The Boys and Girls Club of America helps thousands of Americans each year as a daycare, escape from home, way to meet new friends or to eat a sustainable meal that they wouldn’t be able to get at home. Another way that the Boys and Girls Club benefits kids is by having organized sports where the players can develop competitiveness, teamwork and become coachable. As someone who volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club I am able to experience all of the good that goes on both within and outside of business hours.
As I wrap up my high school career and go on to the next stage in my life I often find yself looking back at not only those who helped shaped me into the person I am today but also the extracurricular activities I participated in. The Boys and Girls Club is one thing that continually pops into my head with the activities I partook in as well as the children and adults alike, without these experiences I would not have devolved my love for basketball, been so willing to give back to the community, or have been showed the do’s and don’ts of parenting.
For as long as I can remember I have always loved basketball. My earliest basketball memory happened at the Boys and Girls Club in second grade. I hit 3 buzzer beaters in one game while two of the shots were thrown like a baseball instead of the shot like a basketball. Ten years later this is not only my first memory but my also my proudest memory. I know I am not the only one who first devolved their love of the game at the Boys and Girls Club because I see it each and every day while volunteering there. As soon as the kids arrive they run to the gym and ask if they can get a basketball and start shooting.
The athletic and the not so athletic kids both race to the ball closet hoping to get their hands on the ball first. Most of the kids that are racing to play with the basketball just finished their basketball season at the Boys and Girls Club and cannot wait for it to start again next season. I was fortunate enough to run the scoreboard for a few Saturdays throughout the season and I was able to see the faces of the kids after they scored and the crowd of parents and grandparents alike erupt after someone scored.
These few Saturdays allowed me to sit back and reminisce on how much fun it was just to play the game free and relaxed in an environment like the Boys and Girls Club. While volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club I have been able to coach the kids on how to shoot if they are beginners as well as playing against the older kids who have been playing all their life. While coaching the kids, I have found that I need to improve my patients because they cannot learn and execute it to perfection immediately.
While volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club I experience firsthand how fortunate some kids are compared to others. Many of these kids come from low income broken families. There are a few but too many cases of mom and dad being unable to take care of the child causing he or she o live with grandma and grandpa or aunt and uncle. These unfortunate kids are the ones who misbehave the most with little respect for authority and the inability to interact with other kids. These few examples are why I have become more involved in the community and in the clubs at school.
I am involved in the Thirst Project which builds freshwater wells across the world. Through the Thirst Project I have participated in different events as well as going to different businesses to try and get donations. My involvement in the Thirst Project has really grown since I started volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club because I am able to see how important it is for these kids to get food because their economic circumstances at home may not allow for it. This is much more drastic in the places where the Thirst Project is trying to build the wells because of how contaminated their water is.
There is a constant struggle to decide between drinking the polluted water and getting a disease or not drinking the water and run the risk of dehydration. Apart from the school based clubs I have been fortunate enough to help with multiple baseball camps both through the High School and the Little League. While working at the summer baseball camp at Memorial Park I was able to interact with kids ages 4-12. We ran through drills for the first three days and then supervised games on the last two days.
I was able to instruct the kids individually on the fundamentals while trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for them. I have also volunteered to help with the Little League tryouts because I remember seeing high schoolers at my little tryouts and wanting to model myself after them. If I am able to influence just a few kids to be more active physically as well as be a good role odel, then my time of two or three hours has been worth it. The biggest and most important information I have learned is how to be a better father.
Children today are being born into situations where they can’t win. This has nothing to do with money or material wealth but everything to do with the parents themselves. Some of these kids have abusive or neglecting parents causing them to be mentally damaged causing the lack of communication skills, respect, and confusion. If the parents of the child acts in a negative way, then that child will then act in a negative way causing he or she to be confused when told by nother adult that those actions are unacceptable.
The lack of respect shown unfathomable in today’s kids with very few ways of disciplining causing it to get worse and worse each day. They will look at you in the eyes and tell you no, talk back and mock you. They don’t care if they get put in timeout for ten to fifteen minutes, get kicked out of an activity, or told to run because they know that they can refuse with little to no consequences. This lack of respect is a reflection of the parents and their values. I know that I need to instill into my child that adults are n authority and need to be respected no matter if the other kids are or not.
There are a few kids there who have worthy parents and it shows because of how they react to seeing each other while they are leaving. When the kids come, and start smiling and quickly start telling their parent about their day then you know that there is love and respect coming from the child towards the parents. The most telling sign of a good parent to child relationship is when the parent is attentive and gives feedback on the child’s day. On other days, these same parents might come in and discipline them for getting in trouble at chool or for not completing his or her homework.
After seeing this I am able to understand why these kids are the best behaved and are most advance when communicating with others. The Boys and Girls Club is a great opportunity for both the youth as well as the volunteers to gain experience, skills and outlooks on life. For me after working at the Boys and Girls Club allowed me to regain my love for basketball, learn how to be a better father, and a desire to help in the community. I am grateful for the children and fellow volunteers for making my volunteering a privilege each and every day.