Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club Attends “Ringside For Youth”

Expresses Appreciation to Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council

TERRITORY OF AKWESASNE - The Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club (ABGC) attended Ringside For Youth that was held on June 12, 2014 at the Ottawa Convention Centre—thanks to the generosity of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and the assistance of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council.  Ringside For Youth is an annual event that has raised more than $2.5 million since 1995 for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. This year’s event featured special guest and legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.

The recommendation to have members of ABGC attend the annual fundraiser was first proposed by Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Kana:takon Chief Larry King. According to District Chief King, “I attended the Ringside For Youth event in 2005 as a guest of the Ottawa Carleton Police Youth Center, which has since amalgamated with the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club.” He noted, “I was very impressed with this event and in my efforts to assist the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club, I strongly recommended this very successful event to board members to observe and network to get ideas for something similar in magnitude for our own club.”

ABGC board members agreed and attended the event with the goal of learning more about the annual fundraiser event that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. According to Kana:takon Chief King, “We did exactly that and got to meet Sugar Ray Leonard to boot. I want to thank the St Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort for sponsoring our group to attend this prestigious event that enjoyed it's 20th anniversary.”

With the help of long-time club supporter Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance Jr., the casino sponsored a table at the event for several ABGC board members and supporters that included Akwesasne MMA fighter Brett “The Hitman” Hart. The event featured several boxing matches, a variety of fundraisers and a chance to meet Sugar Ray Leonard.  Each table took a group photo with Sugar Ray, as well as individual photos between the matches, which provided an opportunity to talk with him about the ABGC and to share contact information that he immediately placed into his wallet.

For Tribal Chief Lafrance, it was an easy decision to help the ABGC to attend that event, as “Our Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club plays a vital role in the educational, recreational and social development of our youth. ABGC exposes our teens to enrichment opportunities and special events; through these experiences, the ABGC reveals potential in our teens. ‘Ringside for Youth,’ gives us the chance to collaborate within the Boys and Girls Club network; it’s exciting to witness from a leadership perspective. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and our Council are committed to long-term support of our club and the professional development of our program managers.”

ABGC Executive Director Jessica Cree-Jock, Board President Julia Back-Skidders and board member Brendan White were seated at a table next to Ottawa Boy's and Girls Club Executive Director Colleen Mooney, which provided an opportunity to discuss the development and exchanging of programming between the two clubs. The table was also located next to event organizers, which enabled ABGC representatives to speak with Ringside For Youth Planning Committee Member Tom Hicks about the logistical planning for hosting a similar fundraiser event in Akwesasne.

Tribal Sub-Chief Micheal Conner accompanied the group to the fundraiser and also had a chance to meet Sugar Ray Leonard, along with Kana:takon Chief Larry King. Known for supporting the positive development of Akwesasne’s youth, Conners supports the ABGC in stating that “Our Club helps to educate our youth, along with providing them additional educational, recreational, social, and necessary activities that will help them to make the correct decisions as they grow into adulthood.  Our club helps them to realize what they can be, and we should all provide any and all support necessary to achieve these goals.  The SRMT is a strong supporter, and will continue to be.”

On behalf of the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club, board members extend their deepest appreciation to the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort for sponsoring a table and to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council for their continued support. The ABGC simply wouldn’t be possible without the Tribe’s unwavering support and commitment to a much-needed facility that benefits ALL of our community’s youth—regardless of where they reside.

Helping our community’s youth continues to be a priority for Akwesasne and the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club provides ‘The Positive Place For Kids & Teens.’