Non-Toxic Youth Alternatives, Inc. 501(c)3, charitable organization, est. 1993
Placing value on teens
Non-Toxic Youth Alternatives, Inc. is a faith based organization whose mission is to show teens they are valuable to their community and the church. This will take place through the Edgerton Teen Center which is the ministry vehicle through which genuine relationships are created, maintained and strengthened. Value will be communicated through personal relationships from caring adults as well as by providing positive and constructive activities for teens. These activities offered are designed to be a positive and healthy alternative for teens tempted to become involved in destructive behavior.
Teens cannot be forced to make healthy decisions but they can be offered a healthy alternative to dangerous and destructive choices they face. When a healthy relationship is begun many teens will choose the value rich relationship over the negative temptation. Young people want to feel loved, accepted and valued. The Edgerton Teen center is a place this can be realized and experienced. We place value on teens.
Our Mission Values Are:
Our values are determined by what we believe is Valued by God. There are four areas dealt with in this mission of value.
Teens are Valuable.
Value stems from an intrinsic quality that all people possess. Teens are people and are considered highly valuable despite failings in character, wrong choices or willful rebellion. Value does not nullify responsibility but it does force the mature adult to see each person as God sees him or her- Valuable. Value is not based upon performance but upon the very existence of an individual. To put a twist on the famous writing from the philosopher, Descartes, who penned, "I think therefore I am...". I believe that, " I have value because I am." A young person can change dramatically when he or she understands that he or she is very important and valued by others.
Genuine Relationships are Valuable.
As stated above, relationships are the key to proving one's value to another person. It is through unconditional love and acceptance that trust and value are communicated. Relationships don't just happen, and they do not naturally nurture themselves. A genuine relationship, here, is one where the caring adult seeks to look beyond the teens life resume but instead gazes at each teen as an individual, as possessing intrinsic value and a life whose story is just beginning to be written. I believe that our perspective of a person's value speaks volumes about our own heart condition. Teens are valuable and need to be shown their value through a healthy positive love centered relationship.
Positive Alternatives are Valuable.
The temptations facing teens today are enormous. Unless a young person is actively involved in a number of extracurricular school activities (and this is no guarantee) the time available to begin a harmful habit or the temptation to partake of a dangerous activity are overwhelming. Providing a positive alternative to teens at these, the most dangerous and vulnerable times, is essential to saving them from self inflicted personal destruction.
Quality is Valuable
Parks, Malls and the city streets have become the place most frequented by teens. In these areas little or no supervision is available and the opportunity to be involved in destructive activities is overwhelming. In order to compete with these exciting avenues of potential destruction any type of alternative program must be of a high quality. The facilities provided by the Edgerton Teen Center are clean, neat and contemporary offering many different types of games and activities and positive alternatives. Adult supervision is always present.
To fill the void in an empty generation through relationships in a contemporary, dynamic and exciting way.
To fill the emptiness in young adults by creating genuine caring relationships and to foster trust through which we will offer positive and dynamic alternatives for a searching generation. The ability to befriend a teen will be a natural outflow of our relationship with each individual. We will minister through love, friendship and acceptance.
The great dilemma of the young generation is the result of lacking relationships or the presence of unhealthy relationships. Peer groups offer relationships but these are often not healthy since they are based upon immature people's values, needs and wants. Gangs offer security and a substitute family but offer no hope, unconditional love nor forgiveness. It takes a mature caring adult to offer a genuine and valuable relationship to a teen.
The volunteer staff can provide what many of these teens do not have but desperately seek, namely, a healthy relationship with a mature adult, teacher, mentor or friend. Many teens do not feel comfortable in a school setting, nor church so the opportunity for creating positive relationship difficult in those settings. Therefore, we have created a neutral ground through which to offer relational availability to the searching teen. Many leaders can offer information to a young person in the areas of guidance, self control, self esteem, and spirituality but these pressing issues facing teens will more aptly be accepted by the teen if mutual trust and acceptance have been earned and established rather than an organized lecture.
This generation needs to be shown that they are intrinsically valuable to God, their community, adults and to the world in which they live.
There exists in Rock County, Wisconsin an urgent need to declare, explain and prove the love of God and of the Community to a generation of young people.
Teens have need of adult intervention in their immediate situation. These four groups: Home, Church, Government and Community should love, strengthen and protect young people from the many destructive activities to which they so readily fall prey. The Edgerton Teen Center staff is standing in the gap between the Church, the Home, Government and the Community so that young people feel valued. To present a dynamic and positive alternative to this searching generation is necessary.
The person that we serve is a male or female person between the ages of 13-19 years old. This is not a youth center, but rather a teen center.
Many of the teens who naturally fall into the target audience are those young people who are labeled "at risk," because they are already into the drug and alcohol scene, are from unhealthy dysfunctional families, have been abused and neglected or simply because they are confused and need guidance and direction. We, however, believe every teen is at risk and the vision of this organization is to fill the void in every teen through relationships, and to do so, the staff declares, explains and proves that each teen is valuable. Teenagers are the group of people Non-Toxic Youth Alternatives is called to serve.
To create an atmosphere where teens are loved, befriended and accepted.
Our purpose is to show teens that they are important and valuable to their community, the Church, adults and society. We draw young people by our activities, programs, concerts and retreats so we may relate to each teen on a personal level. By meeting personally over a consistent and long period of time genuine relationships are created, nurtured and established.
Since the creation of the teen center back in 1993, many wonderful relationships were begun which to this day remain strong. We count among our friends those teens who were among the first to enjoy the teen center. Now in their 30's and with families of their own we still engage in meaningful relationships. They have touched our lives forever and we have touched theirs. This is a wonderful cycle which will continue even after volunteers and board members leave and new one's take their place.
Our Mission strategy involves the objectives of -
Attraction and Availability.
1. The first objective is to Attract young people to a place where we can minister to them individually. The means by which this is accomplished is through the outreach vehicle of a Teen Center.
At the Teen Center many popular, constructive and fun activities are offered including pool, foosball, air hockey, video games, live entertainment, after school workshops and all of this is available at one indoor location containing over 3,000 square feet of recreational and educational floor space and it’s all free! Also, there is a cafe where teens can sit and sip soda or just hang out.
In 2006, we added an outdoor adventure camp- Bear Claw Lodge, as an addition to our attractions. Included at Bear Claw Lodge are GPS treasure/Geo cache treasure hunts, zip line, hiking trails, ATV trail riding, canoeing, paintball, air-soft, and other outdoor adventures in Wisconsin's north woods. Available as well, are the Outdoor Adventure Retreats. These retreats have been a part of the our adventure attraction since 1993. We’ve offered rock climbing, rappelling, and wild caving. We own the equipment and have an experienced staff by which to offer these activities safely. Each retreat is guided in a safe and exciting way. Indoor and Outdoor activities provide the teens with many healthy choices to enjoy.
2. The second objective is to be Available to engage in meaningful conversation. Sitting down with a young person and giving real attention is an open door into the teen's life and often times the frustrations in these young lives are eased by an eye to eye conversation and attentive listening ear. Teens really want someone to talk to who they believe cares. The primary objectives here are to provide an environment which will attract young people where we can make ourselves available to them when they need us. Gangs, sexual activity, peer pressure, and general rebellion are signs of a greater problem- a desire for genuine relationships. At the Center teens find acceptance, trust and friendships. Here, they can find a relationship with adults who care!
established - March, 1993