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Two months ago, due to the high-demand of “Thinking 4 Change” (T4C) group mentoring a new group was created on Wednesday afternoons targeting high-risk youth in our community.photo-71

When one of our mentors offered to take students knee-boarding and boating, staff knew just what to do: the new Wednesday group was headed to the lake! This would be the perfect opportunity to practice relationship building and experience positive socialization. Staff knew a bond would be created by the boys sharing this trip with each other, but this time the bond seemed stronger than ever. The crew arrived at Lake Ming, excited to meet the mentor and his helpers at Dock #1, however when they got there, no one was there waiting. Disappointment filled the air. Staff called and realized there was a huge miscommunication. Lake Buena Vista was the correct lake, however it is miles away. Staff thought about rescheduling, but the mentor said the boys would still have an hour on the lake, so they drove across town. When the boys left the dock there had been interactions here and there between the boys. One staff member and his volunteer agreed that they would stay on shore so that the boys could get the most out of the short time there. One staff and group mentor and 7 young men with different stories left with very few interactions between them. “Splash! Kerplunk! Splash!” 7 friends jumped off the boat and raced to the shore with one story. They came out dripping, asking staff to take pictures of their “Calvin Klein” model poses as they strutted together out from the lake they had just conquered. Next week, the group will have a whole new element: shared experience and a sense of belonging.

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