Eight familiar faces around The Fort—The Boy’s Leadership Team (BLT)—were awarded a grant from Minneapolis Public Schools, to make a measurable contribution to the Earth Day clean-up effort in Minneapolis. The group, long-time participants in our Tennis2College programs, range in 7th-10th grade, and attend four Minneapolis schools—Andersen Open, Sullivan Communications, Northeast Middle, and Roosevelt High School.
This past fall, BLT members discussed issues they see, experience, and care about, through the lens of local, state, national, and global communities. The issue of sanitation and environmental quality repeatedly emerged as topics of interest. After careful deliberation, the team decided to tackle the issue of water quality in the Mississippi, based on the logic that the river is a body of water that affects other states and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. The intersection of this issue as both local and global appealed to the group.
The group then applied for and successfully defended their grant proposal and will now plan and host the event right after Earth Day on April 26. Their goal is to recruit over 75 volunteers of all ages, including patrons of The Fort, school teachers, family members, and classmates. Also, the BLT will collaborate with another Tennis2College group—Girls Squad—as well as partner with Friends of the Mississippi, Minneapolis Parks & Recreation, and the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area.
The grant funds will be used to provide volunteer lunches, bus transportation, posters and flyers, and other supplies. The group will spend the day picking up trash on the riverbank, and over lunch, the BLT hosts will lead an interactive lesson for the volunteers related to the river and water quality.
In addition to the direct benefits of engaging the community in cleaning the river and raising awareness around water quality, the boys will also be able to highlight this leadership experience on their job applications, resumes, college essays, and scholarship applications.
The goal of Boys Leadership Team is to empower 6th-9th grade boys to contribute their leadership, energy, and voice to their community, while developing skills and experiences for their future. BLT is a program of Tennis2College—the youth development continuum at the heart of FWTEC’s mission. Through seven components focusing on tennis, life-skills and academics, we aim to help students from 3rd-12th grade find a pathway to college and other post-secondary options.