Program connects youth volunteers to Rookie Basketball
Duluth, Minn. – St. Louis County came up with an easy way to connect youth in the community with volunteer opportunities while also rewarding their efforts, and in the end it was the Duluth Salvation Army that benefitted.
The concept is simple – youth accrue credits for each hour spent volunteering through The Incredible Exchange. Their volunteer efforts help The Salvation Army and other nonprofits operate important programs. In return for their hard work, the youth volunteers can redeem their credits for free participation in an activity of their choice such as skiing, golfing, dance or music lessons, or horseback riding.
This summer, five youth ages 12 to 15 signed up through The Incredible Exchange to volunteer nearly 20 hours a week at the Duluth Salvation Army’s Rookie Basketball program for youth.
“It’s a fantastic idea,” said Kris Mallett, the Duluth Salvation Army Rookie Basketball Association coordinator. “The youth gained valuable work ethic and job experience, and the bonus of giving of themselves—of volunteering.”
The volunteers helped Mallett coach and supervise the players, ages Kindergarten through sixth grade. While being positive role models for the kids, they also held clinics, distributed flyers, sent mailings and much more.
Several Rookie Basketball players even asked Mallett how they could be a part of The Incredible Exchange when they grow up.
“This program gives kids the opportunity to have responsibilities and gain experience under supervision other than a parent. It’s creating the good character qualities employers want,” said Mallett.
Though the program has concluded for the summer, youth can participate this winter. The winter deadline is Oct. 31. For more information, visit The Incredible Exchange website or contact their office at 218-733-2876.
About The Incredible Exchange
The Incredible Exchange was developed by the University of Minnesota Extension with a mission of building volunteerism for St. Louis County youth and forming positive adult relationships. In addition, it promotes a constructive use of time and giving back in the community.
About Rookie Basketball Association
The Rookie Basketball Association teaches youth team play and equal participation, while developing on-court skills. For more information on the program, visit the Rookie Basketball page.