NEW BERLIN – A newly incorporated youth organization in New Berlin has its sights on becoming a hub of local teen activity, with a dedication of a downtown youth center slated for later this month.
The New Berlin Youth Center (NBYC) was launched with state approval earlier this year. Its mission: “Empowering teens to be their best.” Since its incorporation, the NBYC’s been busy laying the groundwork needed to open a center and start an outreach campaign to connect to local teens. In May, NBYC closed on its 4,000 square-foot location.
The organization will unveil the center, 34 N. Main St. in New Berlin, during a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. The event will be a chance for teens, parents, and community stakeholders to share NBYC’s vision.
NBYC Director Kevin Phillips, EdD, has centered his career on youth development, serving for 30 years as a youth pastor and 40 years as a scout master. His wish, he says, is to integrate the New Berlin center as a staple of local youth culture.
“We’re trying to grow this place organically,” Phillips said, noting that the building is essentially a clean slate – a “screen-free” zone where kids can interact after school. “It’s going to become what teenagers make it.”
“One of the things we’ve done is talk with the [Unadilla Valley] school to make sure we weren’t duplicating programs,” he added. “If kids can do it in school, they won’t come through our doors and do it again. So we don’t want to duplicate anything they're doing.”
While the New Berlin Youth Center is focused on impacting local youth, it’s also networking with colleges and professors from all over to extend college credit internships through another of its programs, the Leadership Development Institute (LDI), tailored to help young people develop personal leadership skills.
LDI’s goal is to teach major leadership theories, the effect of personality style on leadership, and the international development of team leaders. The program integrates experiential learning with classes, field trips, attendance at governmental meetings, and interviews with community leaders.
The New Berlin Youth Center has taken ownership of a home on Cushman Street in the village to eventually house interns and NBYC volunteers and personnel.
For now, NBYC is still getting up and running. Its board is currently in the process of creating bylaws needed to be formally recognized as a charitable organization.
More information on NBYC, including its Leadership Development Institute internships and upcoming building dedication ceremony, can be found on its website, www.nbyouthcenter.org.