Plan for More Youth Programs
Plan for More Youth Programs
In Hart County Georgia; there are several empty county owned buildings, yet there is a lack of activities or activity space for the youth in the community. Currently, Hart County only has one YMCA and it is open to anyone throughout the state, a recreation department that does not allow kids over the age of twelve to participate in the sports. It is seen every day that the youth are put in adult situations they should not be in if they had activities to do. This is an issue that the community would like to see changed. Using these old buildings for youth centers; would allow the youth in this community grow up without gang relations, criminal records, drug addictions, or “bad reputations”, giving them a place, they can go to be with their friends. A place that allows them to be young but also helps them build on their futures.
The idea is for these facilities to be run by volunteers within the community. With fundraisers, bake sales, food drives and other resources a youth center can be very successful in Hart County. If the community comes together and shows they are wanting to make this change happen the youth will see that they have not been brushed off as another lost cause.
According to Weintraub, having after school programs that help with homework and activities such as games, crafts, and sports encourage the youth to stay out of trouble. It is seen often that the teens in Hart County are out stealing, fighting and getting arrested due to being bored after school and on the weekends. Weintraub’s study shows; “Philadelphia’s department of recreation, recognizing that most “negative behavior” and violence takes place after school hours, invites youths into 100 recreation centers between 3 and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The youngsters receive homework assistance, play games, participate in sports and arts programming, and receive healthy snacks.” (Weintraub, 2009). This article helps prove that the reuse of county property to keep the youth in the community safe and out of trouble is worth trying.
During the summer of 2008, the city of Denver offered free access for children seventeen and under to all recreation centers and parks. “waiving the annual membership fee that proved onerous for many poorer youngsters. Jill McGranahan, the department’s communications director, says Denver police reported a thirty percent drop in youth crime, including violent crime, that summer.” (Weintraub, 2009). If allowing the youth access to the parks and centers for free dropped the number of crimes in just one summer, imagine what it can do for the youth year-round.
Once you have the attention of today’s youth they will want you to continue having a positive mind set. “An exploratory study suggested that youth in programs develop a sense of responsibility through a sequence of facing demanding expectations—and then sticking with and fulﬁlling them. Participation in most after-school programs is voluntary and experienced as intrinsically motivating, yet at the same time program activities are typically structured and demanding.” (Salusky, Larson, Griffith, Wu, Raffaelli, Sugimaura, & Guzman 2014). Children and teens want adults to be proud of them, give them praise for doing the right thing, and show them that positive attention is better than negative attention received after getting into trouble. There is a saying that many parents have heard for years, “For every negative thought given to a child, you must tell them three positive things to keep them from falling again.” I myself try to use that while around young children as well as teens. Encouragement can go a long way with teens. “Many youths expressed initial excitement with their role or obligations, but at some point nearly all experienced challenges and strain.” (Salusky, Larson, Griffith, Wu, Raffaelli, Sugimaura, & Guzman 2014). Some may want to be treated as adults but are not yet ready to act accordingly. Having programs that show them how to handle day to day activities as they get closer to becoming an adult should keep them focused and on the correct paths in life. “People “become responsible by successfully and repeatedly carrying out responsibilities” (Wood et al., 2009, p. 296). This process appears to be facilitated by structured expectations within institutions and relationships.” (Salusky, Larson, Griffith, Wu, Raffaelli, Sugimaura, & Guzman 2014).
Programs offered to the youth after school, show to be in favor of proving that the youth can be benefitting from having something to do with their time. Rather than getting into trouble the youth programs are giving them hope for a better future. According to the Boys and Girls Club of America, children that attend programs regularly are doing better than those their age across the nation that do not. Statistics show that “68% of Club 12th graders volunteer at least once per month, while 39% of 12th graders nationally do so. 91% of Club ninth graders report abstaining from alcohol, compared to 77% of ninth graders nationally. 91% of Club ninth graders report abstaining from marijuana use vs. 85% of ninth graders nationally.27% of Club girls in middle school are physically active each day, compared with 23% of middle-school girls nationally. 42% of Club boys in middle school exercise daily, while 37% of middle-school boys nationally do so. 73% of low-income Club members ages 12 to 17 who attend the Club regularly report receiving mostly As and Bs, compared to 69% of their peers nationally. 12th-grade Club members are more than twice as likely to express an interest in a STEM career as 12th graders nationally (56% of 12th-grade Club members vs. 25% of 12th graders nationally).” (bgca.org).
The Boys and Girls Club of America also provide programs to the youth that give help them build careers for themselves from the age of thirteen. “Career Launch prepares teens for the world of careers and work. Through Career Launch, Club teens thirteen to eighteen years old embark on a journey to explore possible vocations, make sound educational decisions and find success in the world of work, Junior Staff is a small-group program that is both practical and user friendly. It assists Club members ages thirteen to eighteen in exploring a career in youth or human services, particularly Boys & Girls Club work.” (bgca.org.).
In conclusion, this essay was to show that allowing the youth in this community grow up without gang relations, criminal records, drug addictions, or “bad reputations”, giving them a place, they can go to be with their friends. Giving them a place that allows them to be young but also helps them build on their futures would not only benefit them but would benefit their families as well as the community. As a community we need to stop giving the youth a reason to get into trouble, we need to give them a place to think of as their second home when they need help with homework, or someone to help them practice a sport.
Weintraub, B. (2009). New Weapons in the Fight Against Gangs. Parks & Recreation, 44(11), 46. Retrieved May 13, 2018 from: https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=70ddffdc-e4c7-4178-813c-2db93f713fd5%40sessionmgr101
Salusky, I., Larson, R. W., Griffith, A., Wu, J., Raffaelli, M., Sugimura, N., & Guzman, M. (2014). How Adolescents Develop Responsibility: What Can Be Learned From Youth Programs. Journal Of Research On Adolescence (Wiley-Blackwell), 24(3), 417-430. Retrieved May 14, 2018 from:https://web-b-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=14&sid=e830d3b7-a1ac-450e-bb45-c22cf0d907ea%40sessionmgr103
BGCA – Boys & Girls Club Impact. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2018, from https://www.bgca.org/about-us/club-impact