I invest other people’s money for a living and it is a wonderful profession. But one of the most rewarding investments I have made since August of 2008 was to volunteer my time to run the Conquest Junior Program for 3rd and 4th grade boys at Pinecrest Academy, a Catholic school located in Cumming, GA.
Conquest is a virtue program for boys. Its purpose is to form their character through competitive sports and creative activities. Each boy received a commitment card which we learned and discussed. Commitments included obeying parents, teachers and coaches. Treating siblings with respect. Paying attention during Mass and saying morning and evening prayers.
We encouraged this behavior through positive reinforcement and competition. We awarded points to the boys and teams that behaved virtuously. For example, a boy might call a foul on himself during competitive sports, or help another boy after he had fallen down, or perform an act of courtesy.
At that age, boys learn from stories and practical example. If you read them the story of St. Paul’s life and then challenge them to show courage, they will try to do it (especially if they earn points towards winning the competition). Eventually our goal will be to get the boys serving others, which is where real character development happens. Last year we took some young men to the soup kitchen in Atlanta and its impact on them was eye-opening. They loved it and they enjoyed interacting with the people whom they served.
The boys had a lot of fun this year and I did, too. I’m sure I learned more from the boys than they did from me.
Conquest Clubs: www.conquestclubs.com
Pinecrest Academy: www.pinecrestacademy.org