Nurturing America’s treasures: our nation’s youth

Nurturing America’s treasures: our nation’s youth – National Youth Programs

Tennis great Althea Gibson first picked up a racquet in an after-school program in Harlem in the 1930s. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, (D-N.Y.)joined an after-school humanities club for conversation with students of varied races and ethnicities. He also learned photography, and later paid for college by taking photographs for The Associated Press. Actor Denzel Washington says the Mount Vernon (N.Y.) Boys Club inspired him to go to college and pursue drama. Raymond Flynn, former mayor of Boston and ambassador to the Vatican, went to after-school programs at the South Boston Boys Club while his immigrant parents worked. While Flynn’s first love was basketball, the program required him to choose other activities, too, such as being tutored with homework, organizing club elections or woodworking. “You learned citizenship and how to get along,” Flynn says. “They kept the program well-rounded, and it developed well-rounded youngsters.”

Tomorrow’s leaders are in today’s youth programs. NRPA is collecting youth coordinator contact names and information to share information on free training and seminars for youth coordinators, such as NRPA’s Adult Leadership Training Workshop, to be held Sept. 8-11 in Lansdowne, Va. The goal is to certify youth coordinators in a leadership program, called NRPA’s National Youth Congress, that will enrich them and the youth they serve.

The NRPA Office of Youth Services also plans on highlighting youth staff members (volunteers or paid) and youth programs that have made a significant impact in their community. For recognition, provide a brief history of your community and organization and a picture or two that helps tell the story. This is also a great way to network with other youth coordinators and share program ideas that work.

For more information or to get revolved, contact Sonia Bowie at or 703-858-2199.

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