The Billings Breakfast Exchange Club participates in many activities throughout the year to help promote Americanism, prevent child abuse, promote youth activities, and provide community service. Such activities include:
The Club raises its proceeds by selling beer and wine throughout the MetraPark Arena buildings and grounds. This allows the Club, through good sales and no labor cost, to raise thousands of dollars for nonprofits in Billings and the surrounding areas that fit our mission of the prevention of child abuse, and the support of Youth Programs, Americanism and Community Service.
The Food Truck Battle on the Yellowstone is a fundraiser where the proceeds specifically go to a Veteran's organization. 10% of the sales from the food trucks and all proceeds from gate fees and beer sales will go to the organization(s) chosen.
This year the Breakfast Exchange Club will team up with the other two Exchange Clubs in Billings (Billings Downtown and Billings Heights) and other non-profit groups to sell raffle tickets for the Playhouse Parade. All of the playhouses are donated by area building contractors and put up for raffle. All raffle ticket proceeds will be donated to area charities. Ticket sales will start around May 1st and will be available at the Playhouse Parade display in the Center Court of Rimrock Mall. Tickets can also be purchased through members of the Breakfast Exchange Club.
One of the most popular Exchange youth projects, the Youth of the Year Award recognizes hard-working high school students who attain high levels of scholastic achievement, community involvement and leadership. This proven program not only rewards outstanding young people, but also provides an incentive for other youngsters to strive for equally high levels of achievement. The Breakfast Exchange club awards one student at Billings Central Catholic High with a $2500 scholarship. The club's Youth of the Year advances to district competition, and ultimately, an opportunity to vie for the prestigious National Youth of the Year Award.
Plans to attend University of Montana
A.C.E. stands for Accepting the Challenge of Excellence. This program recognizes high school students who have made a dramatic change in their attitude and performance during their high school years. These changes have enabled the students to overcome adversities and prepare for graduation. As with the Youth of the Year award, the Breakfast Exchange Club awards the winner from Billings West High and Billings Central Catholic High with a $2500 scholarship. The club also submits their top A.C.E. Award winner to the district competition. Winners at the district level then have an opportunity to compete for the National A.C.E. Award.
The Freedom Shrine is an impressive, permanently mounted collection of 30 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address. They show our nation's youth the strength and courage of their forefathers by allowing them to read, with their own eyes, the immortal words of inspired Americans who so decisively changed the course of history.
Each December before Christmas, the Breakfast Exchange Club treats over 50 children, who have been selected by the Salvation Army, to a $125 shopping spree at a local department store. We purchase necessary clothing, like jackets, gloves, and boots to keep them warm during Montana winters. We also purchase other essential clothes such as jeans, shoes, socks, and pajamas for these children.
Also in December, the Breakfast Exchange Club treats senior citizens to a tour of the Christmas lights illuminating homes and businesses in the Billings area. Three to five busloads depart for this fun event.
This exclusive Exchange Club program honors the quiet, good deeds of America's unsung heroes. The woman who regularly donates her time to care for disadvantaged children – the man who voluntarily instructs disabled persons in some skill or craft – these are the kinds of exceptional individuals that the Book of Golden Deeds Award aims to recognize. These extraordinary men and women exist in every community and might not otherwise be recognized for their tiring efforts.
At our breakfast meeting on May 27, 2022, we were proud to present the 2022 Book of Golden Deeds award to Yvonne Ray. In 2002 Yvonne was instrumental in acquiring the funding, by her employer Kampgrounds of America, Inc. for the upper grade playground at Ponderosa School in Billings, and is currently working on the school's new project of funding a playground for the Kindergarten through 2nd grade children.
Yvonne was awarded $500 to be donated to the cause, and in honor of Yvonne's dedication to Ponderosa, KOA CEO Toby O'Rourke announced that KOA is donating the remaining necessary funds to complete this worthy project. KOA has been a partner in education with Ponderosa school for 20 plus years, and is committed to seeing Ponderosa school have a proper playground for the elementary grades.
Congratulations Yvonne, and thank you and KOA for your service to our community! Yvonne is pictured with Ponderosa Principal, Clay Herron, KOA CEO, Toby O'Rourke, and some of her fellow employees from KOA.