A Look Back: 2017
While there is much already happening in 2018 in Emerald Youth’s ministry with city children, 2017 provided many opportunities to engage with young people and their families across Knoxville.
A few notable highlights:
- In the summer, elementary and middle school children participated in Emerald Youth Camp Week. Experiences included outdoor adventures like fishing and kayaking; dance; culinary arts; Junior Achievement BizTown; and sports such as boxing and gymnastics. Also during summer break, high school youth traveled to Florida for a weeklong leadership retreat and some fun in the sun.
- Emerald Youth continued to work with 14 church partners in the city including Mount Zion Baptist, Emerald Ave. UMC, The Restoration House of East Tennessee, Second UMC, Laurel Church of Christ, Western Heights Baptist Center and Hope Central among others.
- Parents representing more than 360 children and teens shopped at the Emerald Youth Christmas Store during the holidays. The goal: affirm parents’ dignity and empower families by providing gifts at a deep discount and offering a memorable shopping experience. The store was made possible through gift and monetary donations by numerous local individuals, businesses, churches and organizations.
Whether on the field, in the pool, or on the court, young athletes comprised 145 teams across a variety of sports. Altogether, over 1,300 young people played in Emerald Youth Sports during the year.
Soccer continued to grow in popularity with city children, as did volleyball for middle and high school girls. In partnership with the City of Knoxville, 386 kids learned to swim at the E.V. Davidson Community Center pool operated by Emerald Youth. And in July, Knoxville native Elston Turner returned to his alma mater, Austin-East High School, to host his annual basketball camp. Turner, head assistant coach of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, launched a partnership with Emerald two years ago to continue the success and growth of the longtime camp.
By the conclusion of 2017, a total of 2,214 children, teens and young adults from Knoxville’s city neighborhoods had engaged with Emerald Youth and its partner churches and faith-based organizations.