Cowboy Ethics has been named the premier
program of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming. We are excited so many
young people are learning the cowboy code and implementing the principles into
The Boys and Girls Club of
Central Wyoming has a saying: "Great Futures Start Here!"
In 2011, the club adopted
“Formula for Impact,” an initiative that gives the club a clear direction to
ensure they make a difference and help kids.
The club hopes members
have fun in a safe and positive environment, surrounded by supportive
relationships. Members are also given lots of opportunities and recognition.
The goal is to help each member achieve academic success, a healthy lifestyle
and good character and citizenship. That’s why the club’s motto is “Great
Futures Start Here!"
Academic success for a
club member is defined as being a graduate from high school who's ready for
college, trade school, the military or employment. Project Learn is an example
of the club’s targeted programs for education and career development. Tutoring
is offered every day after school in the Power Hour. Even kindergartners
participate in the Power Hour. Mills Elementary School requires 20 minutes of
reading every night. Older club members might read to the younger members to
help them meet their reading requirement and at the same time develop their
leadership and mentoring skills.
Healthy lifestyles at the
club are defined as adopting a healthy diet, practicing healthy lifestyle
choices and making a lifelong commitment to fitness. The club's SMART programs
are all about prevention and education. They address problems such as drug and
alcohol use or premature sexual activity, and offer self-esteem enhancement
programs for girls ages 8-17. They also promote and teach responsibility to
boys ages 11-14.
Each of the club’s
locations offer arts and craft programs on a daily basis, along with daily gym
activities aimed at getting all of the kids up and moving. The clubs also offer
numerous sports leagues.
Good character and
citizenship are also important at the club. Being an engaged citizen involved
in the community is urged. Members, for example, are encouraged to register to
vote and model strong character.
Today, the premier program
of the clubs is a Cowboy Ethics program.
Cowboy Ethics is based on
the James Owen book, "Cowboy Ethics." Titled the Wyoming Youth
Initiative, this program empowers young people to create and live by their own
code. The program promotes ethics and leadership among Casper youth -- the Code
of the West.
Jessica Baxter is the
program development coordinator. She's responsible for the planning within
local clubs and training for other organizations. Andrew Snead is the program
coordinator responsible for implementing Cowboy Ethics at the club’s teen
center, the juvenile detention center and Casper’s high schools. The programs
focus on inspiring and engaging young people, helping them to decide for
themselves what they want to stand for and what kind of person they want to be.
The Code of the West is
comprised of 10 principles by which to live, such as "When you make a
promise, keep it!" or "Remember that some things aren't for
The code curriculum is
built around the 10 principles. Discussions might begin with words such as
honor and respect. The age-appropriate learning activities vary and might be a
game, role playing, or a written exercise. Through these activities, kids have
a chance to determine for themselves the connection between the principle of
keeping a promise and the concept of honor.
Group members seek out and
discover the answers to three questions: What do I believe? Why do I believe
it? And how does my life show it?
Baxter is working with the
staff at Woods School to implement the Cowboy Ethics initiative as a pilot
program for the school’s K-8th grades.
Twice a month program
coordinators visit Woods and lead group activities and Woods' teachers
regularly employ Cowboy Ethics activities in their classrooms.
Students say the program
has had an impact on them and that they enjoy talking to each other about
problems and fears. One student said, “I think we could all use come cowboy ethics
and learn a few more manners." Another said, “I do think this code
benefits you because it helps you learn who you really are and not someone