Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Boyz In My Hood

Boys Club 11

Boys Club

Young men of

Boys fascinate me. I think they always have. Even as a child, I remember admiring the skill, determination, and intelligence of boys that I knew (although I probably wouldn't have admitted it then!). Sometimes, boys were just more fun to be around. It was, after all, the neighborhood boys who shared my affinity for football and baseball and the glorious pleasures of mud after a heavy rain. The boys that I played with were never satisfied with the status quo of...anything. They were constantly modifying and revising and challenging limits. What if we put another brick under the ramp? What would it be like to eat that? What happens to eyelids if you turn them inside out? How far can we shoot something, or spit something, or throw something? I didn't always have the gumption to pursue those kinds of questions, but I certainly enjoyed hanging out with those who did!

January 2008 marked the first full year since the inception of Boys Club at Meade River School. It's a local club, not affiliated with any state or national organization, but that doesn't seem to bother the boys involved. If you ask the boys what we do in Boys Club their answer won't be complicated. We talk…we eat…we swim! And that's pretty much it. A simple format, I know, but it seems to be enough, at least for now.

I never expected to start a club for boys and, even after a year, it's still a work-in-progress. But, I have to say, working with boys, away from girls, has been an enlightening experience. Obviously, gender-based differences among students can be distracting on many levels and with elementary children that distraction tends to be a negative one. But, within a homogeneous group, both girls and boys often seem to relax and participate more fully. It is as if they feel a little more freedom to be themselves without fear of ridicule or reproach.

Of course, managing the energy level during meetings can be difficult at times, but I really think it's a challenge worth facing. More than anything else, the club has given me an opportunity to know the inner workings of our boys on a completely different level. And I've learned that sometimes character education isn't as much a matter of pouring good stuff in as it is making the most of the good stuff that's already there. Our boys want to do what's right and they are capable of that. They want to make someone proud and they should. They want to be brave and challenge the limits of the life that they've been given. Like most boys, they want to raise the ramp and see what it feels like to fly. They just need the advantage of one or two well-placed bricks.


We talk...

Boys Club Creed

Every day I will be helpful and kind.
I will treat others with respect.
I will be brave and choose what is honest and fair.
I will be a true friend, a strong son, and a proud citizen of my country.

Boys Club 4

We eat...
Snack time is always an important part of our meetings! The good thing is the boys are never picky. Whether it's pizza or graham crackers, any snack is accepted with amazing enthusiasm. Of course, ice cream has proven to be the ultimate motivational tool.

Boys Club 5

We swim...
The pool is only four foot at its deepest point, but it might as well be the ocean as far as these boys are concerned. I dare say they may even like swimming more than basketball...and that's saying a lot!

Boys Club 8


Johnny Rae said...

Kim, you are truly amazing. I have never known anyone who spends so much time molding and influencing the lives of others. Lucky the person who comes in contact with you. Lucky the boys and girls to whom you give so much. And as always, I enjoyed your narrative and pix.

Kimberlee said...

Well, Johnny, you are (as always) extremely generous, but I do appreciate your thoughts and I'll try to keep them in mind/heart during those moments when my schedule and my patience are at odds. Thank you so much for taking the time to check in and stay in touch. Lucky the person who has you for a friend!

Steve said...

This boys club of yours is such a great thing. I've admired it (and you for doing it) since you first told me about it. Thanks for sharing the update and photos.

In the meantime, I hope your St. Patrick's Day is a nice one.

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Steve. Thanks for your very kind comments. I'm so glad to know that you think Boys Club is a good thing (really). I appreciate receiving your input/opinion about most things, but especially about "boy stuff." You and your brothers seem to have had the quintessential boyhood, so that pretty much makes you an expert on the subject. :)

Jackie said...

Wow, I've missed a lot...I read 4 posts that I hadn't seen before. Great pix! The boys club sound like a great thing...what a blessing you are to that community.

When I first read the post about the boy digging out the doghouse, I was a little concerned about said something like "a dog needing to get our of the house" and I thought you meant she needed out of her doghouse. Kind of funny when I realized what you meant.

I'm posting pix from Mary's "buday" after this. Thanks so much for your help starting our new blog.

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Jackie! Yay! Can't wait to see Mary's "buday" pictures! That will be fun. I'll check it out as soon as I finish here! :)

Your misunderstanding about Precious being stuck in her doghouse isn't as far-fetched as you might think. That happened twice! Both times while I was at school. The first time she was able to dig herself out when she heard me walking up to the doghouse. The second time I had to get the shovel dig her out from above. It was scary for me, but she seemed just fine both times. After that, I started keeping her inside all the time...even while I was at work (which led to the mitten/shoe fiasco, among others!).

About the boys...
One thing I forgot to mention when I captioned the photos is that the blue goggles that a few of the boys are wearing no longer have head straps. They are held on the boys' faces by suction! That just cracks me up!

Laurie B said...

Hi Kimberlee!
This club sounds terrific, and just what those guys need. What a blast they're having, and what a blessing you are to them. I'd love to join you! I'll get the picnic ready!

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Laurie. A picnic, huh? That sounds fun! I'd better warn you, though, these guys look small, but their appetites are ENORMOUS. Thanks so much for saying hello! :)