Guest Blogger Brady Peck, Rec & Ed Camp Specialist
Making important decisions is usually thought of as a pinnacle of adulthood. Thinking back to your teenage years, did you ever have the opportunity to make important decisions? Now I’m not talking about whether to take an AP class, take a 7th hour, or enjoy a Ferris Bueller style escapade but rather the important decisions that help guide institutions and make the world a better place for everyone. Rec & Ed is enabling teens to make these decisions with the help and support of the Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth, or WACY.
WACY is a community collaborative that provides support and training to local organizations in order to improve the quality of programming and opportunities for youth in the community. WACY teaches best practice methods from the Weikert Center for Youth Program Quality that train adults to serve as mentors and supporters rather than as bosses and authoritarians. Recently I attended a WACY workshop and have had the opportunity to implement some of their methods.
During the workshop I attended three sessions: Structure and Clear Limits, Active Learning and Youth Voice. By far, the most I took away was from the Youth Voice session. The session accentuated the fact that youth and teens rarely have opportunities to lead and guide anything and more often than not go through adolescence without having any chance to learn how to and actually make important decisions. The session led to the idea and implementation of the teen Volunteer Leadership Committee as a guiding team for Rec & Ed’s High School Volunteer Program, or HSVP.
|Two of Rec & Ed's High School Volunteers|
Since its inception 4 years ago, the HSVP has been run solely by Rec & Ed staff. The teen Leadership Committee will work with staff to develop a mission statement for the program and help train and lead the volunteers. This exciting opportunity for our next generation of leaders will instill values and responsibilities that will help strengthen the Ann Arbor community. Our Volunteer Leaders are made up of students from Pioneer, Huron, Skyline, Community, Washtenaw Technical Middle College, and Arbor Preparatory.
This diverse leadership team brings a multitude of experiences to the High School Volunteer Program. Some of their experiences include: serving as co-chair for the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation’s Youth Council, Treasurer of Huron’s Model United Nations Club, co-founder and Treasurer of 100 Donors Strong and co-founder of the Huron Women in Science and Engineering Club. This amazing group of teen leaders is building a foundation to help make Ann Arbor a nurturing environment for youth development.
While the Volunteer Leadership team has already been selected, we are still looking for volunteers for this summer. Volunteering with Rec & Ed’s summer camps gives teens valuable interpersonal and organizational experiences that may help them land a job or get into college. Our flexible schedule allows volunteers to volunteer at camps that they have an interest in while supporting Rec & Ed programs. After volunteering for a summer, volunteers are eligible to apply for the Volunteer Leadership Committee.
Learn more about the High School Volunteer Program here.
The High School Volunteer Program application is available here.