Back to School Bash!

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What better way to celebrate the start of the new school year than with our Back to School Bash! This year we did a Photo Scavenger Hunt around Penns Valley. Teens and staff drivers were broken up into four teams and given a list of places or things they needed to get a picture of their group with. Points were awarded based on the difficulty of acquiring the picture.20140903_190838

The list included things like: Picture on railroad tracks, picture with a farm animal, picture with PSU Coach Hand, or everyone in your group with a different color tongue. Groups raced around the valley (obeying the speed limit and all wearing seat belts, of course ) and the team with the highest points won!

ServeCamp 2014: Armed and Dangerous

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If you were given the option during your summer break to go to a camp with the word “Serve” in the name, would you be excited to go?

Our teens were! For the third year in a row, we lined up service projects around Penns Valley and got our teens’, and staffs’, hands (and clothes) a little dirty. ServeCamp, as it is aptly named, is an opportunity for teens to give back to our community by serving in various ways. Our group this year consisted of 22 students and 8 of our mostly-volunteer staff, spending four days pulling weeds, painting, cleaning, mulching, and just as importantly, building relationships.

The theme for this year was “Armed and Dangerous”.  We wanted to encourage teens to discover the gifts and talents that they have and then equip them to use those gifts to impact the world.

We spent each day at different job sites around the valley. Teens cut down brush along Penns Creek at Corburn  Park and cleaned the playground there. Another group cleaned the picnic areas at the pool in Millheim. Other projects included painting the ballfield buildings at the Old Gregg School Community Center, stacking straw bales off of wagons, painting hay wagons, mulching trails and seating areas, and moving firewood at Krislund Camp, among other projects.

In the evenings we went back to Krislund Camp for dinner and then each night had a guest speaker challenge the teens to be “armed and dangerous, and reiterating to them how loved and important they each are individually. After a long days work, we closed out each night with a fire, s’mores and mountain pies.

Something new we did this year was rock wall climbing. Our group had to hike 1.5 miles up a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmountain to get to the wall and that was a challenge in itself that a few of our teens had to overcome. We were so proud of them when they did! Many teens made it to the top of the wall, but even the ones who didn’t at least tried and gave it their all. The teens learned how to encourage one another and this activity really strengthened the friendships of everyone in the group.

Despite the occasional groans about how tired they were, we heard teens talking about how they didn’t want the week to end and how they can’t wait for next year! Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!

Summertime…and the living is easy!

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We had an amazing summer at PVYC! The teens participated in a wide variety of activities this summer that were not only fun, but meaningful as well. Tuesdays were mostly “outside of the center” activities. We went fishing at Joel’s Woods, swimming, bowling, to the farmer’s market, and picnicking at Poe Valley. Our most attended Tuesday activity was tubing on Penns Creek. We averaged 25 people on the creek. On Wednesdays during the summer, we opened at noon for teens to come have lunch, make a craft, watch a movie, and play games. Teens also helped prepare a few of the Wednesday meals (see article to the right) that we provide every Wednesday evening. It was great to see the teens doing something that would serve each other and build skills they would be able to use in their everyday lives. Make sure you check out our Facebook page to see pictures of all the fun we had!

Family Picnic!

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Join us on Wednesday, June 11th at 6:30 for our annual Family Picnic! The whole family is invited and you don’t have to bring anything but yourselves! We will be cooking burgers and hot dogs and will provide lots of other food including an icecream sunday bar! There will be games of parents versus teens and then the parents will have an informational meeting while all the teens and younger children go play kickball.

If you have a child going into 7th grade in the fall up through 12th grade, or know of someone who does, please invite them or join us for the picnic! Incoming 7th graders are invited to participate in ALL our summer activities so we don’t want them to miss out on the information!

Parents will be given information on the summer schedule and upcoming fall plans, including a printed calendar. New waver/info forms will be given to parents to fill out to update our records, and a list of ways to get involved will be provided.

Contact us if you have any questions!

Teens have dinner and games with Coach Hand and PSU football players…

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When Coach Hand spoke at our fundraising banquet in April about success versus significance, we never imagined how much significance he would have on our youth center. Yesterday, Coach Hand brought out 8 PSU O-Line football player to serve dinner to the teens and to hang out with them. Weis Markets donated the food for the evening, which consisted of bbq grilled chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans, and potato salad. Two chefs from the Penn Stater donated their time to come out and cook, and brought with them Creamery Icecream for desert!

After the amazing food was devoured, minute-to-win-it type games were played in which we put players versus students in wacky fun games. The evening ended with a group picture, and lots of teens taking “selfies” with the players and coach.

Thank you, Coach Hand, for your continuing support of the Penns Valley Youth Center! We are so grateful!

2nd Annual Fundraising Banquet

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Our 2nd Annual Fundraising Banquet on April 3 was a HUGE success! The night began with hors d’ oeuvres and a silent auction. The items for the silent auction were donated from businesses and individuals in Penns Valley and State College. Dinner began with a delicious meal catered by Hoag’s Catering and a testimony from Cassidy Brown, a teenager who has attended the youth center for three years. She wowed and moved the crowd with how much the center has meant to her. As dinner wound down, Mike Dillard ran an amazing live auction of handmade quilts, a fishing trip, NFL football tickets, and so much more. The auction brought in over $8,000!

Our special guest speaker  was PSU Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand! He implored the audience to chose to live a life of significance instead of success and to support organizations like ours who are making a difference in people’s lives. At the end of the night Coach Hand auctioned off a brunch for the highest bidder and their family which he would provide and cook himself! Not only was that awesome, but then he threw in 2 tickets to a home Penn State football game!

The evening ended with our Director, Darren Narber, asking the audience to come a long side the youth center to support us financially or by volunteering for different opportunities. Our whole fundraising campaign brought in over $42,000! Thank you to all those who made donations and/or attended the banquet! It is because of people like you that we are able to continue to change the lives of teenagers in our community!

Special thanks to our sponsors!

Christmas Gift Workshop

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Who doesn’t love a homemade Christmas gift? As a part of our workshop program at the center, we held a Christmas Gift Workshop. There were stations set up in different rooms where the teens made cookie ingredient jars, chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, ornaments, and much more. Barb Bebin brought out her wreath clamp and showed teens how to make a fresh greens wreath complete with bow and ornaments. Teens took crazy pictures at our photo station and made ginger bread houses.

Many teens come from struggling families and this was an opportunity for them to be able to give their families presents at no cost. They did an amazing job! Check out our Facebook page to see pictures from this event!

Grange Fair Dodgeball

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If you are from Central PA then you know all about the Grange Fair that is held every year in Centre Hall. This year, we hosted a game of Dodgeball at the basketball courts on the fairgrounds! Teens and staff passed out fliers throughout the week inviting youth who were attending the fair to our Tuesday evening game. Hundreds of people showed up! Youth of all ages came out to play, from elementary to high school age. Game after game was played until the winning team was crowned…well, received 5 pies of pizza as their prize!

Each night of the fair, a different youth organization hosts a game at the basketball courts in an effort to minimize fights and disruptive behavior that had been typically seen at the courts. This was our first year participating and we are looking forward to next year!

ServeCamp 2013

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Did you see any teens in teal shirts around Penns Valley last week? We held our second annual PV ServeCamp during the first week of August. It was an amazing week of teens giving back to the community and serving others! With so many other options of how the students could be spending their last bit of summer, it was great to see thirteen of them choose to be a part of our camp!

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The days were spend doing community service projects around the valley such as painting at the Soldiers and Sailors Pool, weeding and mulching at the home of one of our teens, weeding at the Centre Hall library, and spreading mulch around the playground at the Old Gregg School Community and Recreation Center in Spring Mills. We were up bright and early to head out to the job sites and didn’t return until late afternoon.

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In the evenings, there was swimming, singing, guest speakers, lots of food, and bonfires! (Just to name a few!) All in all, it was a really awesome time for the teens and the leaders. We can’t wait for next year!

We have a new program at the center!

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Aside from the After-School Program we will now be having weekly workshops for students to sign up and participate in! This new program is to give students a fun and hands-on way of developing life skills that can benefit them as they complete their time in high school and move on to a career and life after graduation. We want to engage students in areas that interest and motivate them to learn and mature into the leaders of tomorrow in our community. Our first workshop, Basic Automotive Maintenance was held in February. The workshops will be scheduled on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday from 4:00pm to 6:00pm and is free to teenagers.

Our next Workshop is “Cooking with Marcie Lynch of the Passionate Palate!” It will be help on Wednesday, April 17th from 4:00pm to 6:oopm. There are only 10 spots available so students will want to sign up quickly! She will be hosting another class in May if you aren’t able to make the April class.

Future workshops include Basic Art, Drama, Music, Cooking, Gardening, and many more!

Our workshop schedule will constantly be changing so make sure to check out the Workshops page for specific details about what workshops are available, when, and how to sign up!

Interested in teaching a workshop? Contact Us!