Focus on the Upstate 83 - YMCA of Greenville - 12/10/17

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, December 10th

Teen Services Director Mary Capers Bledsoe and Teen Achievers Program Director Reagan Thompson enlighten us on the youth development opportunities at the YMCA of Greenville, including Teen Achievers program, Youth in Government, and more.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the our state a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans today my guests are from the YMCA we have Mary keepers Bledsoe the executive director of the teen services branch good morning Mary good morning capers and Diaz as I understand it is double nine double name that's fine Mary keepers and that's it. Keep that in mind. And Reagan Tom send the Mateen achievers program director good morning rank and him aren't just 1 name free this morning opening one and a good. I think you ladies for being here you're from the YMCA and a lot of people will recognize that organization that the probably because of the song and have. Fifteen you he can even a set assess how much free promotion that has been over thirty years. Diet and so much and I'll tell you that though the YMCA of the USA. A few decades ago actually issued. But essentially a policy statement embracing it read it right because you know wasn't originally a song created hotlines yet knows just Lee near the village I was village they both hands on. Yes you know legally claim that and we close all of the dances that we do with how high school a middle school students and our teen services branch. The end of every dance is YMCA. So that's how they know it's over no malice at all Connecticut instead you have to go home Jihad here again. So happy mound but the YMCA. A lot of people recognize the name for whatever reason. But the first question that I normally start with is what edu and who you do it forces tell us about the YMCA. And and what you do and how he serve the upstate community sharp. General ray and I but port for the YMCA green bowl. And we work in a branch and a lot of times you think of a branch of the wire you think of the why has. As a place to go it's a place to run as for your child to learn to slam it's a place to gather tit Kutcher child's basketball team GM's then as you know didn't work out around I believe they ask you this women's a place to get get help the right it's a place to get fit and it and is all of that is all of that. But what the Y really is as community service organization can and we did three things that we we say we are for use development we have four healthy living and more for social responsibility. So you know that's a that's what it is purely. Everything we did development healthy healthy living and social response as socialist you know source of the GM's kind of broad cover that healthy living decades right item pops and then some youth development at any programming that's going on the sure I but you were specifically the two of you are associated with a teen services branch which is not a gem that they're not asked and I guess more focused on the use development and social social responsibility possibility. So our branch works specifically wed. Teens and by that we mean middle and high school students to teen services branch team that was an interesting change in that funny that we did. Com and on and we work in the community and our community is bad upstate. And actually means the entire state we okay we run two programs one is called teen achievers. And one is using government rerun the youth in government program for the entire state of South Carolina. And that's another one that a lot of people might recognize may remember it from when they were nice trainer these kids may be involved in it now. I didn't realize that was part of the of the why. That is it is and that's that's something that we're constantly trying to help inform our our particular our parents. And our families that his his children participate anything government because actually buzz of our presidents with teenage neighbors in with you than government. We partner almost exclusively with schools so our programs are offered the root our partner schools so. If your child is involved in anything government you may know it has an extracurricular. At your child's school and that may be culminates in some big field trip to Colombia where they take over the state house right. But you might not realize that this is a Y program it's actually a national Y program and our youth and government program is actually the third largest in the nation really that yeah how crazy yeah. Do you mean did he die of Saber river South Carolina are finally ready for this South Carolina so the South Carolina using government at armour won a 48 Ethan government programs nationally. And we have a third largest in the nation wow that's impressive thing Els he mentioned why do Greeneville. And this show is called focus on the upstate do you cover more than just Greenville or of their other branches of the Y in other Blix Spartanburg Anderson. Right right end and the white Pringles Serbs we have we have service areas and there's this is a wines in Spartanburg that is our. Her sister are fellow YMCA and they serve Spartanburg potential white green able serves serves Greenville county I'm all the way yet to can't bring all that's one of our branches to study that actually. Travel a little bit to not care. Landing right thirteen green bull brain can't Greeneville is is that also part of the teen services present there was another branch of the Wyatt Greenville okay says by itself. I got another thing you know a lot of people around the area probably will recognize and they've never been to you came Greeneville. Wonderful summer camp death aid or their do you have an knows there are other. Non summer activities he came great. Oh gosh yes really Rangel is is a year round facility and they gave. And Arnold says they work with groups that work with corporate groups says during. During the non. Summer months came Pringle is full and groups that either going to camp. Fourteen original programming or are using it sort of as a as a place to do Korver treat or we actually do a teen services values conference I'm a McCain green ball. In May what I like call horizons it's it's a weekend before for middle and high school students the why we have had these lists you know a couple of three things we have we have four core values caring honesty respect and responsibility. Event and we sort of use that as is the foundation for all of our programming and the lie. Our horizons saudis conference and those are the values that we sort of spend the weekend. I am exploring. With Arab middle and our and a high school students in a way to sort of have then talk about. How to make that is values and more foundational in their lives in that might talk about. You know it's hard to be a teenager and yeah yeah I guess that's not it well it's it was never easy he she hey let's and I think I think the a just how quickly things happen and just platforms of social media guests today. Make everything. That young person goes through everything is public right of every every publicly you never fail privately. Social media you know that that it's it's such a huge technological development that we had in the past decade or so is and and it I've I've gotten in the habit of saying what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet because it's a new once it's out there you didn't know any ground. And so it's important. Especially with those sorts of teens middle and high schoolers to to address that sort of thing be careful what you do on the Internet be careful what you put on my Internet. Because there may be no taking back. Absolutely absolutely and I hope is that three wind CAA programs like he'd like you can government and only eighteen achievers. What we did looting is also just providing young people. You know in addition to some days and down sling yeah. Don't put that on the Internet iPad don't put that on Santana really isn't gonna go I think you're doing well in addition and that you know what we are providing. Are some peer groups that provide this mutual support that. Doing the right thing yet rate and you what we know about young people is. Starting in early adolescence. They messed influenced by the appears less and less passed Daimler and that freaks parents out and I'm the parent of a sixteen year old unit in and develop Ellen this is just the way it worked re arm emitting into adulthood says. The appears become warm warm primary influencers. It choices in the behavior and sort of how they see themselves will we hope what we're doing. Through the why in three teen services is helping provide them wit that peer group. That holds them accountable and before you know essentially doing the right thing for those core values to. It's one thing to DNA individual and to do the right thing and have a sort of personal code that you live by it but it. A lot of listeners who heard the term peer pressure you know I remember them that was a lot of he has those who talk about a lot when I was growing up demand so what you're really talking about is providing a positive peer pressure easier that. That same. Influential motivation. In a positive way than it rather than a negative way iPad term positive here for a positive peer it was either you get you can you can have an. Go ahead and use it. Hello sit forever your peer group creation norms and the older you get you know who you're around. Is gonna create what you see as OK and that OK can be really great or it can be a bunch of bad choices and so which kinda. Sort of push them towards that. Okay side got you there rake and you aren't eve program director of the teen achievers. Program tell me about that. Absolutely so the teenage years program work strictly with the Greenville county. And we actually eight the year here. In her partner with high schools specifically. And we bring in a program that teaches students college readiness that as of the majority of what we do this giving these students at community support system attributes of adult mentors. But also doing that back. Providing collier in us we don't necessarily. Broke college Downey student stretch we know that every student doesn't want a four year college but were I do know that high school is just not enough. We wanted to get a certificate we wanted us to add to your school. We wanted to know what their options are post college and every student doesn't crop an environment that's gonna teach those types of skills so we like to bring community members and and surround them as around the students that those people associate and teach them. And I think its interest seeing it do you say you don't necessarily push college there are plenty of of organizations and how old that push for you do you have to go to college. And more and more recently we're seeing dad's. College is not necessarily the best choice for some people a lot of people wind up with a large amount of student loan debt the other is very difficult to pay off. Micro has been no very vociferous and in talking about alternatives to do that traditional for your schooling and and you know good at doing that learning a trade going to trade school going to community collagen and getting. Some other sort of experience or or education. So that your you're not saddled with a all. All of that debt actual exactly and there are so many different accents. But the soonest I mean at some students just cultures isn't for everyone a four year school is just not an ad because like I said not to be. Two political sure there are different options for people and we like the students who now. What they can actually do post break you can you can graduate from Greenville I'm Greenville county schools that are made in the sense that they can't have certificate programs and they have the meaning of gold ensure they have dolls Ingrid center they have so many different options and we really push to student Stephen explore those. Father still in high school. But what we know it is a high school the climate is no longer enough. G and sent you on a path weird you can to have Ernie Wright Wright did to say this is telling them according yet to financial freedom to place where you can. Live the life and support the only way you want to. But what we do through achievers is certainly. Provide opportunities to see more than just high school and then a four year degree that so many other options. Gotcha and so did talk a little bit of bounce. How you do that how do you actually get. In touch with the students in high school did they come to you or do you go to them how does that work. Well everything that we do with T achievers is die and during school time so I can partner with different high schools around wreck she recognized south side high school blue ridge high school. And JL Mann high school currently silly literally these schools allow us to go into the school during class time and work with students because they've actually value. What we could bat and that's an amazing thing that's I really can't happen and most schools. And because of that partnership that we have with cream okay schools were actually one of the top five largest achievers programs in the nation really lose just like you think government. It's hubris is a national program top. Topless all over the place. So but I know that dream Henne has more than just three high schools what sort of the period you say you're currently working with those three I's house was sort of the period do you work with them in it. It varies at each school to rest depends on what the school lots. And if somebody listening has a student that is not at one of those three high schools how Canadian involvement Tina jeepers. We can part but the school work for the schools and get in touch is cool get in touch with. A more organic touch with us and like I mean it's I hope that the schools that we work with paraded through achievers we partner with them. For a for a variety of reasons but each of the schools has a genocide. A student population within your school. That they want X based G eighteen achievers. President says so these are almost like at risk his son's yeah I'm on the south side high school or work we work but the entire freshman class sales outside has said we want this is valuable. To our entire freshman class but typically. Today have been identified. For reasons that led as you say sort of put them at risk did not graduate is sort of our primary first. In the person wanna do is make sure they graduate and then subsequent to that. On this guy wants some type of has high school train I guess is difficult to get post high school training if you haven't finished that's fresh Angel Gray hair I got to graduate first and then move on so really we're doing bad pass for keeping on track to graduate and then. Providing them and that is different paths paced high school. But if there were a family that are listening and and you know had a child that they thought would benefit. From this and it wasn't there that child wasn't one of those three schools we'd love. To talk to them and we'll limited only by our ability to partner with schools. And find the adult volunteers who willing passer to dedicate your time that's it says are only limitations and how did people get in touch via website the website would be made the fastest and easiest way which would be YMCA green bowl. Dot org hey Don we are one of the branches listed on. Homeless teen son. Simon may have a case of the screen why is our turn names nonetheless assertion okay surged Tina she wian C eighteen achievers extension is gonna come up to YMCA Greenfield dot org is is at least a way to get started Cassel doing in that regard and Andy I know that at Reagan you had mentioned it to me earlier that it's the teen achievers program is specifically looking for volunteers and we're always looking for volunteers what sort of volunteer opportunities are available through ten achievers are. We provide opportunities for adults. And by adults I don't mean necessarily professional in the sense I mean we're adults the good lines caring adults to surround these young people. And we ask that you had the ability sense and it does take a flexible school schedule. We worked with students during the school day in school is about you know 343 guy CNN Saturday and if it's somebody that we do after school. That's gonna be over at 440 fives. So we do ask did you have a little bit of flexibility in your workday. But I and that there are no other qualifications to work and our students so we make you go through two different background checks at least to work with these huge overcapacity that you're working with so while we do accept any. I am application we do screen these people we do wanna make sure that we have the right people aren't fat our students but they're growing up applications we just watch we train you. We dvd background checks but we just want people to care if Freddie skids what sort of command and healing power from volunteers. We have different commitment levels so low levels can be as simple as a onetime speaker. Other lines can be attend last commitment and ten months meaning arm that's a whole school year and actually look at exactly who put the same adult mentors and Brad students for ten relaxed and a school year. Delegate can really finance our relationships. We didn't start programs now I'm especially at south sad. We're able to have those same volunteers worked the students for another year. So we really with a mean of bonds are really there. But you just have to care there's no perfect volunteer just there's no perfect can't. So I mean is this a true flight or is because people think that the eighteen and it's. Oh I don't these kids have messed up before the kids they don't they're not gonna land for me no no definitely. I definitely laughter. That's one thing that I learned about children having a couple small ones myself they are always learning from you I mean they regardless what are they getting it. They're learning something and an important to be doing the right thing and let's also talk about. V using government programs there's another thing their team services does. Just go and tell me me give me a large overview and an Oakley has had a lot of people will recognize the name using government but I understand you recently he had this big event we did. In November we had our our largest annual event that that even government program sponsors. Is our middle school in high school my whole legislature and court conference. Even government program sort of that that 20000 foot view and even government program is what we call a signature program on the why the USA they are. 48 state he's in government programs nationally. We run the South Carolina using government program for the state and a South Carolina where really sort of bring in this is where I think they really bring and that social responsibility perhaps of what a wise about along with along with youth development. You think government works with our partner schools across the state from. Boston. There is because through Colombia through through the entire state we've got almost sixty schools that we work with across the state. And our goal really is is pretty simple we're teaching leadership we teaching citizenship. We teach in we call active citizenship. We're not teaching politics we're not judging people how to live the come politicians although as it did I was gonna ask this isn't necessarily grooming broad it is not it is not we have exactly one and we have exactly one and an elected official in the general assembly right now his an alumni and the government. And he's great he's old and he's and and you know honored kids say that Neil Collins is that you think government and yeah you'll Collins Collins a Republican from easily. Is he gig. Alarms that know what we're about is the idea that. You know where a participatory. The government that democracy works best. When everyone understands it and participates in my participated ending yet to love it sure it didn't mean Angela decisions that are being made brains that you have to understand that we are all apart. A democracy so what we're really trying to do is demystify. Our form of government which kinda help young people connect dots between the things that they are passionate about. And in the way. Our government works you know from local to state to nationally because we're all. You know where where all its all intertwined and we did that created this big son model legislature and court conference where. Status service senators and representatives and lawyers and lobbyists in and media and they prepare for about three and a half months and then it all comes to Columbia. And we'd literally take over the state house and that they've written bills in the debate bills and they learn from each other and the idea again being. In their learning while dealing and having all this time. And then on top of that or really promoting the idea of civil discourse the we say debate ideas not people you know we're really looking at. The things really idealistic but still within reach belief that we can all. Learn from each other and listen to each other are and you know not that there's a compromise on every issue. That is that we downed half to yell at each other we don't have to hate each other for having different ideas. And that sling mud yeah I guess eight and politics is this late dirty word roundly keeps they won't actually. It's it's it's not mean politics is about people and if we learn how to behave as human beings and don't make it as core values right. Then you know maybe this next generation can help us and get right. Even I know that one of the things that says it comes up especially around election time I every four years is the voter participation. And I guess that's something that you would address that it isn't. It if memory serves it appear on whether this but it seems like it's been just gradually declining over them the past. Few years. It has been on on a larger level there is there's been a little bit of an incline OK in the young people's participation. Slowly over the over the past I guess the read presidential. Elections that took roughly a decade right right. And I can't necessarily point to it too why honestly I think a lot of it has had to do with perhaps that being a positive outcome of social media. That there more platforms am for young people to become aware rob getting aged and and and you actually get involved. In an election so you know perhaps that's a positive outcome. But overall certainly I mean we Baghdad can only half of us about it at CN it's just that's a. Our big elections and that it is our relations. Some in small elections recently made a little tennis Ali and things like that business and twelve that teen now. And it and that's and you know I recently lived before we run out of time here recently had a conversation with the of the new mayor of travelers rest. And she said that the way that she got started when she just started got she had no intention of of becoming. In fact she hates the word politician she's he prefers a public servant that's. That's a Good Charlotte and and I she said she had no intention really originally of getting involved in politics and becoming you know taking political office even on on a local level but what she did was she just starting going to City Council meetings and becoming involved in in that way and then she wound up running for City Council. Because she got frustrated that there is an open seat and nobody had run for it there's nobody opposing the end of the one person who is running and so he just got it now and how and that's how she got involved and that's and it's as simple as that for these kids it is to get involved in the same fashion. Did it absolutely as we we actually have a young man I'm from Boston high school two pounds was one of says you know active teens see. Got really excited about about that not about politics but about a person who was running for office heavily was a neighbors and it was a really active volunteer in a campaign. Another our elected officials saw him and saw how active he was. And asked shouldn't this year to run his campaign. For for City Council and I was able to high school student right out. Asked him to run his campaign and didn't said blank what do you charge what's your agent who is a big enough. I'm like oh million dollars. Arraignment initiatives tell me about it and anyone anyone has election I ran this campaign he won elation in texted me on Election Day is that we want to hasn't. You need to double your rate series and yet a 100%. Success rate right now how. Absolutely capitalize on that and that's gonna feel good from your projects and exciting but it's amid its purse and what you say it's this idea of what politics actually has his neighbors say an okay I'm hers. I'm gonna represented us you know I'm gonna carry your voice to wherever it is trying to address City Council. To the Statehouse in Columbia he did she DC I mean how are our politicians are our voices. And so we talk about and even government is that young person's voice you have to know anything about government do not have to like social studies but you have a voice and you have opinions. And those voices and opinions are not just like in Puerto. They are critical and valuable to all of us because that's how we have a great country right. Absolutely and again the web site YMCA Greenfield on board game is how you can does it start the ball rolling to get involved with C teen services branch the eighteen achievers or do you think government. And again and merry keepers Bledsoe the executive director of the teen services branch and Reagan Thompson the teen achievers program director and then my guest today thank you very much ladies for being here thank you Chris I was an asset that's been my pleasure thank you I'm Chris Evans and this has been focused on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the upstate with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. C Evans