Developing Youth to Help Others at The Club

Jerry Smyth- Board President, Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay

Many factors influence success.  Intelligence, integrity, education, work ethic, luck, desire to succeed all matter.  Many successful people have some or all of these attributes; the attribute I believe successful people invariably share is good personal character.

Teens Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity
Teens Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Good personal character is about doing the right thing when pressure exists to do otherwise.  It is about thinking of others and the impact our actions might have on them; it is about accountability for what we do; it is about standing for things we believe, even if the position is unpopular.  Good personal character comes with hard work—it must originate with thinking about others, and must involve actions directed at others.  Good personal character does not ask “what is in it for me”, but “how can I help you?”.

The Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay offers countless opportunities for club members to develop good personal character.  The club exists to help prepare children for adulthood, and does a wonderful job reminding members that club benefits imply a reciprocal arrangement: we will help you help yourself, and we will expect you to help others.  This principal of accountability is evident in many programs and in daily expectations for the members.

The Million Members, Million Hours initiative, the Keystone Club involvement in numerous civic events, the youth gardening programs, to name a few, all reinforce the social requirement that we consider others.  Initiatives like these also help to dislodge the possibility of dependency and expectation that benefits can magically appear without effort.  We give, we get; we get, we must give.  The club nurtures kids with opportunities to learn this valuable lesson, and in the process, to develop good personal character.  With it every kid has a fighting chance to succeed.

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