This January we started a gym blast program at a local middle school. A gym blast is a time of open gym where we facilitate gym games, such as dodgeball. It is similar to the recreation program I’ve run in Langley for years with one significant difference - this program is being run in partnership with the school during school hours. Many of these youth are young people I knew already from my work in the community, and it is exciting to see them in a new context and to meet their friends and teachers.
At Youth Unlimited our dream is that the youth of Langley would have the means to live a healthy life: physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. I am excited for the expansion into a new school and the opportunity to foster current relationships with students as they are moving up through the school system. This is an opportunity to really address the physical health of youth in giving them an alternative at lunch than just sitting on their phones, playing their portable video games, or getting in trouble. It literally is our dream coming true. As we make these relationships by playing games, we also build trust with youth. When they have trouble in the other areas of life they know they have someone to turn to. It is not just our staff either. We new opportunities were able to facilitate a team of youth pastors from local churches that are running the program with us.
This is a new school in the district and as I was talking with the principal he told me the school is expected to have at least one thousand middle school students next year! In a place with such explosive growth we are excited to be in a position to serve the youth in this community. We were unsure of what it would be like to work in this school - many of the staff and administration have never worked with Youth Unlimited before. Yet after just a few weeks we have not only been invited back to run the program next year but they want to make it multiple days a week.
This past month and a half has been a really great reminder about being present in the lives of these
students as they are getting older. A lot of student s are excited that I am now at their school and they can still connect with me. Just another reminder about how small things, like being present, can make a big difference to some of these students. Think about your life, who is someone you could make a big difference to just by showing up?
- Amy Seiler