PVYC Annual Benefit Auction 2016

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Friday, April 8, 2016 — Save The Date!

You never know what destination may await at the 2016 PVYC Benefit Auction!  Each year we fund many of our PVYC programs directly through our Annual Benefit Auction.  This year promises to be the biggest and best event yet!  While the night will be filled with laughter and heart-warming stories of lives that have been changed through the work of PVYC, this work cannot continue without you and your generous support!  Pack  your bags and join us as we travel to destinations unknown without ever leaving the Valley!

Christmas Gift Workshop

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This year, through the extreme generosity of the community and PVYC supporters, we were able to put on a Christmas gift workshop for our students.  We transformed the gymnasium of the Old Gregg School into a Santa’s Workshop of sorts!  We provided the materials, direction and volunteers for about 15 projects that the students could build, create and personalize to give to their family as Christmas gifts.  A lot of our students don’t have the means to buy gifts for family members or friends, so we were able to help them do just that.  The kids could choose from several of about 15 projects with varying levels of skill required.  We provided the materials and volunteers with the know-how to help them with whatever projects they chose.  Some of their choices were:  a card-making station, where students could create a packet of Thank you or Birthday cards, a wooden mail organizer, various coaster sets, a mug project, where they could design and decorate a mug, a photo block project and many more!  After the students completed their projects, they then had the opportunity to wrap their gifts, so they could take them right home and put them under the tree.  The students were really excited about the opportunity to give gifts to their family they otherwise would have no means to provide.

Community Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

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Thanksgiving is a time where our students are given an opportunity to reach out and help their community.   Each year, PVYC hosts a Community Thanksgiving Dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy– the works!  Almost all the food is donated by the community so that we can offer this event free of charge.  Our students pitched in to do setup, they helped serve the food and drinks, and they helped with all the cleanup an event like this requires.  They were happy to jump in, roll up their sleeves and help give back. This year the PVYC Community Thanksgiving Dinner served over 200 people in the community, as well as provided approximately 70 take-out meals.

HarvestFest 2015

We had so much fun carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and racing on hay bales!  This event is always a great time!  The weather outside WAS frightful with storms and rain, but we didn’t let that stop us from having a great night.  We transformed the gymnasium at the Old Gregg School into an obstacle course as our students had to race to navigate a wheelbarrow full of hay through the course.  If that wasn’t hard enough, they had to do it with another student in the wheelbarrow as well!  After the wheelbarrow races, teams challenged each other to an apple bobbing contest.  Each team had to bob for an apple, run a few paces to a table where they had to eat their apple, depositing their empty core into the bucket.  It was fun to watch the kids slip and slide, trying to see through a veil of water!  After the games, everyone tried their hand at pumpkin carving– we have some creative kids!!

Exciting News at PVYC!

The start of a new school year comes with some exciting news! We are expanding our After-School Program (ASP) from three days per week to four with the addition of Thursday! Teens can now come to PVYC after school Monday through Thursday until 6pm. This decision came after much discussion and evaluation of the needs of our currently attending teens and the potential for reaching others.

Not familiar with our After-School Program? Teens are able to ride the bus from Penns Valley High School and Penns Valley Intermediate to the Old Gregg School where PVYC is located. A variety of activities are provided during this after school time that include homework help and tutoring, open gym time, arts and crafts, board games, field trips, hands-on classes, and clubs. As a part of our mission to encourage healthy habits, we provide healthy snack options. While programming helps us achieve our mission, the most important part of the After-School Program is to spend time developing relationships with the teens in order to help them overcome challenges in their lives. More importantly, it shows them that they are loved and a part of a bigger family.

Another exciting addition to the Penns Valley Youth Center is the expansion of grades that we serve! With a trial run through the previous school year, we are officially including students in 6th grade and you will notice our mission statement changing to reflect this wonderful addition.

ServeCamp 2015 – The 12:3:1 Project

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What does 32 teens with a desire to serve our community look like? ServeCamp 2015!

We spent four days doing various service projects around Penns Valley, including; painting the dugouts at the Old Gregg School baseball field, weeding and cleaning pavilions at Soldiers and Sailor’s Memorial Park, painting hay wagons, painting the gazebo at a park in Millheim, splitting and stacking wood for a family, landscaping for Grace UCC, painting a family’s home, and scrubbing out an apartment.

 

This year’s theme was “The 12:3:1 Project” and we had guest speakers come each evening to our homebase for camp, at Krislund Camp, to share about serving in a community such as Penns Valley, the influence of your closest friends, and finally, the importance of a mentor in your life.

 

Amidst the difficult work, tiredness, amazing food, terrific speakers, and fun activities, a real bond was formed between those who attended camp this year. Our challenge activity this year was a high-ropes course. For some it was easy, but for others it was a about stepping out of their comfort zone and really facing fears. As one teen after another moved around the course, you could hear the sound of their peers and PVYC leaders cheering them on and encouraging them to keep going when they wanted to turn back.

 

When all is said and done, and the teens go home and the staff takes a few days to recover, receiving an encouraging note from a parent just reminds us of how impactful PVYC is for teens and families in our community. Here is one family’s response to PVYC ServeCamp 2015:

Penn State Extension: Nutrition Links Class at PVYC

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You may have noticed the phrase “encourage healthy habits and promote wise choices” in our mission statement at PVYC. Many of our teens do not have adequate opportunities to develop the skills and so we look for creative and engaging ways to provide these opportunities. This summer has been no exception!

Penn State Extension brought their Nutrition Links program to the Center for a 5-week course on 20150722_153912(0)healthy eating habits. Throughout the month of July, teens learned about ingredients in their food, how to determine how much of the food groups they should be eating each day, how to properly handle food to avoid cross-contamination, and how important physical activity is. The highlight of each class was the opportunity at the end of the session to eat something delicious that the instructor showed them how to make.

Our hope is that the teens will take what they learned and put it into practice in their daily lives, both in and out of the Youth Center.

Click HERE to learn more about the Penn State Extension: Nutrition Links program and how you, too, can live a healthier life!

Fostering Creativity

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When you come to PVYC on a Wednesday during the summer, you will see an array of activities available to the teens. One of our favorite activities has been the Art and Craft time, which allows teens the opportunity to discover or further explore their passion for the arts, or just express themselves in a fun and hands-on way.

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Projects included wall hangings, glass etching, industrial jewelry, linear drawing, and watercolor painting. Class has been led by two great volunteers; Marci (a mother of a teen who attends PVYC) and Steph (an art teacher in the Penns Valley Area School District). They have done an awesome job of selecting projects that will be utilized by the teens and not just discarded.

20150708_142003It has been amazing to see all of the students take an interest in the projects we have provided each week, even if it isn’t something they would normally participate in. Another positive to the Art and Craft time has been seeing teens encouraging each other by complimenting someone else’s project or reassuring a peer who might feel like giving up because they struggle with at that particular project.

20150722_133949We feel that art is an important part of providing hope, worth, and friendship in the lives of our teens, so we will continue to provide opportunities that foster their creativity!

Get in the Van Tuesdays: Arboretum at Penn State

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One of our newer programs this year is “Get in the Van” Tuesdays. Once a month, we load everyone up in the big van and head out into Penns Valley and surrounding communities.

This month we went to the Arboretum at Penn State and then to the Creamery. Students were given a scavenger hunt form to fill out about plants at the Arboretum. If they completed the paper, they earned free ice cream at the creamery! It was a beautiful day and we had so many teens that they didn’t all fit in the big van. A great problem to have!

Who doesn’t love a youth retreat?

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What does a giant rope swing, banging on tables, 600 teens have in common? Our Spring Retreat to Lake Champion in New York!

Every April we take a group of teens to a youth retreat to Glen Spey, New York with other youth groups from eastern Pennsylvania. This year we took 25 teens and 6 leaders…and fortunately, came back with the same amount! The weekend is filled with great food, a guest speaker, worship, and of course, lots of fun! Family is very important to us at PVYC, and after this retreat, we came back an even closer family.

One teen faced her fear of heights as she ventured onto the giant rope swing, another teen opened up about struggles in their life, and another learned about having a calling for ministry.

Why does it always seem like retreats go so fast? We can’t wait until next April!