As January begins, we turn to our list of resolutions for the new year that unfolds. Unlike the personal goals that all too easily fall to the wayside, i.e. abandoning chocolate, gluten, or whatever challenges call us, the resolutions we set for our service to kids and teens will not be allowed to falter or fail.
What’s on our list for 2016?
We resolve that, with member safety as the backdrop for everything we do, this is the YEAR of the TEEN. While in an ideal world all children would be well on their way to 21st century success by their teens, we will work to draw in those who are not. When local studies point to age 14 as the number one year for dropping out of high school, we must try to reach these young people and supplement what they are getting in school and at home. The ability to read and comprehend, so fundamental that many of us cannot even imagine its lack, is a critical area where we can help.
Therefore we resolve to launch the Leadership Learning Institute – LLI. “ Read. Lead. Get Degreed.” With tweens and teens, caring staff will use proven interactive technology and activities that are ‘Fun with a Purpose’ to help increase reading skills. We will weave this theme into as many of our offerings as possible, including our unique STEAM programming where we incorporate the arts to demystify math and science.
We resolve to shine a light on our work with girls; we will expand our “ Fearless Girls make Fearless Women” series. The lack of self-esteem we encounter in too many of our middle and high schoolers can be a chilling precursor to poor choices and unwanted outcomes. In this time of national attention to the issue, we seek to partner with serious, like-minded organizations for the advantage of our Club members.
Recognizing each member has a different level of interest and athletic ability, we resolve to help address obesity and healthy lifestyles by creating internal sports leagues. Organization-wide sports and fitness opportunities promote diversity as well, bringing Clubs together from our entire footprint.
We resolve to be a good partner, steward, and agent of change. We will be good listeners – to our members, parents, staff and volunteers, to all who offer opportunity for the youth we serve.
To the staff who are the bedrock of our success, the volunteers who work beside them, and to all whose financial and in-kind support make it possible, I thank you and look forward to an impactful year. If you’re reading this and trying to make your own resolutions about where to make a difference in 2016, I invite you to visit a Club.  Meet the young person who will inspire you to help build a great future!
In the spirit of making dreams possible, on behalf of the 1100 kids and teens who walk through our doors each day, I wish you a happy, healthy, and inspired, new year.