In early June 2017, Philadelphia Youth Basketball will celebrate its 2nd Birthday and prepare for the second year of its Collegiate Summer Camp Series. With this landmark accomplishment in mind, it is important to reflect upon the organization’s mission statement and commitment to empowering young people as students, athletes, and positive leaders.

To achieve this mission, we are creating and delivering high quality programming in each of these three domains. Intentionality and purposefulness is required to have an impact in the academic, athletic, and community lives of the young people we serve. Our academic and basketball programs have been blended together in a coherent program model, with activities taking place on court and in the classroom. Our programmatic approach neatly crafted and refined for our Middle School Partnership Program, our Collegiate Summer Camp Series, and our newly launched Girls’ Empowerment Program. During each successive program season we strive to improve all aspects of our program and expand our impact to more kids throughout the Philadelphia region.

Currently, we are in the midst of creating a leadership development program to build the necessary attitudes, knowledge, skills, and habits in young people to be active and engaged citizens on their teams, in school, in their communities, and in the larger democracy. Having worked since 1998 in the fields of positive youth development, service-learning, civic education, and youth leadership, I believe that any organization must first, before building leadership development programs, determine for itself a “framework” for what is values as the essence of leadership. In summary, this framework should explicitly outline the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and habits that young people must possess to be active and effective citizens and changemakers. The answers are not obvious and must be arrived at after thoughtful research and deliberation.

PYB is conducting its own investigative and strategically planning a decision-making process, which will undergird the creation of more impactful program models for young people to experience, both in a local and global context. We are digging in as a staff team with some key partners and experts. Additionally, we will be testing our leadership framework and emerging program model during our summer camps and into the 2017-18 school year.

At a time when young people are needing to navigate an increasingly complex landscape in their city, country, and world, it is essential that we equip them with opportunities to become discerning and engaged citizens. PYB is dedicated to the holistic development of young people, and civic leadership is a vital component of our philosophy.

Please note: Starting on June 1st, in celebration of PYB’s second Collegiate Summer Camp Series, we will be launching a month-long fundraising push to offer scholarship support for deserving young people in the Philadelphia region. We greatly appreciate your continued support for our organization and hope you will consider donating.

By Kenny Holdsman, President & CEO

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