Our programming team is continuously developing new, creative ways to recruit teens from the community. We know that our programs and mentorship provide crucial support, and the more teens we can draw to our clubs, the deeper the impact we can have. So Friday, October 11th, Seidman Center hosted its much anticipated Teen Party event.
In addition to aiding recruitment efforts, regular celebrations for teens support one of our core beliefs – to give youth opportunities to lead, share ideas, and be recognized. For each teen party, we empower our Keystone Clubs, an association of teen members working to develop leadership skills through community service, to plan and organize the event. From the food we provide to the activities we facilitate, the decision making and organization are all done by our teen leaders.
Responding to the requests of our Keystone Club, staff and teens worked together to provide our teen members with activities tailored to kids of diverse interests. Music and dancing, the headline event, drew the largest crowd, but henna and face paint provided by our art team gave our more artistically inclined members time to express themselves and build relationships with each other. Meanwhile, in the gym, Seidman Gym Coordinator Gene McCully facilitated a 3-on-3 basketball tournament that brought in 8 teams. After two hours of intense, hard-nosed play, first, second, and third place teams left the club with sore legs, pride, and bags full of candy. Staff from our Steil and Paul I. Phillips Clubs transported their teen members to the event at Seidman, helping to build ties between teens from different parts of the community.
We were grateful for the support from key community partners. Dre Inspires, a company run by a former staff member at Seidman, deejayed the event, creating a light show and dance floor that kept the kids on their feet for the duration of the party. Officer Mike Harris, whose connections to the community are the stuff of lore, reached deep into his address book to find Ms. Josie, a local caterer who graciously made tacos for over 100 people at a discounted price, to rave reviews.
Altogether, the celebration at Seidman Center brought in over 30 new memberships, a wildly successful turnout. But this is when the real work begins. Fun parties and celebrations bring the community in, but it’s the relationships, the mentorship, and the interest-based programming that help us fulfill our mission.