Incoming freshmen invited to discover their life playbooks

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published July 26, 2017

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ROYAL OAK — Entering high school is a pretty scary thought for a lot of teenagers.

“It’s a very critical time,” said Lisa Manganello, Royal Oak Community Coalition executive director. “And a lot of young people have more stress than they ever had.”

To help teens embrace this uncertain event, the Royal Oak Community Coalition, along with Royal Oak Schools, will present Life is Your Playbook day camp from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, inside the Royal Oak Schools administrative building, 800 DeVillen Ave.

The program is being offered to incoming freshmen at no cost through the Royal Oak Community Coalition. Lunch will be provided for free by Jim Brady’s Detroit.

The day camp will be lead by former National Football League New York Giants linebacker, Michigan State University football player and Super Bowl champion Greg Jones, along with his wife, Mandy Jones, a former Michigan State University basketball all-star point guard.

Event organizers said the camp will teach leadership skills, coping strategies, goal setting and skills to overcome obstacles. Specific topics will include perseverance, defining success and making good choices.

“The purpose of the program is to help eighth-graders have a successful transition to high school,” Manganello said. “Greg and Amanda deliver these tools so kids can be their own leaders and make good decisions.”

Manganello said that although the Joneses are celebrated athletes, the program is not a sports program and teens with all interests should attend.

“This is a great opportunity for all eighth-graders,” she said, adding that the camp is for both boys and girls entering ninth grade in Royal Oak in the fall.

“This will give kids the playbook they need to be their own leaders,” she said.

Manganello said the crux of prevention — something the coalition focuses on primarily with drugs and alcohol — is making good choices and giving kids the confidence they need to do so.

“If a student feels successful, and they are invested in their well-being and are invested in making good decisions, then they most likely won’t be led to underage drinking and drugs,” she said.

Manganello said self-esteem is at the core of making good choices, and that is something that will be touched on during the program.

“So I think this program is really important to building self-esteem, life skills and just developing coping skills and leadership skills for themselves, so they can lead their own lives,” she said.

Event organizers said the camp is a lot of fun and attendees won’t just be lectured to, but will participate in activities and receive some giveaways.

Space is limited, and anyone interested in attending must RSVP by Monday, July 31, by sending an email to ROYCommuni

“I encourage kids to RSVP as soon as possible, because it is going to be a life-changing day,” Manganello said.