After a fruitless search to find a group through which their sons could volunteer, two Arcadia moms decided to create their own. Thus, Boys Team Charity was established in 2001.
Boys Team quickly became popular and effective. Chapters spread within the Phoenix and Tucson areas and beyond Arizona to California, Colorado and Texas. The founding Arcadia Chapter, now called the Camelback Chapter, is an active and vibrant group comprised of boys in grades 7-12.
Chapters are organized by zip code and each chapter volunteers with a specific set of charities. This structure ensures help is spread all around the Valley.
Each grade level has approximately 30 boys. Membership is open whenever there is space.
“The charities advise us as to the number of boys who can participate,” said Chapter Co-President Elizabeth Garrett. “They have other groups volunteering; it’s an organized system. They only release a certain number of hours, so you can’t just come anytime you want.”
Boys Team Charity requires its members to volunteer a certain number of hours each year. What makes this such a special family activity is that every boy does his volunteering activities with a parent. Since their calendar year begins in May and concludes in April of the following year, boys begin accumulating their required service hours in the summer.
“Boys Team Charity is a pretty big commitment,” Garrett said, “but the experience is worth it when you’re helping people.”
When they aren’t out working in their community, the groups meet regularly for socialization, support, and planning purposes. During some of these meetings, the Camelback Chapter brings in speakers who provide meaningful messages for this group of dedicated youth.
Garrett recalls the Holocaust survivor who addressed one of the general meetings. The speaker showed the group slideshows accompanied by detailed descriptions of his family and what life was like before the Holocaust.
Another memorable meeting was held last year as an informational style “fair.” Representatives from all the partner charities were on-site and each of them had a table with brochures pertaining to their organization. After a brief welcome talk, the boys were encouraged to visit each table for more information.
Jeremy Poincenot was the keynote speaker for Boys Team Charity’s most recent meeting. Poincenot became totally blind when he was 19 and won the World Blind Golf Championship at 20. He is now a life coach and inspirational speaker.
The group’s final meeting of the year is always conducted by the departing senior class. The highlight of the meeting comes when they present a slideshow detailing their big class project. It is typically an emotional time for all.
“Many of these boys have known each other since kindergarten,” Garrett said, “and they feel a sense of accomplishment in having done something to help people.”
To learn more about the Camelback Chapter of Boys Team Charity, check out btccamelback.chapterweb.net.
Boys team charity Camelback Chapter serves these organizations:
- Andre House
- Homebase Youth Services
- Phoenix Rescue Mission
- SARRC (Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center)
- St. Mary‘s Food Bank
- The Society of St. Vincent De Paul
- Welcome to America Project