Opening Day, What’s New and You!
Welcome Youth Academy Students! On October 1st, 2015 we had our official start to the 2015-2016 academic year with our Opening Day event. For those of you who couldn’t make it here’s a recap of all the great stuff the day entailed. We started with students coming in and saying hi to old friends and introducing some new friends to the group. Students also got their picture taken because this year, at Youth Academy, students will have official Dynamy ID’s (more information on why we will be having Dynamy ID’s to come).
Andy LaPointe, our Program Director, fearless leader and advisor for the Senior class, kicked things off with a welcome and introducing this years theme of Moving with Purpose. He then introduced our Youth Academy staff. Returning as an Advisor this year is Lily Brown, she will be advising the Sophomore class. New to the team this year is Stacie Brimmage, the advisor for the Freshmen and Junior class as well as a Dynamy Youth Academy graduate. Elizabeth Machado will be joining us this year as a second year graduate intern, she will be an extra set of hands helping out with different events and meetings.
After introductions, the group broke off in to their individual classes to discuss their deliverables (please check with you advisor to find out your class deliverables) and to look over their advising times on the last paper calendars that will be given this year. That’s right, Dynamy Youth Academy is no longer giving out paper calendars because we have a new, easy way to set up student’s advising appointments. For the first time ever at Youth Academy, we are going to an online scheduling format for advising. This system will allow students to schedule their own advising appointments, on a first-come first-served basis. We did this for a few different reasons. No matter how hard we try to set up an advising schedule that works for everyone, we always have cancellations due to the many outside obligations of our students (family events, other programs, transportation issues, sports teams, etc…). Now students will be able to book advising appointments that fit THEIR/YOUR particular schedule. The change to online scheduling will make it necessary for all students to have an official email account. This is something that they will almost certainly need at some point during their high school/college careers. Whether applying for schools/jobs/financial aid, an email address is a necessity. This will also help prepare them for real world situations like scheduling their first semester of classes in college or a meeting with their college advisor.
After the class breakout sessions we came together to get ready for the potluck with some delicious food, provided by our lovely parents. Once we had full bellies, we sat together and listened to Andy discuss what inspired this year’s theme of Moving with Purpose. This was followed up with a discussion led by Stacie about some changes that will be happening this year to help us move with purpose.
The first of these changes is that your two advising sessions will consist of one full advising session and one check in advising. A full advising session will be one hour long and the check in advising will be a half hour long. If you can’t make it to the half hour advising, don’t worry because you can do it over the phone. Now to schedule this appointment you will need a G-mail account but “What if I don’t have a G-mail account?” We have you covered, in your first advising session your advisor will help you set up a G-mail account to get you started on scheduling your own advising appointments. Another exciting change is we will be using the ya.dynamy.org website and blog to communicate important information. Be sure to check it, we plan on updating at least once a month. The website also has our calendar filled with important dates to remember. Important dates like class and community meetings, most of which will be held at the YWCA! Youth Academy has started a new exciting partnership with the YWCA that allows us to utilize their gym, be close to the Central Hub and have plenty of opportunities for community service hours. Did I mention that with the new Dynamy ID’s, students will have a FREE membership to the YWCA? That’s right, now you can move with purpose while breaking a sweat at the gym, or taking a dip in the pool.
Not only are we changing where we are having our meetings but we will also be reducing the number of community meetings. There will be one community meeting a month (4 out of the 10 will be fun events) and 1 class meeting per month (except in March where we will have two). PARENTS, we want you to come to community meetings and get involved! Youth Academy wants to strengthen our partnership with parents because we know the program works best when we work together to support our students in striving for success. We promise that we will have information and fun for all who attend.
This year, our doors will be closing at 5:30pm. We will be providing bus passes for students who wish to take the bus. Parents if you feel uncomfortable with your child walking home or taking the bus please plan for them to be picked up at 5:30pm. Community meetings are a great place to meet other parents and work out carpooling for your child. Another great way of connecting with parents is through social media. We will be creating a Facebook Group specifically for Youth Academy Parents. This will be a closed group but can be accessed by searching Dynamy Youth Academy Parents. Please use this group to help organize rides, make program suggestions, and connect with other Youth Academy parents!
We understand we have made a large amount of changes and we would like to hear your feedback about them. Feel free to reach out and contact us or come to our next community meeting on November 18th to voice your feedback.