The Dedicated Youth Leaders of Rise N' Shine - Alternatives For Girls

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The Dedicated Youth Leaders of Rise N’ Shine

Jul. 1 2014

Starting on July 1st, AFG’s halls will be filled with the sights and sounds of our Prevention Department’s annual summer camp, Rise N’ Shine (RNS). Three days a week, from 9am-3pm, approximately 75 girls between the ages of 4-14 participate in fun and educational workshops and field trips. This memorable six week camp is something that participants look forward to every summer and its existence wouldn’t be possible without the help from a very essential group, the Youth Leaders. The ten Youth Leaders hired this summer will assist in the programs’ execution by supervising RNS participants throughout their multiple workshops, helping cook and serve meals and snacks, and making sure that the participants are having fun throughout the day.

Youth Leaders must be between the ages of 16-21, have a 2.5 or higher Grade Point Average, must be currently enrolled in school, and have a number of other qualifications. “Youth Leaders must be flexible, have the ability to work in a team setting, have a positive attitude, and have the skills to work with younger children,” explains AFG Youth Services Coordinator, Tiffany Edwards, who will be supervising the Youth Leaders this summer. The benefits of being a Youth Leader are a weekly stipend and weekly trainings on topics such as positive youth development, employability skills, goal setting, CPR & First Aid, and team building activities. This year the Youth Leaders are funded in part by the Village Women’s Club Foundation and City Connect Detroit’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent Program.

Essence, a second year Youth Leader, said she is excited for another summer with RNS. “It started out as a summer job, but as the summer went on, I really started to like it. So that led me to apply again this year,” Essence explains. Every day at 8:30 AM the Youth Leaders arrive to start cooking breakfast and setting up for the day’s activities. After serving breakfast and making sure all of the youth are accounted for, the Youth Leaders guide the participants to their workshops and provide support to each workshop facilitator by taking participants to the bathroom, running errands, and assisting in activities to keep the girls energized. When it’s time for lunch, Youth Leaders help prepare and serve the food until it is time to take the participants to their afternoon workshops. At the end of the day, they help serve a snack while checking out each girl as they leave to go home.

The full day of activities allows each Youth Leader time to practice valuable skills that they can use in the future. “I’ve bettered my conflict resolution skills since becoming a Youth Leader,” Essence shares. “Over the school year I worked as a tutor in an elementary school, so a lot of the conflict resolution skills I learned were very useful because they are younger and are working on self-control.” Of course, there are challenges as well, “The most challenging thing is dealing with all of the different personalities, not just the girls but other Youth Leaders, too. We work together as a team so it’s important to get to know everyone’s personalities and attitudes,” Essence explains.

Being a Youth Leader in RNS still allows the young women to enjoy the summer while improving these skills. “My favorite part of RNS is being able to participate in the activities and the workshops that the girls participate in. They are really fun and I learned from them too,” Essence shares. “I really enjoy the field trips as well, it’s good to get away and have fun. And the girls really like them too,” she smiles. The hard work and dedication that the Youth Leaders exhibit does not go unnoticed by Tiffany, “The Youth Leaders are very important because without them I don’t think Rise N’ Shine would run as smoothly. They’re the ones who take the initiative and believe in our vision and execute the ideas we have. Without them, how would we do it?”

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