devyn Smith.

Shown (left-right) front row – Scott Sneed, Ryver Gunter, Amorie Gunter and Abigail Long; back row – Bailey Littlejohn, Zachary Smith, Kendra Wiggins and Devyn Smith.

The Farm Club had a vineyard where the emergency housing is currently located behind the old Charles George Gymnasium.   In the early years, land was leased from individuals to farm including property on River Road, the site of the Casino and the property where the Ginger Lynn Welch building and Barclay warehouses sit today.  Many crops were planted and harvested including green beans, tomatoes, grapes and potatoes.

When the Club leased these garden sites, they had to gain approval from the Business Committee.  Even though the Club’s business may have been first on the agenda, Chief Osley Saunooke required the Boys Club’s representatives to remain for the entire meeting to gain insight and knowledge because he knew these young men would become leaders in the community and would serve the Tribe in greater capacities one day; he was correct.

When the Tribe took the Club over in the Summer of 1964, the adults and students became Boys Club employees.  In 1966 the Club went to Tribal Council to change their Bylaws and it was then that the Bylaws were amended to include girls thereby making the Boys Club coed.  The Club continues to provide educational opportunities, vocational training and leadership experience for Cherokee people, especially youth.

The 2013 OJT Class included:  Amorie Gunter and Devyn Smith (Administration Department); Bailey Littlejohn, Abigail Long and Kendra Wiggins (Agelink Child Care); Michael George, Kennan Panther, Zachary Smith and Kobe Toineeta (Construction & Facilities); Jordyn Thompson and Jesse Toineeta (Graphics); and Ryver Gunter, Larissa Martinez and Scott Sneed (Shop/Body Shop).

These students were chosen based on their ability to complete an employment application, obtain worker’s permits and necessary information from the BIA and Tribal Enrollment offices.  They were also responsible for getting a letter of reference from a teacher, principal, school counselor, pastor or tribal leader to include with their application package.  Many students applied for summer positions but Club funding allowed for only 15 summer jobs.  Hopefully the students not selected learned something from the application process and will apply again next year.

The students began work on June 10 and worked through August 2.  The Club Managers and Board Members honored these students with a luncheon on Friday, August 2 in the Club Conference Room.

 

 

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