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ARC/ARCh Youth Team Alumni: 25 years of making difference

Hello ARC/ARCh Youth Team alumni and Happy 25th Anniversary to the Youth Team! Its hard to imagine that 25 years have already passed with the Youth Team making a difference in Waukesha County schools and beyond! Since November of 1986, when the then ARC Youth Team held its first event (the "Aware" Dance at the Waukesha Expo Center), YOU have consistently demonstrated the best of what young people offer: courage, compassion, and activism. You have inspired hundreds of thousands of people with the simple but profound message that all people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. The Youth Team has changed A LOT in the past 25 years (as you will see in this newsletter) and we are so excited to reconnect with and inform all alumni of the amazing changes and current status of the Youth Team. We all have fond memories of our time in the Youth Team, and we cant wait to hear from all of you about your memories and your current experiences! Sincerely, The Alumni Engagement Committee Kristen Lindahl - Mukwonago High School Class of 1999 Becky (Gitzlaff) BauerWaukesha North High School Class of 2000 Scott HestekinBrookfield East High School Class of 2000 Michelle BrennerBrookfield East High School Class of 2006 Lizzy LoSapioBrookfield East High School Class of 2003 Jennifer HorthExecutive Director of ARCh

Special points of interest: Alumni Giving Back The Youth Team Today What Alumni Have Said Alumni Quiz 25 Years of Making a Difference

What our alumni have had to say:

I was part of something that made me feel like Ive never felt before; I was able to be me, use all of my talents, and even discover some of the talents I never knew I had. I knew what some ARCh Youth Team 10th Anniversary Reunion of the kids that saw place. We were all there for the same basic our presentations were going through and I reason we wanted to see a brighter world could and would help them. And to me, no and therefore we had a rare level of unmatter how much time that took, it was derstanding among us. worth it, to know you had changed someones life! Theres no comparison to that Some of my deepest secrets and worries feeling. and joys I had shared with the people here. There were been points in my life when I In the Youth Team, I was never alone. We was so low. At the lowest points, the peoworked together to make the world a better ple who helped me through were people I

met through the Youth Team. I played catch with one of the participants that really didnt ever show any emotion, and she was smiling and laughing. We didnt say much, just passed the balloon back and forth. Simple human interaction changed her. ARCh was my way of saying, I do care and I am going to do something about it. The Youth Team kept me going, and it killed me when my friends would tell me I should just not go or say its volunteer I dont understand why you go so much. They would never understand how much I loved the Youth Team. The Youth Team will probably be the only thing to affect me as much as it has for the rest of my life.

This past Sunday, I went grocery shopping, planned the weekly schedule for work, paid bills, cleaned all my windows (inside and out), bleached the kitchen floor, did 4 loads of laundry, and made a baked ziti. It made me long for the days when my Sundays were spent at ARCh having Youth Team meetings, Teen Times, committee meetings, or a presentation rehearsal. There is just something about being part of a Differences: Gotta Have em! presentation that made me feel so much better than paying bills. Like many others of you, there have been numerous times over the years that I have felt the need for an ARCh Fix. So I would volunteer at Classy Affair or go out to dinner with Jen so she could fill me in on the latest ARCh happenings. A couple of years ago I felt that I wanted to be more involved and offered to help with anything I could. I was asked to me a member of the ARCh Board and for the past year and a half I have served on the Board of Directors. Being a member of the Board has shown me all the different branches of ARCh. I have learned so much more about Camp Pow Wow and all the work it takes to pull off 40 days of camp each summer. I didnt even know about the Thursday Night Socials that have been around longer than the Youth Team! As different as they are, being a member of the Board gives me a familiar feeling I had as a member of the Youth Team. As a teenager, I didnt quite understand what it was that made me feel so good after a Youth Team event, but looking back as an adult, I realize that feeling that I had such a hard time describing was pride. I was proud to be part of something positive, something that changed lives, and something that was shaping me as a person. There have been countless times in my adult life where I owed the biggest thank you to the Youth Team and the things I learned there. Ive learned to stand up for what I believe in and how to do so in a respectable manner. Ive learned that success isnt just going to fall into my lap, but anything is possible when you work for it and believe in it.

Toni Bonini & Kristen LindahlClassy Affair 2012

Being a member of the Board of Directors for ARCh is something of which I am so very proud, but there have been times during the budget review my mind wanders off and I wish I was cutting out hundreds of pictures of dogs and making bubble letters to read Dogs Have Em! I have said it before and I will say it again: ARCh was and still is like a second home to me. Its one of those places you will always feel welcome going back to. The staff may be different, the building may be different, but the same messages are on the wall and they take you back to a time when you were proud of what you did and had a blast doing it! ~Kristen Lindahl ARCh Youth Team Alumni Class of 1999


Chris Bomberg, was chosen by the Green Bay Packers as a Community Quarterback. The Bowl-a-thon is still going strong after 16 years! The brainchild of Melissa (Schinker) Reed, this event is a perennial favorite and has raised as much as $7,100 in one day! The Youth Team has TWICE been selected as Outstanding Volunteer Group in the county. Alum Gregg Wandsneider was selected as the Community Volunteer of the Year by United Way.

The agency still depends on Youth Team members and dedicated alums to serve as the volunteer crew at Classy Affair!
Annette Walters, Beth Brown, Amy Muehlbauer & John SchultzClassy Affair 2012

Other Teen Time volunteer/service projects include: Baskets of Hope (working with a senior center to acquire and assemble baskets of toys, hygiene items, clothes, food, etc. for families living in shelters); and volunteering at the Salvation Army, the Waukesha Food Pantry, and the Humane Society.

At least eight alums have furthered their careers and helped ARCh grow by working as office or PACE program staff; others (including recent nursing graduate Amanda Weidemann!) have shared their talents and dedication as part of the ARCh Camp Pow Wow staff! One of our most powerful presentation pieces, We Will Not Forget You, has been performed fewer than 15 timesthe first time on the steps of the nations capitol in Washington, D.C.

Ten years ago, we left Wisconsin for college in Massachusetts. Before leaving, we established the Dawson-Wolf Excellence in Presentations Scholarship at ARCh, for Youth Team seniors who demonstrate a commitment and skill above and beyond expectations to spreading the ARCh message and helping recruit through presentations. We both fund the scholarship each year, which provides a cash award to one graduating ARCh senior to use towards their college education. This year, Meghan Toole won the award for her continuous dedication to and participation in ARCh Youth Team presentations, ranging from Differences presentations to other community presentations on ARCh topics. Meghan graduated from Waukesha West High School and is attending UW-Waukesha. The Dawson-Wolf Scholarship will pay for all of her university books for her freshman year. ~Erik Dawson & Mike WolfBrookfield East Class of 2002

DawsonDawson-Wolf Excellence

Mike Wolf & Erik Dawson2001


Celebrities whove been involved in some way with the Youth Team include: Katie Couric, Henry Winkler, Judy Shepard, writer/illustrator Todd Parr, and Todays TMJ4 anchor Mike Jacobs (who attended our very first event in 1986!). Our presentation repertoire now includes a nondenominational prayer service, as well as a community vigil (Life Shouldnt Hurt) for victims of abuse throughout the lifespan. Thanks to A.J. (Costa) Lauer and Kaity (Dowell) Schneider, Class of 2001, for starting us off in this amazing direction! The Hands to Help, Not to Harm banner was televised in Great Britain on the BBC. The banner, which is the only one of its kind in the world, is longer than a football field and contains over 20,000 pledges never to shake a baby.

What retreat activity was super-successful when it happened spontaneously, but a disappointment when it was planned and scripted the second time around? What annoyingly repetitious song (and group dance) was done with parents at the Westernthemed Teen Time Banquet, as well as at (too many) meetings and rehearsals?
Meghan TooleCelebration of 10,000

Here are some random questions from 25 not-sorandom years of making a differenceand having What is the name of the bakery that made the incredible cheesea blast! See how many you know! cake that was ATTACKED by fork-wielding YT members at
Lock-In? One Youth Team alum had his name immortalized on a train bound for Washington, D.C. (Who WON the ______ Contest, anyway?) What school has the honor of most continuous years hosting Differences presentations? What did Jim Paterson find in a fellow YT members purse that forced us to evacuate the Teen Time room at St. John Vianney? What is the name of the rap/song (and choreographed DANCE) the Youth Team has performed with a live band? What did John Albers hide in the ceiling of the building on West Avenue? What did Jeff Larson, Kari Ann Schroeder and friends borrow from the lodge at Camp Minikani to go sledding at retreat? What is the name of the famous oratorio (music piece) that YT members performed with hundreds of other community members at holiday time?
E-mail your responses to, and you could win fame, friends and a fortune in praise! And stay tuned to future newsletters for other quiz questions!

Current Youth Team Members! 3 seniors at Brookfield East 1 senior at Hamilton (Sussex) 1 freshman at UW-Waukesha (7-year YT member) 1 freshman at Waukesha West 1 junior at Arrowhead 1 sophomore at Pewaukee 1 eighth grader at Horning (Waukesha) 1 seventh grader at Asa Clark (Pewaukee) 1 sophomore at Mukwonago 2 eighth graders at Park View (Mukwonago) 1 seventh grader at Butler (Waukesha) 1 sophomore at Arrowhead

The ARCh Youth Team at Clarendon Elementary January 2013

The Youth Team still has Committees, but like everything else in life, theyve changed a bit. Presentations: Reduces bullying through coordinating "Differences" presentations (casting, prop management, script binders, model good rehearsal etiquette, etc.) Working on: A skit on cyberbullying; Bringing "Little Red" back into the repertoire. Prevention: Educates the community about preventable causes of disabilities including toxoplasmosis, Fetal alcohol syndrome, lead poisoning, and Shaken baby syndrome. Working on: Increasing awareness through "Life Shouldn't Hurt," a vigil for victims of abuse through out the lifespan Teen Time: Plans monthly service projects and socials for teens with and without disabilities to build social skills and acceptance. Community service projects have helped children from homeless shelters, senior citizens and animals in need. Also organizes annual bowl-a-thon fundraiser.

Hands to Help Not to Harm Banner stretches over 100 yards


At least three alums have been selected as Kohls Kids Who Care winners: Irene Borngraeber( Brookfield East Class of 2003) and Melanie Bunda (Waukesha North Class of 2003) who won at the regional level, and Erik Dawson (Brookfield East Class of 2002) who was one of only 10 students to receive a national award! Performance milestones since the first presentation in 1993 include: 8 shows with 2 casts in one day (@ Waukesha North); elementary and middle school performances on the same day (three times!); two schools at the same time; and five shows at three schools reaching more than 1,000 kids (every 7th grader in the Waukesha district!) several times. We present in all the Elmbrook elementary schools every three years, continuing a tradition begun in 1997. We no longer do Differences: Gotta Have em! presentations in high schools, but still offer dynamic Differences performances in elementary and middle schools.