Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hathaway Elementary Fifth Graders Grow Through Rotary Young Men in Action Program

Hathaway Elementary School fifth grade boys were provided an opportunity to develop new life skills as a part of the recently concluded Young Men in Action (YMIA) program.

Young Men in Action, sponsored and staffed by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club, strives to promote positive behaviors by leading youth from problem behaviors.  The program allows boys an opportunity to interact with peers who are not in their circle of friends and focuses on development of life skills such as friendship, health, hygiene, careers and manners, while being fun and age-appropriate.

The boys and their male mentors met for 2 hours and concentrated on a different topic weekly for seven weeks. The curriculum included a field trips to such places such as Hearth Restaurant and the Washougal Fire Department and in-classroom instruction and conversations about mature behavior and choices.

“Through the program we worked to show these boys that they have choices in how they react to others and to situations,” said Rotary member and YMIA mentor Blaine Peterson. “We hoped to demonstrate that the mentors have all had to make choices.  We made the right ones for us and now we have fulfilling and successful lives, and they too have the opportunity to make the right choices for themselves.”

In a thank you note to program volunteers, Hathaway fifth grader Gaerett Bailey said how grateful he was to his friends at Young Men in Action.  "I learned so much. Like how to have good hygiene and I learned to exercise more. Thank you for the checkbook.  I will use it to find a good job and a house.  I will miss you all."

This YMIA program recently concluded and was a natural fit for those Wednesday afternoons when school dismissed early and the boys had some free time to spend.  Young Men in Action and the companion program, Young Women in Action, are always looking for passionate, dedicated volunteers from the community. The programs are paid for by the Camas Washougal Rotary Club and are made possible with the help of local organizations who make donations, provide special pricing or facilitate field trips to their businesses.  Participation in Rotary is not a requirement to be part of the programs.

To get involved, visit cwrotary.com and click on the YMIA/YWIA link at the top of the page.