Opportunities for service abound in community

I grew up on the southside of Indianapolis in the ’50s and ’60s. The area was located about halfway between Fountain Square and Garfield Park. As a youngster, I had ample time to get into mischief. However, there were resources in place to keep me and others out of trouble.

When I was growing up, in my southside neighborhood there was the Boys & Girls Club, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts. We also had a myriad of CYO organizations. We had intramural sports programs at many schools. The list of faith-based organizations was legion.

Do we have those youth resources in Hancock County today? I believe we do. Could we have more? Absolutely we could — we just need more people to get involved.

Recently it was my pleasure to talk with some of the youth leaders in our county. Last week I talked to Chad Hudson, who has been the executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hancock County for about eight months. He has about 20 civic and community leaders on his board. He also has an excellent asset in unit director Candace Sexton. The interesting thing to me about this dynamic duo is both were club kids themselves.

Are you aware of some of the other youth programs in Hancock County?

All of the school corporations in Hancock County have a plethora of youth resources, whether they take place before or after school. Southern Hancock School Corp. runs intramural programs, swimming programs and band programs, just to name a few.

This is not just in the New Palestine area. Zion Lutheran School offers many youth programs, such as Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center, established by the family of a New Palestine native who died at age 23. Recently, more than 500 Southern Hancock students have signed up for the program.

On the eastern part of the county, Eastern Hancock offers 4-H programs. The Greenfield Department of Parks and Recreation offers many programs geared to youth. Just call Ellen Kuker, Parks and Recreation, superintendent, or Jeremiah Schroeder, program coordinator. They will tell you about programs ranging from gymnastics to youth summer camps. Do you know about the Landing? It offers a safe coffee house for teens. Talk to Grant Ford about this program.

Did you know that there is a county–wide NASA program in Hancock County? I am not talking about the federal space program. I am talking about Neighborhoods against Substance Abuse.

It has become clear to me that there are youth programs in all areas of Hancock County.

I believe it should be the responsibility of every parent, grandparent and youth in Hancock County to seek out these organizations. Why? Well, one thing I know from my seven decades on Earth, the old proverb, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” has proven itself true. Now, whether you take this literally or not is up to you. I just know one thing, Hancock County is a GREAT place to live. If your youth range from 24 months to 21 years of age, there is a program for them.

Just get involved. Hancock County has plenty to offer.