When beginning my role as an AmeriCorps member at the Boys and Girls Club, I was presented the task of managing the largest group of children at this site. I was told that this task would be tough and tough it was. The Boys and Girls Club (Cherry Avenue) hosts the most children in the central Virginia area. Rolling into this position of Gym Manager was difficult. During the first week, I had issues with gaining control of children who didn’t know me and working in a system that I was not accustomed to. Also, managing the amount of kids in the gym at once brought its battles. As things began to get better, a new kid that I will call “William” joined the Boys and Girls Club. William was a tiny six year-old with the mind of an adult. He was rebellious and didn’t want to take any direction. For the first week, he wouldn’t cooperate long enough to hear the rules of the game for the day. He often ignored me, tried to leave the building and at points he would attack other children as if he hated everyone. I tried everything, from sitting him in timeout, to rewarding him when he did well, to even letting him sit out as others played. Sooner or later I became stressed because his actions would interrupt the activities and encourage others to act as he did.
Months went by, and I slowly realized that William was a great kid. I started to delegate certain tasks for him to do daily; including helping me set up and run the game. William took pride in helping, and one day he thanked me for letting him help. I asked William, ”Why did you give me such a hard time early on?” He replied, “You’re the only one who wants me to be apart of your job”. What he meant by that is that the kids didn’t want to play with him and his teacher always kicks him out of the classroom. All he wanted was to feel a part of things and as an AmeriCorps Member I am happy that I could be the one to support him with that.