Spring and summer months bring outdoor activity and plenty of sunshine. For nearly 40 Detroit PAL athletes this summer has been a season filled with personal growth and development, thanks to the Jefferson-Chalmers Mentoring program (JCMP).
The youth mentoring initiative, brought forth by Associate Athletic Director Chris Clough, serves boys and girls ages 11 to 14. Small groups of children and mentors meet every week for sessions aiming to teach and align core values such as respect, responsibility, discipline and team work. The JCMP is currently anchored by longtime Detroit PAL volunteer and 2014 Coach of the Year, John Johnson.
A typical day in the Jefferson Chalmers mentoring program would include a combination of group discussion and participating in sports. However, as an added bonus and reward for participants within the program, proud partners of Detroit PAL, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) offered the group a very special intimate opportunity.
On July 11, BCBS of Michigan held a Corporate Communications department event at CJ Barrymore’s and invited PAL’s very own Jefferson Chalmers mentoring group. Focusing on a Team Building Agenda, employees of BCBS and PAL children were divided into 12 teams for a friendly competition – including miniature golf, laser tag, bumper cars and rock climbing.
“This event will really provide long-lasting memories for our department” said Blue Cross Blue Shield employee Bridget Grier. Serving more than 4 million Michiganders, BCBS continues to demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Along with meals and snacks for the day, BCBS provided each PAL athlete with a keepsake backpack. As part of their “Health and Wellness Initiative”, memorabilia, hats and a custom Frisbee were among many other items to fill each satchel. Total caloric count and calories burned were also calculated – estimating an average of nearly 900 calories burned throughout the duration of the day.
It is easily said that the those impacted the most, were those who made the trip to CJ Barrymore’s from the Jefferson-Chalmers district. “They really benefitted from being out of their comfort-zone and meeting new role models outside of their normal purview” said Chris Clough, “the emphasis is on increasing physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle, while having fun.”
Each team worked their way around the park from station to station, with one designated scorekeeper per team. Points were awarded based on performance within each event. Teams were given the chance to boost their scores by participating in the only elective station of the day, Water Wars. Brilliant utilization of water balloons and giant-sized slingshots propelled BCBS Team 6 to victory, with the highest cumulative score.