Navigator 2022: Dana Duran of the Boys and Girls Club strives to respect every 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 Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado, Dana Duran believes she knows the names of thousands of children who have participated in the clubs’ afterschool and summer programs.

When Duran meets new children, his memory tool is to say their names out loud three times in a row. She wants to respect each child’s individuality, so she tries hard not to rely on the “Hey, buddy” greeting as a fallback.

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

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

Linda Lund, Chair of the Steamboat and Craig Clubs Board of Directors, said Duran “is driven to make a difference in the lives of others and in her communities”.

“I constantly watched Dana go above and beyond to support our children and our families,” Lund said. for the club and to offer to wait until the last child is picked up so that the other member of staff can go home.

In total, the clubs serve some 1,600 unique children each year and have enrolled some 6,600 children aged 6 and over since the opening of the Craig Club in 2004 and the Steamboat Club in 2009. The clubs serve more children than any other after-school or summer program. in the Yampa Valley. Annual dues are still only $25 per child and daily rates are $15 maximum.

Still, Duran believes his greatest accomplishment is building a high-performing team of people who “do an amazing job.” Clubs provide junior staff with training in life skills, such as graduation goals and career launch.

“Working during the pandemic, reopening after 14 weeks of closure and remaining open since then is a testament to this successful team and a group of board members who believed in our program and believed that children needed a place safe and positive place to go,” Duran said.

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

“She knows the community so well. She’s just an amazing resource. That’s why a lot of people look up to her as a leader in the community,” said Mark Andersen, executive director of the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, which sits on committees with Duran.

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

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

The club keeps kids engaged through programs such as STEAM, homework help, financial literacy, outdoor adventures, SPARK programs, healthy habits, mindful art, field trips, and a school club. race.

Duran said she was working to continue “helping children reach their full potential.”

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

These bulbs at the Boys & Girls Club can go through anything from learning to ride a bike to jumping mid-ride during jump rope, which helps children build perseverance and resilience, Duran explained.

“If they keep trying, they can find something,” Duran said. “They are capable of difficult things if they put their minds to it.”

Christopher S. Washington