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May 24, 2011

Free Summer Camp

Filed under: Teens — Sue Dirosario @ 11:09 am

Rockland After-School Alliance (RASA) is gearing up for its third summer of
free day camp for Rockland-area youth. There are exciting program offerings this
year as well as schedule changes.

Programs will begin July 5th and are open to current Rockland
District Middle School students. We will welcome out of area
5th-8th grade students on a space-available basis. Camps
will run at RDMS five days a week through August 12th. Participants
sign up for one week at a time. Campers may choose one week of camp, or all six.
Youth also have a choice of a morning or afternoon session (but not both).
Morning camp will run from 9:00am to 12:00pm and the afternoon session will
begin at 1:00pm and end at 4:00pm. “We are very excited about this new
schedule,” says Club Coordinator Christy Monroe. “Having morning and afternoon
sessions will allow us to accommodate families’ schedules more easily, while
allowing us to serve twice as many kids.”

Encourage you camper to pick a track—or focus area—for each week of camp
based on their interests. Bobcat kids will play field games and sports. Fox kids
will engage in creative art activities. Moose kids will spend their time
volunteering in the community. Visit www.youthlinksonline.org/RASA
for complete program descriptions and registration information.

RASA, a 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, is a
partnership between Youthlinks, a program of Broadreach Family & Community
Services, and RSU 13.

May 13, 2011

Youthlinks teaches responsibility and teamwork to middle school students

Filed under: Teens — Sue Dirosario @ 8:06 pm

For four years, Youthlinks has been teaching local middle schools classes
using a curriculum called Lions Quest, a program based on the promotion the
positive potential of all youth, character development, personal responsibility,
and prevention.  This year, Youthlinks Program Manager Caitlin Schick has been
utilizing Lions Quest with fifth graders in Joanna Duke’s health classes at
Rockland District Middle School.  Together, the classes have been looking at
issues like productive teamwork, demonstrating positive listening skills, and
promoting a safe classroom environment.

 

For most young students, the experience of going to school presents many more
weighty challenges than just tests and homework.  Students have to integrate a
litany of social and emotional information on a daily basis while concurrently
trying to focus on what is being offered in the classroom. Navigating social
expectations which dictate behavior and conformity, learning on how to
communicate with teachers and follow school rules, dealing with bullying or peer
pressure, and trying to process hardships or stress happening at home all take
considerable attention away from academics.  However, just like mathematics or
literacy, core social and emotional skills like positive decision  making,
setting goals, processing stress, and working cooperatively with others hold
lifelong value.  These latter skills help students develop ways to cope with the
everyday intensity of being an adolescent, allowing them a little more mental
energy to tackle their studies.

 

Schick puts emphasis on these life lessons by making them fun and engaging.
Classes begin with a group game requiring teamwork to get students ready to
participate in class lessons. Working together in a fun way allows students to
drop their guard a little with one another and be receptive to listening and
cooperation.  Lions Quest classes differ from most academic classes because as
Schick tells students “You are already the expert in your life.  I am not here
to teach you about you. Instead, I will be asking for you to think about the
things you experience, and we will work together on developing skills that help
us make good choices around the challenges we face every day.”  There are no
wrong answers, and everyone is asked to participate in discussions using first
person experiences and thoughts.  Because so much of Lions Quest classes are
routed in personal sharing, Schick emphasizes the importance of creating a safe
classroom together as a platform for this different type of group learning.  As
one student summarized, “[In Lions Quest] we learned how to work with each other
and not argue, and the importance of teamwork and having fun together.”

 

The ultimate goal of Lions Quest and Youthlinks alike is to create a
community that supports the development of capable, and caring young people with
strong character.  Starting in the classroom by strengthening social skills and
emotional resiliency not only helps students thrive in their personal lives but
their academic lives as well.  If students can learn to value themselves, feel
respected by peers, and see adults as allies, the hope is that this combination
carries beyond Lions Quest and into the rest of their lives.

 

Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services located
in Rockland that provides community service, leadership and enrichment
opportunities to youth ages 11-17 in mid-coast Maine. These programs help youth
learn skills, build self-esteem, cultivate social responsibility, develop
leadership abilities and connect to their peers, to adult mentors, and to their
communities. Youthlinks is funded by grants and the generous donations of
individuals and businesses. All programs are free for participating youth.

Youthlinks Afterschool Programs Teach Civic Responsibility

Filed under: Teens — Sue Dirosario @ 8:03 pm

There are lots of extracurricular activities that students can choose do
after school, from organized sports to piano lessons to babysitting, but this
winter six students at Troy Howard Middle School chose to spend their Thursdays
engaging in community service, through Youthlinks’ Community Service Club. Over
the course of nine weeks, the 6th and 7th graders found a
variety of ways to meaningfully engage  with other members of their local
community and the wider circle of the world. The students’ first mission in the
club was to make a meal for the St. Francis Soup Kitchen located in the Belfast
Community Center. After a fieldtrip to the soup kitchen the students spent 2
hours making an enormous quantity of meatballs and pasta sauce for a pasta
dinner. In the weeks following, they baked cat and dog treats and delivered them
to the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League, where they spent the afternoon
socializing with cats and walking dogs awaiting adoption. It was a particularly
cold day and while walking a very small shivering dog, it was touching to
witness the students’ empathy as they scooped her up and took turns tucking her
in their jackets until they were able to get back to the shelter. The students
also made recycled crayons and drew coloring pages for a preschool classroom at
Broadreach’s all-inclusive preschool program, visiting the next week to lead a
coloring activity and spend some time acting as mentors to younger kids. In
addition, participants made thank-you cards for soldiers serving overseas and a
large pot of soup for an empty bowl dinner fundraiser. For the last meeting the
group broadened the scope of their service by discussing the recent natural
disaster in Japan and folding paper cranes for the Students Rebuild project,
which donated $2 to reconstruction in Japan for every paper crane made and
mailed to their organization.
Youthlinks’ spring program just got underway as well—another
community-service oriented program called “Play With Your Food.” This program is
a collaboration between Youthlinks and Broadreach’s all-inclusive preschool
program located at Mill Lane in Belfast. Youthlinks participants from Troy
Howard are meeting each week to plan healthy, creative snacks for preschoolers
and an activity to accompany the snack. In their first week together, the
students had a great time teaching the preschoolers how to make a fruit-face
snack. The objective is for both the younger and older kids to see that eating
healthy foods can in fact be tasty and fun. So far, the students seem to
agree.

The Play With Your Food program is currently meeting Thursdays 2:30-5pm,
through June 9th.  All Youthlinks programs are free and open to all
students ages 12-15. For more information or to register a student, contact
Ashley at 975-3878.
Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services located
in Rockland that provides youth with community service, leadership and
enrichment opportunities. These programs help youth learn skills, build
self-esteem, cultivate social responsibility, develop leadership abilities and
connect to their peers, to adult mentors, and to their communities. Youthlinks
is funded primarily by state grants and the generous donations of individuals,
businesses, and foundations. All Youthlinks programs are free for participating
youth. For more information, visit www.youthlinksonline.org, or call 207-594-2221
207-594-2221.