Teenagers never cease to amaze me. Usually this statement is followed by a terrible story about what horrible thing teenagers are up to now, but I mean it in the most positive way possible. In a culture that constantly talks about the “dangers” of teens it is very easy to get caught up in the mentality that youth ages 13-18 are scary criminals, not to be trusted to make a positive decision with their lives. I’m here to tell you otherwise. My proof? The Girls in the Game Teen Squad.
I’ve been the Teen Programs Manager at Girls in the Game for just over three years, and I have been working with teenagers for 14 years. So I have seen my fair share of teenagers and witnessed some negative but mostly positive behavior choices. But never have I seen teens so dedicated to making a real change in their community than members of the Teen Squad program. These teen girls are trained to lead sports, health, and leadership workshops to younger girls at parks and community centers all throughout Chicago. They volunteer their time on days off of school to lead these workshops, and if getting out of bed early on a day off of school isn’t proof that these girls are dedicated than I challenge most adults to make the same decision.
But beyond simply showing up, the Teen Squad members realize how impactful they are during these workshops. They know what an important role they have in the eyes of the younger girls, and they take their jobs as coaches and role models extremely seriously. During the recent trainings we hosted for the Teen Squad members, they shared their reasons for joining the program. The single most common reason? They want to make a difference in the lives of girls.
It’s not the typical story about teenagers shared on the 5 o’clock news, but maybe if it was our world would feel a little brighter. I know my life is better off thanks to knowing these amazing teen girls.
I’m excited to be able to share this year’s Teen Squad with you all for the next several weeks, so that you can meet the members and hear about how they are educating girls, adults, and the community as a whole about the importance of making positive, healthy life choices. I hope you walk away each week feeling just as inspired as I do by this group of dedicated young women striving to make a positive change in the lives of others.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment. Happy reading!