Within the first couple of weeks of the opening of the Boys & Girls Club of Allendale County, we were having some behavior and attitude issues with the members. We talked to them how this Club is a privilege and not a right. To bring home the point, we gave them an assignment to tell us why they want to be in the Boys & Girls Club (the younger ones worked in groups with leader help, the older ones had to write a half-page, and some who were suspended had to write a full page before they could come back).
I am definitely saving these assignments, as they will be a huge encouragement to me when things don’t go well. Below are some members’ excerpts (excuse the typos and grammar – some may be mine). Most of these will make you smile, but some will break your heart.
“I will like to be in the boys and girls club because it keep me out of trouble and to meet new people. And so my mom can have some fun [while] we are gone cause we just mess up the house. I want to chase my dream because I want to be a football player.” (K.S.)
“The reason I want to be in the boys and girls club is because every day when I come home I have nothing to do but watch TV and walk around the house, and in boys and girls club I have a lot of things to do. . . . But we cannot fight in class because if you do you can’t come back. I love to come here, and I love everyone who work here.” (K.F.)
“To play and have fun.” (most common answer)
“The reason why I want to be in boys and girls is to help my future. And to improve my bad attitudes. Also to straighten up my grades in certain things. To not pick on other people but encourage other people. To not bring down no one’s feelings. And I need to help others.” (J.C.)
“Learn about respect, ownership, and attitude.” (D.O.)
“I wanted to join the Boys and Girls because it is a positive place to be. Because coming here kept me from being home bored so I could have fun. . . . I can play basketball, football, and dodgeball with other kids. I can also have fun with the kids by helping them with their homework. . . While I was at the Boys & Girls I experienced things that I can make the kids laugh while I was helping them with their work and telling them not to pick on each other because it could hurt someone’s feelings and they listened to me.” (B.S.)
“I want to enjoy your activities. I want to meet new people. I like to talk about things. Everyone gets to go outside. We will all dream big. You all are very nice. You really taught me a lot.” (R.P.)
“I would like to meet new people.” (another common answer)
“I love the Boys and Girls club. I get to play around and learn how to do my homework. . . . I will never forget the day I came here to learn and to have respect.” (J.F.)
“I want to be here because I think it is fun especially when we go outside. I want to be here because I want to get my homework done without my brother being loud. I want to be here because I heard that it would be really fun playing football and basketball. I want to be here because I want to meat [sic] new people.” (J.R.)
“Smile and have fun.” (Z.D.)
“The reason I want to be in the boys and girls club is because we get to meet new people and I want to be a part of something. This is a very fun place to be too. And we get to play fun games like four square and “lava lava you’re out” and the best thing of all is we get to go outside and play football and Mr. Joey is a pretty good quarterback. When he throws the football it goes all the way in the air. We have very fun with the different leaders and my favorite two are Ms. Vicky and Mr. Ed.” (T.J.)
“To get away from home.” (M.R.)