2022 Navigator: Boys and Girls Club’s Dana Duran works to respect each unique child | SteamboatToday.com

2022 Navigator: Boys and Girls Club’s Dana Duran works to respect each unique child

The Navigator Awards are presented annually by Steamboat Pilot & Today and the Steamboat Springs Chamber to businesses and community leaders for their outstanding contributions to the Steamboat community.

After 15 years as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado, Dana Duran estimates she knows the names of thousands of children who have attended the clubs’ after-school and summer programs.

When Duran meets new children, her memory tool is to say their name in conversation out loud three times in a row. She wants to respect the individuality of each child, so she tries hard not to rely on the greeting, “Hey, buddy,” as a fall back.

“It’s important to value them as humans, to appreciate who they are and respect them in that space,” Duran said. “I think when you give a kid respect, they’ll give it right back.”

Just as Duran works to respect each child as a valued individual, her colleagues respect her for her long-term leadership role, and Duran has been named the 2022 Navigator Nonprofit Leader of the Year.

Linda Lund, board president of the clubs in Steamboat and Craig, said Duran “is motivated by making a difference in the lives of others and in her communities.”

“I have consistently observed Dana going above and beyond what was required to support our kids and families,” Lund said “When one of her staff has had an unusually hard or long day, Dana is always there to support, to find a learning experience for the club and to offer to wait for the last child to be picked up so the other staff member can go home.”

If you go

What: 2022 Navigator Awards Celebration

When: 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24

Where: Snow Bowl, 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza

Tickets: Events.com/r/en_US/tickets/2022-navigator-awards-steamboat-springs-august-851017

Altogether, the clubs serve some 1,600 unique children each year and have enrolled some 6,600 children ages 6 and older since the Craig club opened in 2004 and the Steamboat club in 2009. The clubs serve more children consistently than any other after-school or summer program in the Yampa Valley. The annual membership fee is still only $25 per child, and daily rates are $15 maximum.

Still, Duran believes her greatest accomplishment is putting together a high-performing team full of people who “are doing incredible work.” The clubs offer junior staff life-skills training, such as Goals for Graduation and Career Launch.

“Working through the pandemic, reopening after 14 weeks of closure and staying open ever since then is a testament to that high-performing team and a group of board members that believed in our program and thought that kids needed safe and positive place to go,” Duran said.

The director has honed her skills through the years, and she also earned a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University in Denver. She serves on a variety of leadership and service groups in the valley such as Rural Philanthropy Days and El Pomar Foundation’s Northwest Regional Council.

“She just knows the community so well. She’s just an incredible resource. So, that’s why a lot of people look to her as a leader in the community,” said Mark Andersen, executive director at the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, who serves on committees with Duran.

“Personally, it’s been a fantastic 15 years, and I think I still have more to give and learn,” Duran said. “I feel like I’ve found my life’s work at Boys & Girls Club and feel really honored that I have the chance to do this every single day.”

Dana Duran, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado, is the 2022 Navigator Nonprofit Leader of the Year.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The club keeps children engaged through such programs as STEAM, Homework Help, Financial Literacy, outdoor adventures, SPARK programs, Healthy Habits, Mindful Art, field trips and a running club.

Duran said she works to continue “helping kids reach their fullest potential.”

“I love when a kid learns a new thing,” Duran said. “When they have that lightbulb, that ‘I get it’ moment, that’s my favorite.”

Those lightbulbs at the Boys & Girls Club might come through anything from learning to ride a bike to jumping in mid-swing during jump rope, which help children build perseverance and resiliency, Duran explained.

“If they keep trying, they can figure something out,” Duran said. “They are capable of hard things if they just put their mind to it.”

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