What Kids Need More than SCYM

Fresh off the presses! Today over on the west side of Springfield, Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs kicked off with a full house of kids in a brand new location: Maiden Lane Church of God.

We’re thrilled for lots of reasons:
— Kids on the west side of Springfield now have a Camp Boost close to them
— A whole new team of people is giving kids a summer reading boost
— More kids than ever are going to be part of Camp Boost this summer

But there’s one big reason why we’re thrilled to be partnering with our friends at Maiden Lane: Because kids who are vulnerable don’t just need a nonprofit. They need a family.

Kids need people who will love them, who will walk alongside them not just for a week or a month but for years. Kids need people who will share hope with them and help them grow in wisdom and maturity.

Guess what? That kind of family exists — in the Church!

The reality is that SCYM staff, even when you include several hundred volunteers each year, can’t possibly mentor and disciple long-term the more than 500 kids that come through our doors. We can’t follow kids for years as they graduate and become young adults and have kids of their own. But that’s exactly what the Church is designed to do.

So our favorite thing about Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs is that when they are over, kids who don’t have a church can come back on a Sunday and find a family who will continue to love them, walk alongside them, and share the hope of Jesus with them.

Because a week of reading clubs is great, but a spiritual family for a lifetime is priceless.

Here’s our full list of church program partners:
Clifton Avenue Church of God
High Street Nazarene
Maiden Lane Church of God
Southgate Baptist Church
St. John Missionary Baptist Church
Westside Christian Community

Thank you to each and every church that joins up with SCYM to serve our kids — and to help them find not just a program but a home — this year.

2017 Camp Boost Registration is Now Open!

Registration for Camp Boost Summer Reading Clubs is now open! Camp Boost is free for any child age 4 through 5th grade completed (entering 6th grade). We’ve got a great lineup of clubs that will make reading fun, along with games, activities, breakfast and lunch, and learning from the Bible.

Camp Boost at Maiden Lane, June 26-30, 10:00-1:00: Click here to register

Camp Boost at High Street Nazarene, July 10-14, 9:00-12:30: Click here to register

Camp Boost at Clifton Avenue Church of God, July 17-21, 10:00-1:00: Click here to register

Camp Boost at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, July 24-28, 9:00-12:00: Click here to register

Want to join the Camp Boost team? We need teachers, classroom assistants, food team, registration help, and more! Learn more about getting involved with Camp Boost this summer.

Questions? Call the SCYM office at (937) 325-6183 or email scyministries@gmail.com

Buy a product; spark a dream

When we look around our city, it’s easy to spot the things we don’t want for our children: Drug addiction. Teen pregnancy. Dropping out of school. Violence. Dead-end futures. We see a headline and shake our heads and say, “Somebody needs to do something.”

The problem is, it’s not as easy as just telling kids not to take a pill or commit a crime. Sure, we should warn kids about things that are dangerous. But if information alone would change every young person’s path, we could just pass out flyers and be done. We all know that’s not enough.

Most kids don’t start using drugs or stop going to school because it seems like a great idea. They do it because they see nothing on the other side that outweighs the short-term good feeling. Most of the time, the kids involved in these dangerous activities don’t see a bright future ahead for themselves.

But on the other side, when young people have a strong sense of who God has created them to be, a vision for what their life can become, and the skills and community support to get there, guess what? They say no to drugs. They go to school. They walk away from that fight.

There’s a fancy term for this approach: Positive Youth Development.  It means we don’t just say “no” to kids, we help them find opportunities to discover who they are and what they love – and in SCYM’s case, the God who shaped them and loves them.

Positive Youth Development can look like many of the activities that we know are good for kids, that were important to many of us growing up: Sports, drama, music, educational pursuits, and so on.

Positive Youth Development is the heart behind many excellent afterschool programs in our city. At the Biz Ba$ics Entrepreneurship Program, Springfield middle school students who have an “entrepreneurial spark” inside them get an opportunity to develop it and let it shine. Students not only learn basic business skills, they also start and run their own small business, make their own product, and earn a profit they get to keep.

If you want to see things change in our community but don’t know how, here’s one really easy avenue: Come to an upcoming Biz Ba$ics Marketplace and buy a product from a Springfield kid. With the few dollars you spend, you’ll be helping to spark dreams and shape a young person’s view of their future.

Come join us at an upcoming Marketplace. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll give Springfield kids a boost!

I hope to see you at a Marketplace soon!

Faith Bosland
Executive Director

“I hope that I can be a positive role model to these guys”

ManPower volunteers gather each week to encourage middle school boys and teach them about what it means to be a Godly man. Here’s what some of them had to say about their time at ManPower:

“I am encouraged seeing these kids become men. My hope for as the guys are getting ready to go into high school is that they are maturing and becoming leaders in and out of the classroom and setting an example for others.” -Eli Worley

“The biggest impression that I have been given is that this is a humbling experience and all these guys are willing to listen.” -Teddy Price

A huge thank you to the Phi Psi fraternity at Wittenberg University, who have been a fantastic support to Manpower. These guys are incredible leaders with big hearts for the community!

ManPower is open to the community! If you’d like to get involved, email Tyler at scyministries@gmail.com.

“If we’re too busy, the drug dealers are ready to take them in.”

Pop quiz: Which group making up 50% of kids in poverty is most likely to:

If you guessed BOYS, you are correct.

Why are teenage boys at greater risk? There’s a lot of research out there about the teenage brain and decision-making that’s helpful, but experience on the front lines with young men tells us even more.

Many boys in our city are growing up without a healthy father figure. Even more struggle with school, get drawn into fighting, and battle society’s stereotypes and street culture.

Manpower Director Tyler Worley puts it this way: “Guys need attention, and if they don’t get it from a healthy source, they’re going to get it from an unhealthy source.”

While we go about our day-to-day lives, guys continue to grow up and make critical choices every day. Tyler puts it this way: “If we’re too busy, the drug dealers are ready to take them in.”

Want to Make a Difference?

An easy way to show up for young men in our city is through SCYM’s Manpower Afterschool Program on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The guys love having men who volunteer to play basketball and talk in small groups with them. (Or destroy some pizzas together, as pictured above.)

Another way to serve is being a Manpower driver or backup driver on Thursday afternoons at 3:45.

Or consider becoming a one-on-one mentor who is matched with one young man to meet weekly on your own schedule. Find out more about being a mentor here.

The average cost for one month of Manpower per student is $25. Want to donate? Click here.  

 

Snapshots of GirlPower Afterschool 2016

January is GirlPower month around here! If you’re new to GirlPower, it’s an afterschool program for Springfield middle school girls that started in 2006. Girls meet once a week at sites around the city to talk, laugh, learn, exercise, and build healthy habits together — with as many as 60 girls a month involved in 2016.

But GirlPower is more than just a program! We hope these snapshots give you a little bit of the essence of GirlPower.

GirlPower is … a place for girls to develop character, take on new goals like running a 5K, and practice leadership skills.

GirlPower is … a place for girls to make friends with girls they wouldn’t normally get to know.

GirlPower is … a place for girls to learn what makes them unique and valuable, and what they have to contribute to their community.

GirlPower is … a place for girls to do fun activities that deepen friendships.

GirlPower is … a place for girls to be themselves!

Interested in being involved? GirlPower meets after school at three sites this semester from 4-6pm:

Mondays – Roosevelt Middle School

Wednesdays – High Street Nazarene (transportation provided from Schaefer Middle School)

Wednesdays – Clifton Avenue Church of God (for Hayward Middle School)

Tuesday YMCA Days will resume in the fall. We’re always looking for more volunteer leaders to join the fun and build relationships with these awesome girls! You can also help by driving on Wednesdays, providing a snack, or teaching a topic you are passionate about. Contact Eryca at SCYMinistries@gmail.com if you’re interested in getting involved!

P.S. Save the Date for the GirlPower 5K! Saturday, April 29, 2017

Meet a Manpower guy!

Name: Anthony
Something I like about Manpower: Playing sports
Something I’ve learned about being a man: You’re not just born with the traits that a man should have, you have to work on them.

Name: Jordan
Something I learn at Manpower: How to be a man
Something that you need to do to be a man: Take responsibility and set your time right

Name: Coleeyon
What I like about Manpower: The lesson
What I’ve learned about being a man: The five pillars – God, family, friends, school or work, and fitness

Anthony, Jordan, and Coleeyon are part of more than 30 Springfield Roosevelt and Schaefer middle school guys who are part of Manpower Afterschool Program each week. They are building relationships and learning lessons that we pray will stay with them to become the young men God has created them to be!

What Went Down this Fall at SCYM (The Story of the Awesome Whirlwind)

Somehow we blinked, and it was December. You’ve probably been saying to yourself, “Why isn’t SCYM following their usual pace of blog posts about kids in Springfield, that I’ve grown to enjoy so much?” No doubt as you settle in with a cup of good coffee, maybe a peppermint mocha, and click our URL to check the latest news, it’s been a sad and disappointing experience.

OK, OK, you haven’t done any of those things. You had no idea that we were backlogged on blogging (backblogged?) until just now. For that matter, we’re backed up on email newsletters too, although there’s no catchy word for that.

But there’s a cool story about why we’re backblogged. Now would be a good time to grab that mocha, and settle in for a good read.

In mid-to-late August, Springfield kids go back to school. You see them traipsing around in the morning and afternoon, with their backpacks, maybe getting on the bus. For SCYM, August is ramp-up time – getting flyers out to families and schools, recruiting new and returning volunteers, planning schedules for the semester, talking with church partners, and gearing up for the start of four afterschool programs at twelve sites – one of which was new. By mid-September, STARS, GirlPower, Manpower, and Biz Ba$ics were ready to go.

Let’s pause right here. To be honest, we never know what’s going to happen next. We don’t know which kids are going to return or sign up for the first time, whether we’ll have exactly the number of volunteers we have on the right days, or exactly how it’s all going to work out. You get everything ready, you do the work, you pray a lot, and then you wait and see what happens.

Unpause. Here’s what happened next: We had an influx of kids, new and returning. A deluge, a flood, an overflow. (Thanks, thesaurus.com.) We broke every record for enrollment at every program, if we were keeping track. We had to split one of our sites into two groups so that we didn’t have to turn away 20 kids.

You may have already seen this chart in our newsletter, but this is what the last three years have looked like for SCYM afterschool programming (not counting Camp Boost, mentoring, or Wise Guys):

afterschool-growth

But here’s the thing. Even though this chart tells a great story that’s got us giving thanks to God, serving in an afterschool program doesn’t look like a chart. It looks like this:

img_4909 img_0127 20161201-dscf6767

 

That number 234? That’s 234 faces, 234 Springfield kids who have names and families and stories. 234 Springfield kids who have a safe place after school, someone who knows them and loves them, new opportunities, and stronger relationships. And hope. Most of all, hope.

Some of these 234 have experienced enormous obstacles – a parent who’s addicted or in prison, homelessness, violence on their street. Some are struggling. Some are doing OK. All of them need a friend.

We are grateful for each and every one of our kids, and for every volunteer and donor and cheerleader and partner who is on the team to serve them.

All together, we’ve served 581 Springfield kids together in 2016 – more than any year since we started in 1998. That’s WE – you, SCYM volunteers, staff, and everyone who’s rallied around these kids with the belief that they matter.

So maybe you’ve already finished that coffee. Thanks for reading the story of Fall 2016, what we now call “Growth Spurt Fall.” There’ve been more than a few growing pains: We’ve had to scramble for drivers, and make a lot of appeals for new volunteers. Our staff and volunteers have stretched more than we probably would have liked.  But we hope you give thanks to God with us for the growth.

Because we don’t doubt for a second that these kids are worth it.

Find the gold in Springfield kids this fall

If you’re like me, watching the Summer Olympics gives you all the feels: Athletes who’ve trained all their lives for this moment, parents and friends who’ve been by their side cheering them on, moments of glory and heartbreak, an athlete standing on the podium listening to their national anthem. We love it not just for the athletic skill, but for the story each individual has.

Dick’s Sporting Goods made this commercial that our staff really loved. It captures those Olympic moments and the potential inside us all. Take a look:

Even though this is just a commercial, it captures a vital truth: There is gold in every one of us, put there by our Creator. (We had no idea about the physical gold, though – that’s just cool.)

There’s gold in Springfield kids, too. The problem is that many of them don’t recognize it in themselves. Sometimes it takes someone else to recognize our gold and help us dig it out.

The best way to help a kid find their gold? Show up for them week after week, get to know them, and let them get to know you. That’s SCYM’s heart. This fall we have four different afterschool programs each week, at multiple locations, that are wonderful opportunities to get to know kids in our city who are just waiting for someone to help them find their gold. How will you help?

13988733_10154461001853685_2005439228_n14030808_10154461001888685_1529830006_nOccasional Basis Volunteer Opportunities