Team SUMMIT Programs
Here are the current programs from Team Summit, Inc.
Team SUMMIT believes in using physical activities as a hook and a doorway into other areas of enrichment. For example we have recruited Nike to come to Lawrence to hold sneaker design workshops with youth participants. A tennis program has started with interested kids, based on connections made and interest fostered. In addition, the youth have been engaged in basic project management, fund raising, and community service through a basketball tournament that they hold annually for “CURE AT/RT NOW” a Methuen – based charity that raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Team SUMMIT youth help plan the event, attract sponsors, attract participants, and presented the proceeds to the charity at completion; this is an annual event for Team SUMMIT. The youth also planned and participated in a charity game at Christmas time, where they brought new unwrapped gifts in order to play. This is an annual event, which we are working towards growing in the years to come. Guest speakers are brought in on a regular basis to give more background on a particular activity or topic, or even to gauge overall interest in a potential new program.
Fantasy Basketball League
Team SUMMIT believes that it is important to meet youth where they are and engage them in deeper skills through their own youthful interests and passions. Our Fantasy Basketball League, in which youth can each “virtually: draft and assemble their own “dream team” of (real, current) NBA players. They then follow the individual statistics of each of these players (points per game, assists, rebounds, free throw percentages, etc.) and aggregate them to form a picture of how their virtual team is performing. They must conduct extensive research to support their choices and may also trade, drop, bench, or add players to gain statistical advantages. The Team SUMMIT youth meet several times over the year for dinner (usually donated by a local establishment) to discuss the season and analyze their performance (and for general peer support and sharing). Team SUMMIT youth enthusiasm for this endeavor to promote research, math, and critical thinking and decision-making skills.
The Team SUMMIT Director provides regular emotional support to all participants through informal counseling, family meetings, and assistance to families in resolving issues that are impacting the child’s life, often through referral and advocacy with other local resources. The new Youth Specialist will be helping to run some of these wrap around sessions. This is another reason that it was essential to find the right fit for the position as this is one of the most important parts of the Team SUMMIT mission. About 15 of the more experienced Team SUMMIT youth (who have been with the program for a year or more) are involved as informal mentors with the younger participants. They assist the younger children with skills and drills, teamwork and communication, and serve as program assistants helping organize sessions and events.
A committee of 10 youth has been formed, the focus is on leadership skills through reflection, debriefing, project management (for example – fundraiser outlined above). They in turn work with a larger core group of about 20 youth that act as mentors, these are kids in 8th grade and up. They assist with running clinics, working with the younger kids and act as points of contact for the other kids in the program.
Planning for Further Education
We are working with some of the youth that are in 10th grade and up in planning for further education via college/university. We are helping the youth to identify the schools they would like to visit and plan out what they need to do in order to apply and hopefully gain acceptance into the schools they would like to attend. We have begun working with the youth along-side other non-profit agencies (such as uAspire) to assist in college/university placement as well as scholarship/financial aid opportunities. We also bring the youth on college visits, work on SAT prep and work with them on essay writing.
Through a system of basketball clinics, leagues, skill-and-drill sessions, and open gyms (occurring weekly on average), as well as biweekly individual coaching sessions, Team SUMMIT provides a safe environment and a physically fun and engaging activity for participating youth on a regular basis. Participants train with volunteer coaches who are drawn from the ranks of professionals throughout the region (college, high school, and league coaches, as well as ex-professional players). During this time they not only learn physical basketball skills but also teamwork, conflict resolution, and communication skills; they go through “lecture drills” where they stop and analyze plays and strategy and engage in questions and answers; and they develop friendships with one another across ethnic and racial lines.
During the spring, summer and fall Team SUMMIT runs tennis clinics and matches with interested youth. This is another way to keep kids healthy and active, while teaching them good sportsmanship, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Tennis is a difficult sport and is extremely expensive to learn. Team SUMMIT is thrilled to be able to offer this program to youth that would otherwise not have access to it.
Team SUMMIT has started a Chess Club, this is another coed program. There are several proven benefits to learning and playing chess for youth and adults. Some benefits include but are not limited to – increasing problem solving skills, improves special skills, improves memory, exercises both sides of the brain, increases creativity, improves concentration, and teaches planning and foresight. Each of these is essential for all of the at-risk youth that Team SUMMIT works with. We have begun to evaluate school performance of each participant at the beginning of the program and continually review grades to see if there is a quantifiable relationship between learning and playing chess regularly and improvement in school. This will be a project that the Resource Developer/Operations Associate will be continuing to work on. The Chess Club in collaboration with Movement City in Lawrence has become extremely popular with about 30 participants
This part of the program has taken shape with many of the youth participating. The second project has begun and will run during the summer and fall of 2020. This is optional participation in an Essay Challenge, they are asked to write a short essay based on one of two writing prompts that were provided by the Director. The essays are reviewed by a team of people and they are judged based on effort, attention to essay requirements, content and thought all based on age. Prizes and awards will be announced in the late fall/winter, this gives plenty of time for the Director to work with the youth on this project and will allow them to carry some work into the summer to help keep them engaged in learning and thought beyond the school year. Once they have submitted their essay, the youth are able to participate in a 3 point contest that is running during the same time frame, prizes and awards for this will be announced at the same time as the Essay Challenge. The youth must participate in the Essay Challenge in order to be eligible to participate in the 3 Point Contest. However, the youth do not need to participate in the 3 Point Contest in order to participate in the Essay Challenge. Guest speakers are already being scheduled to come in and speak with the youth about writing. Creative writing, essay writing, technical writing will all be explored.
LIST (Leadership, Intelligence, Science and Technology)
This is a girl’s program that has been established with a group of girls that for the most part come from the Merrimack Volley program. Team SUMMIT has entered into a collaboration with Merrimack Volley to provide programming specific to their girls. Team SUMMIT provides the following – space for select activities, speakers related to the LIST program, enrichment activities related to the LIST program and uniforms. Girls from other points of entry have been integrated in to the program and due to it being such a supportive group and environment the introductions were seamless. Like many of the programs with Team SUMMIT it takes shape based on the interests of the youth involved. We have brought in guest speakers from the Biotech and Life Sciences industry as well as continued to try to establish collaborations with schools like Phillips Academy that have run girls only science programs in the past.
This is a girl’s program which focuses not only on Yoga but on overall health which has proven to be a successful program. A well-rounded program was developed with pillars in mind-fullness, awareness of health (eating, sleeping, exercise habits), relaxation and yoga. The space for this program has been donated by the YWCA in Lawrence – keeping healthy/beneficial programming in the city. The instructor has donated a limited amount of time and will begin to get paid for the programming.
This program has begun on a small scale as a collaboration with Movement City in Lawrence and is coed. Programming is built to give youth a view in to different aspects of the music industry. It has begun with the introduction and performance of a popular local youth band (Fourshadow). The youth in the program watched the band, asked questions and began to design concert posters. Planning and design is still in the early stages. As music and the arts leave our school systems faster than ever, it is important to keep youth engaged in both as much as possible. Using this as an additional point of entry for all youth and seeing it as an opportunity to bring boys and girls together in the same program, Team SUMMIT is excited to explore this collaboration and program further.