Chehalis tribal employees filled the Gathering Room to recognize Youth Center Assistant Geo as the March Employee of the Month for his dedication to the children.
Geo has worked at the Youth Center for eight months. He grew up on the Chehalis Reservation and frequently visited the Youth Center as a child. His favorite thing to do was play basketball, which is an activity he uses to connect to kids today. Throughout the winter months, Geo coached youth basketball teams and took them to numerous tournaments.
Youth Center Supervisor Tony Medina said he has seen skills on the basketball court improve tremendously since Geo started coaching. Medina said he wanted to highlight Geo because “he’s a special person who has patience, perseverance, consistency and commitment to the youth.”
Medina recognized that Geo goes above and beyond by spending his weekends with the youth program, taking various age groups to play ball and represent their tribe. This provides opportunities for kids to make new friends, meet relatives and learn the value of good sportsmanship.
This year, one of his teams won the championship. Geo and Medina expressed how proud they are of the youngsters’ accomplishments and improvements.
Geo said he is honored to work with the youth and watch kids grow up, have fun and make memories. He said it feels good to receive the award, but acknowledges that he couldn’t have accomplished it without help. He wanted to thank Talisa Baker, Bobby Jones and Cheryle Starr for their assistance during tournament season.
While sports provide amazing opportunities, Geo believes it is important that kids put school first. He incentivizes good grades to play in tournaments. If grades aren’t where they should be, kids can’t go on the trip.
Medina has worked for the youth program for 25 years. He has known Geo since he was a child and remembers taking him with other tribal youth to rez-ball tournaments.
“It’s a really good experience to see a young one, 5- or 6-year-old, grow up to be a man,” Medina said. “Geo, he is a man, but it’s nice to see the kid in him.