For many youth today, the transition from childhood to adulthood is a challenging one. This journey requires youth ages 8-17 to understand and manage such things as physical changes in their bodies, friendships and relationships with others, greater freedom and responsibility in personal decisions and increased peer and social pressure. Through the Boys & Girls Clubs Healthy Lifestyles initiative, we are developing young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, help set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults. To help make this transition a positive and healthy one, Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley implements comprehensive programs for boys and girls called Passport to Manhood and SMART Girls.
Through these programs boys and girls learn the meaning of being a responsible person and how to contribute to their community through a series of lessons, group discussions, positive reinforcement and mentorship. Youth are engaged
By addressing problems before they occur, intervening early to change risky behaviors and providing mentoring relationships to develop healthy skills, the comprehensive programs we provide gives youth a voice, a continuum of services as they develop, and a safe forum to process issues and solve problems collaboratively.
“Teaching youth to just say no, doesn’t work anymore, the choices and challenges youth are faced with today can lead to unhealthy life altering consequences,” said Rashell Brobst, Chief Executive Officer. “We have a responsibility to our youth to be there guiding them to make good choices and support their developmental needs. The strength of our services is that we meet the needs of the whole child and build mentoring relationships with each of our Club members, giving them tools to make healthy and wise decisions.”
Joe Hejl, Chief Operations Officer says, “that regardless of gender, the developmental ages of 8 through 18 are critical. Youth’s bodies start to change, their relationships start to change and they go from learning from their parents to learning from their peers to figure out who they are and where they belong. The natural progression can make preteens and teens feel alone and confused, which makes programs such as SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood critical.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley has been at the forefront of youth development in Butte County for 20 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. The Club is open year round with programs that emphasize character and leadership development, education and career enhancement, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
2 SMART Girls quotes:
Felicity, 12 – “My favorite part of the program is the staff. SMART Girls helps me learn about what is going to happen in life and doing the right thing. Because of SMART Girls I am choosing better friends and friends that aren’t rude to me anymore. My favorite session was when I got to teach a class about friendship and choosing the right friends even if they are different or have a disability because I have a disability.”
Anissa, 12 – “Through SMART Girls I’ve gotten to know other girls and know that they are going through the same things that I am going through. I’ve learned how to handle things better as they happen in my life. My favorite activity was when we did a self-portrait and everyone went around and wrote what they liked about each person. Before SMART Girls I used to be worried and self-conscience about what others thought about me and now I just brush it off.”
2 Passport to Manhood quotes:
Doug, 10 – “I’ve learned that it‘s okay to be different from everybody else and it’s okay to just be you. My favorite session was on going down the right path as you take on more responsibilities and mature. I’ve learned how important it is to be responsible, loyal, mature and speak up for myself. Because of Passport to Manhood I think that I have changed my attitude and I act more mature.
Ernesto, 12 – “Passport to Manhood has helped me deal with anger and how to become a good person. The lessons I’ve learned is that a little goes a long way and that you get out what you give. The change that I have seen in myself is that I don’t get as angry for no reason and I am helping out others and the community.”