Park 2 Park

How can kids from the other side of town get to the Oasis and how is the Oasis going to be different from other aquatic facilities in Billings? These were the questions that were the genesis of the Park 2 Park Mentoring Program. Park 2 Park connects some of our most deserving youth with our most talented youth through a mentoring program. The mentors are chosen because of their passion and desire to help kids. They are eager to volunteer their precious time to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The mentors give the kids the love and attention they desire, and show the kids how promising life can be when making positive choices. The mentees are ecstatic to be cared for by successful high school and college aged students. The program incorporates reading, recreation and relationship to give the mentees a summer of success and growth. The activities have been structured in a way to help the mentors have maximum success with the kids. An outing or activity is planned for each week to the Oasis or other community facility, eliminating the need for the mentors to plan their own activities or spend their own money.
 Though there is no monetary fee for the kids to participate in Park 2 Park, they do have to earn the privilege of going on the outings. Reading goals are set for the week and they are responsible for attaining that goal before the fun begins. Many of the youth involved in this program fail to maintain their reading level over the summer and struggle in school as a result. Our hope is that the incentive of the program will encourage reading at home, and provide a easy way for the adult in their lives to encourage the summer reading program.
We are working toward a one-to-one ratio for a maximum relationship building opportunity. We refer to our mentor/mentee relationship as dynamic duos.  The kids are very appreciative of their mentors and look forward to spending time with them. The outings have included visits to: Montana Audubon Center, both RMC and MSUB, Yellowstone Art Museum, Peter Yegan Golf Course, bowling, Zoo Montana and of course the Oasis. Every other week the outing is at the Oasis, which is great because the kids especially love the Oasis! To end the summer we gather for a BBQ to celebrate the relationships and progress that has been made.