On Saturday, August 10, 2013, some of the most incredible people in our community – Building Futures Mentoring Program volunteer mentors, youth mentees and their parents, traveled to the Dave & Buster’s in Tempe for a day of recognition, celebration, food and most importantly, fun.

As the guests of honor for the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s Building Futures Mentoring Program, mentors, mentees, and parents were treated to a day of games and food. The celebration recognized volunteers, youth, parents, and other ambassadors of the program, for their efforts and accomplishments as participants of this highly successful program.

The event kicked off with a brief opening ceremony, recognizing everyone for their contributions over the past year. The atmosphere was warm and sentimental, as guests of honor were thanked publically for positively impacting each others’ lives over the course of their relationship. This sentimental review of relationships and accomplishments brought tears of joy to many of those in attendance. YMCA leaders and other VIPs were also recognized for their support of the program.

Next, the guests of honor enjoyed a catered lunch in the banquet hall. During this time, people visited one another sharing stories of success and fulfillment as successful mentor match families. Parents, mentors and mentees exhibited high levels of closeness and familial connectedness throughout the event as they laughed, hugged and enjoyed coming together as one large group.

With appetites filled, it was time for playing games at Dave & Buster’s. Guests of honor shifted their warm-hearted demeanors into high gear and it was “GAME ON” when they hit the game floor. Parents challenged their kids, kids challenged their mentors, and mentors challenged all comers … it was hilarious fun on the game floor. In one corner, you could watch them play “Dance Dance Revolution,” and let’s just say that some adults shouldn’t dance in public. Over on “Harley Davidson LA Riders”, mild mannered adults became Hog Riding Rebels as they intensely rode their motorcycles like it was on their Bucket Lists. “Air Hockey” was somewhat sad to watch because the adults’ reaction times were too slow to stop the puck, so the kids scored at will. In games like “Dark Escape 4D” adult mentors and parents alike, turned on their kids while racing to see who could escape the games’ mad man trying to destroy them.

Finally, watching grown adults transform into obsessive game players in “Skeeball” and “Pac Man Battle Royale,” was worth the price of admission. Who could have imagined that rolling a small ball up an inclined board with holes in it could generate such intense focus with our adult attendees? In all seriousness, the game time was an amazing time of fun for everyone. The event was scheduled to conclude at 3:00 pm, but many attendees stayed well into the evening playing games together, reinforcing and strengthening the close bonds that have been established over this past year.

Based upon all indicators, feedback from attendees being most important, the event was a huge success. The desired outcomes of recognition, celebration, and bonding with all the Building Futures Mentoring Family was successfully achieved on Saturday. Approximately 70 participants were on hand.

The Building Futures Mentoring Program is a free program which serves families and youth 6-18 years of age who would benefit from a well-trained volunteer adult mentor and degreed professional YMCA staff.

For more information on this highly successful Valley of the Sun YMCA Program or to volunteer to be an adult mentor (mentors must be at least 23 years of age), please contact Robert Neese at 602-212-6071 or the Program Director in your area. We are currently in need of more adult volunteers.

Chandler, West Gilbert, Tempe, Ahwatukee
Kate Clarno 602-212-6179

Carefree, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Glendale, Phoenix, Southwest Valley
Barbara Harp 602-212-6289

Mesa, East Gilbert, East Valley, San Tan Valley
Jennifer Hewitt 602-212-6186

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