Taking action on their future

Program focuses on development of life skills

"I have learned so much, like how to have good hygiene and I learned to exercise more."

-- Gaerett Bailey

“I have learned so much, like how to have good hygiene and I learned to exercise more.”

— Gaerett Bailey

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 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, according to Rotary member and mentor Blaine Peterson.

The program allows boys an opportunity to interact with peers who are not in their circle of friends and focus on development of new friendships, health, hygiene, careers and manners.

The boys and their male mentors met for two hours and concentrated on a different topic weekly for seven weeks. The curriculum included field trips to 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 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, student 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…I will miss you all.”

This program was held on Wednesday afternoons, when school dismissed early. The boys had some free time to spend.

Organizers of Young Men in Action and the companion program, Young Women in Action, are looking for local volunteers. The programs are paid for by Rotary and made possible with the help of local organizations who make donations, provide special pricing or organize field trips to their businesses. Participation in Rotary is not a requirement to volunteer.

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