Community Connections: Way Club

by Haylee Warner

On July 13th Jazman Dobson and I had the pleasure of reuniting with some students from the school year at Way Club’s summer camp. Way Club is a social club fostering the next generation of leaders in the Greater Philadelphia area. They serve members recreationally, developmentally, and spiritually. Way Club’s mission is to cultivate spaces for teens ‘who desire to be more.’ They bring together inquiring teenagers of all backgrounds and encourage fun, connection, exposure and accountability. They are also a catalyst for young people across the country to become confident leaders for their communities. The club helps members in all aspects of life so they can positively live up to their fullest potential. We were brimming with excitement about this collaboration; our missions couldn’t be more aligned!

Way Club’s program took place at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a beautiful space that gave me fond memories of youth groups from my teen years. I was able to reconnect with 2 students who had both really enjoyed our mindfulness program through the school year. They wrote some lovely meditations on our last day together. (You can find one of them included at the end).

We began with Jaz leading a deep mindful breathing practice. I was surprised at how easily the teens dropped into the practice. When we finished we talked a little about their experience; they were so blissful and sleepy. We also talked about how meditation shows up in The Avatar, a very cute Nickelodeon series. (One of the teens was wearing an Avatar t-shirt). Whenever Ang – the Avatar – gets frustrated about his training or loses his patience, he connects with the “spirit world” through meditation. It helps him calm and center to hone his power, just like it does with us. We continued with two more meditations and shared some of our favorite affirmations. Here are some of the ones shared (what’s yours?):

“I am beautiful”
“I can do it”
“I am confident”

“My life is unfolding perfectly.” 

After meditation I led a yoga practice for everyone. It was wonderful to see teens outside of the school setting. They were a lot more eager to move and explore without the social pressures of the classroom. I offered more fun challenges than I originally planned! To close the yoga practice we did one more shorter mindfulness on breath, with fewer cues so that they could explore for themselves. By the end one girl had all but fallen asleep.

To end our time together Jaz and I shared information about VIBE, our free teen mindfulness app so that they had resources to continue practicing mindfulness and movement on their own, if they wanted. They seemed curious and interested!

We are happy to be in community with other organizations supporting Philadelphia’s youth, and look forward to future collaborations to come!

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