New Bangor Y Afterschool Adventure Program Receives Support from The Maine Community Foundation | Community Spirit

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New Bangor Y Afterschool Adventure Program Receives Support from The Maine Community Foundation
New Bangor Y Afterschool Adventure Program Receives Support from The Maine Community Foundation

A $7,500 grant from the Maine Community Foundation Penobscot County Fund is helping the Bangor Y provide a new afterschool youth development opportunity, the Afterschool Adventure Program, for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade youth in Greater Bangor.  Program activities include games and initiatives that introduce youth to new skill-building adventures which require team work, goal setting, creativity, and problem solving while also providing an opportunity for youth to get to know each other and make new friends.

Like many Bangor Y youth development programs, the Afterschool Adventure Program is based on the Search Institute’s philosophy that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors.  The Adventure Program focuses most on those assets that reinforce positive values, social competencies and developing a positive identity.  Activities are designed to help youth make positive choices, reduce stress, manage their emotions, and recognize consequences when making decisions. In addition, activities help youth build positive communications and trust, improve conflict resolution, and increase empathy and sensitivity toward others, and initiate a long-standing relationship with the Bangor Y.   

Best of all, participants get to build skills and have fun while doing it.  Program activities include games and initiatives that involve group participation and typically teamwork and trust games.  An example of a challenge or teamwork activity is called the “traffic jam,” during which a group of youth must work together, problem-solving to navigate each group member through a human grid to reach the exit point.  This activity challenges youth to use leadership, planning and decision-making, and communication skills to help each other reach a common goal. The debriefing which follows requires youth to reflect on their accomplishments and challenges during the activity and discuss what they have learned.

The program is offered in 8-week sessions during the school year, and all youth participating in a full 8-week session are eligible for a one-year Bangor Y youth membership upon program completion.  “We piloted the program with one 8-week session in spring 2010 to gauge community interest and need, and we were pleased with the overwhelming response from local youth,” said Cathy Hamel, Director of Youth and Teen Programs for the Bangor Y.  “The Afterschool Adventure Program offers youth an innovative, adventure-based, learn-by-doing approach to skill-building, and we are grateful for the Maine Community Foundation’s support for the program in the 2010-2011 school year.”

The next session of the Afterschool Adventure Program, which will be open to area 5th and 6th graders, will begin on February 11th and will meet every Friday for 8 weeks from 3-4:30pm at the Capehart Community Center.   For more information about the Bangor Y Afterschool Adventure program, please contact Cathy Hamel, Bangor Y Youth and Teen Director, at 941-2808 or chamel@BangorY.org.