How safe are you?

The question has been mentioned to many of us… How safe are you? What protects me? and what protects my kid?

When in person

Be alert and report–if there is an uncomfortable situation or something is building-up and it does not look or feel right, get away and let people know.

Ignore rumors but be mindful–its very easy for people to spread crazy rumors that are not based in fact. Be mindful of what is said, some rumors have a bases in fact. Some people do this because they themselves are covering up something, others do it because they don’t know better and some do it to be spiteful becuase they are trying to ruin someone’s image or reputation. Many people start rumors, check them out before you believe them. Confront and ask the person you hear the rumor about. Hear their side of the arguement. Don’t beleive something about someone just becuase someone said it.

Actions speak louder than words–watch those around you, how do they act, what is their history. How do those that have been around the person react to them? Do you have a guy feeling about that person?

Drama–dont start drama and you’ll be in a lot better shape and a lot safer.

Buddy System–yes it sounds childish but if your not comfortable going somewhere or have not been there before take a buddy and check it out. Even if youhave someone just come in an chill a few minutes when the event, activity or meeting first starts.

Use your resources

Check them out–there are lots of online places to check public records. Remember anyone can write and publish anything (freedom of the press) but it does not mean that it has not been misrepresented, twisted,  or certain facts deleted or re-phrased.

The Registry is also a good place to check out your neighborhood, you can search for individuals or by zip code. You should learn the concerns in your area before they become issues.   If someone is  not on the registry they have not been convicted of a sex crime.

Beware of people that lie and misrepresent things that they may not know anything about. Don’t be a rumor/gossip maker! It is againist the law to make up rumors and LIE about someone’s charactor. It’s called slander!  They are often doing this for there own agenda.

There are also many applications you can download to your smart phone that will let you search as well but the official state records are on the site listed above.

Not all “bad” people have been convicted so it is important to watch out and look for these people and help report them.

On the internet

Now this is a loaded gun, so to speak, especially with social media.

The purpose of Social media is to connect with people but not the wrong kind of people. Everyone needs to check their priviacy setting and make sure that everyone you post is not out there for everyone to see.

BEWARE of strangers that start asking you a lot of personal questions and do NOT give anyone your address or personal info. They could be out to get you! Watch what information you put out there for the world to see!   Don’t add people to your “friends” list that seem fake.  If a profile was recently created or does not have a real picture on it beware.

If someone you do not know send’s you a message or a link and it is not something you asked for or it has inappropriate content or is attacking someone, TURN IT IN!  Let the sataff at FB know you are getting these spams.

Social media is there to meet people and interact with people you know. Just be careful in whom all you talk to and what info you give them.

Stay away from sites and pages that like to attack and “go after” people.   Take the higher ground and do the right thing here.  It’s easy to get caught up in trash talk and such.

AAYC on the Internet

Please take a minute to stay in touch with us on the internet

Also our Haunted house page

Written by Matthew Hite, AAYC President   matt.hite@amarilloyouth.net

 

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Center City Mayhem

Mayhem

Center City Mayhem is a professional level haunted house that is also the primary fundraiser for the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.  Each year around 5,000 people from around Amarillo come out to get their socks scared off of them.  The Haunted house opens every year in October on Fri and Sat nights from 7:00-midnight.

The official web-site for Center City Mayhem is www.fearamarillo.com and the contact phone is 806-373-2292.  For online discounts everyone can follow the Mayhem Facebook instagram @fearamarillo and the AAYC instagram @amarilloyouth.  Also we have coupons up in all the Toot ‘n Totum stores and throughout the city of Amarillo.

Our History

Since 2007 the AAYC has been involved in the Haunted Business.  We started out slow with a small set-up hiring/sub-leasing, owning no props or equipment at all  but now (since 2009)  have expanded to be one of the major haunted houses in the area.  We have purchased two complete haunted houses and spent thousands and thousands of dollars accumulating the best props we can.  Our youth, staff and supporters build most of our props.  Since 2007 we have been scaring people, and raising funds for our youth center.

Our Staff

The Mayhem staff is ran by the youth, parents and families that make up the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.  Under the direction of Matthew Hite, AAYC Executive Director, this fundraiser keeps our youth center up and running and is our primary fundraiser.

The youth at the AAYC take on the project each year.  It’s a learning process for them.  We teach them how to frame walls, use basic tools,  paint, square, design sets, act, make costumes, sound, lighting effects and much more.  The haunted house is born out of the ideas of the youth at the center.

We take safety of our youth and those going through our haunted house VERY serious.  All the leaders of the center and of our haunted house go through an application process and a background check each year.

We do allow new people into the process each year.  If you are interested in Scaring people  and helping a great non-profit shoot us an e-mail:  volunteers@amarilloyouth.net

For profit?

It’s important to understand that Center City Mayhem is NOT about lining anyone’s pockets with money.  All the funds raised go to support the youth of Amarillo through the center. The AAYC’s website is www.amarilloyouth.org if you’d like more info about the AAYC, or please take a few minutes to read our other blog post!

Amarillohaunts.com

The haunted house at the AAYC has always been part of a great group of people who work together to help make all the haunted house in Amarillo great.  This group is known as Amarillohaunts.  If your trying to find out which Haunted Houses to go to this season, check out the Official Haunted house map and info on the website. www.amarillohaunts.com

Support

The entire city of Amarillo has been very supportive of our haunted house and we look forward to the continued support!

Tips for Improving your life through Healthy Living

In today’s fast pace society a lot of us, including myself, forget that we have to maintain the flesh and bones and keep ourselves healthy.  We over-extend ourselves and push ourselves further than we should and don’t take time to smell the roses.

We can all improve our quality of life by making small healthier choices every day.  Here are six categories that will help you improve your life please take a few minutes to review them and to implement them!

1.  Stress is a mess–everything causes stress…. even good things in your life.  It is important to learn to manage your stress.  Stress has been known to lead to serious health issues such as depression, obesity, self-inflicted wounds and even death can come from being too stressed.   Take some time each day to clear your schedule, get organized and your street will be easier to manage.  Set realistic goals and work toward them.  If you get in over your head, STOP, close your eyes (if your not driving) and then take a few deep breaths which will also help to enhance your blood circulation.  Eat antioxidants because they fight stress hormones on a regular bases.

2. Eat Healthy–you are what you eat is very true.  Many of us spend too much time eating processed food and we eat out too much.  These foods are NOT what our body needs, our body needs a balanced diet of foods and minerals and fresh fruits and vegetables are king!  Also drink, yes drink but drink the right thing.  Everyone should keep hydrated with WATER.  There really is NO substitute.  Avoid drinks loaded with sugars and caffeine. COKES are NOT good for you!

3. Put your feet up–everyone need to have some “me time” prop up your feet, relax, take deep breaths and think about what you are successful at instead of dwelling in the negatives.  Did you know you can build your immune system up by laughing.  Endorphins are released into your body when you laugh.  Schedule time to relax, its important.  Also laughing will help your blood flow and can give you a great abs work out; LOL.

4. Sleep–everyone needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night but did you know that less than 75 percent of people get that.  Games, computers, texting, and social media keep people in contact 24/7 and we need time to rest, our body has to have it.  Shut it off and go to bed!  Between school, work, sports, family, church and other activities who has time to sleep in today’s fast paced world?  The answer:  Truly Successful people do.   Zzzzzzzz

5.  Preventions and check-ups–be sure to know your body, know your limits and don’t step outside of what you can safely do.  Its ok to push yourself a little but don’t push too hard.  get a yearly check-up and physical, sometimes we don’t realize there are issues because they creep up on us gradually. Regular checkups can help you prevent/detect serious health issues.

6. Scare yourself–this is my personal favorite.  We need to scare ourselves or do something to cause our heart to race at least one a day.  The most common way to do this is to exercise but its very healthy to get your adrenaline up and get some blood flowing.  Just don’t do anything that will physically put you in harms way.  In all seriousness we all need to spend more time with a raised heart rate, even a 30 minute walk each day is better than just sitting at the computer, it does not take a high intensive workout to maintain and keep yourself healthy.   Remember to BOO someone, it might help them stay healthy.

Blog post by Matthew Hite, Executive Director AAYC, matt.hite@amarilloyouth.net

On guard, Ready? Fence!

“On guard. Ready? Fence!”

By Anthony Diller
 
With those four words, I was introduced to the sport of fencing. I had no idea that over the coming months I would develop a real passion for what looked like at the time a bunch of kids poking each other with metal rods. I never knew that I would be waiting all week just to go to a local Boy Scout meeting hall for a few hours and practice the art.
 
  
That first night is what took me in. I remember walking in wearing a hoodie and jeans, feeling as nervous and awkward as any thirteen year old kid ever has. The first thing I saw almost knocked me down: A guy with a wire screen mask tipped back on his head, a long sleeved white jacket, and a vest that looked straight out of an alien horror flick walking toward me with a sword in his hand!
 
 
I froze for a minute, not quite sure whether to run or stand and shake. The man introduced himself to me as Coach Matt Hite, and explained he was the fencing coach. He told me that I was more than welcome to mix around with the fencers and see if I was interested in fencing.
 
 
There wasn’t much time to drift. Before I even knew it I was standing in line doing warm-ups with the rest of the group, trying to follow their footwork and hold my hand behind my back. About twenty minutes before the end of class, I managed to get a mask and sword and step onto the strip. Matt explained that the first of us to reach five points was the winner. Needless to say, I didn’t last long. At the end of the night, Thomas, another fencer, asked if I was planning on coming back the next week. “Try to stop me!”
 
 
From that point on, I was obsessed with the sport, the competition, and the atmosphere of honor and respect within the fencing community. I learned many things about both fencing and myself. The hours of practice on footwork and sword technique increased my physical health; the hours spent sparring with friends helped me keep busy and out of trouble; and class gave me something to look forward to during the week.
 
 
But what stood out above all of that was something that I was taught on that very first night. In the sport of “physical chess,” two fencers step onto the strip; a tiny little battlefield where they’ll test themselves against each other physically as well as mentally. But there’s no resentment, no anger, no trash-talking. The fencers step on, test their weapons, and then proceed to their ends. Before you are allowed to put on your mask or take your stance, you have to salute your opponent with your sword. When the battle’s over, the very first thing you do is salute again, remove your mask and shake your opponent’s hand, usually congratulating each other on a good bout. It’s something you won’t find in any other sport.
 
 
Young people today are faced with challenges unique to their generation. They need to be supported in every way possible to make good choices and be able to stand behind those choices; and they need to know they’re not the only one making those good choices. The AAYC is a safe haven for these young folks. It is run by individuals who all have the same dedication and genuine care for seeing the people who walk through the door succeed in life. They’re doing a lot of good in a lot of lives through their clubs and community service. That’s something that we should ALL get behind!
 
 
I drifted away from fencing in high school, but the values it taught me have stuck with me all through the years, and I will be forever grateful to the Hite brothers for teaching me the sport and it’s core values, as well as to my parents, who made sure I never forgot those values and supported me to follow my goals and to never stop until they were reached.
 
 
I would encourage anyone and everyone to bring your kids out to the AAYC, and to support them in any way you can, because they are doing a HUGE good.
 
 
Anthony DillerWritten by Anthony Diller  anthonypdiller@gmail.com

A word of advice….. ‘K2″ Smokers; beware

Chris Miller woke up with his heart racing and a gripping feeling in his chest. He felt as if he couldn’t breathe and as he sat up from the couch he had fallen asleep on he called out for his roommate. His roommate noticed the pale and sweaty look to his skin and that Chris’s lips appeared bluish. He called for paramedics.

When the medics arrived the first thing they asked Chris as they hooked him up to the EKG machine that measures electrical activity of the heart is WHAT he had taken? They needed to know what would cause a seemingly healthy young man to be going into cardiac arrest! Chris said that just 3 hours before he had been at a party and smoked what someone described as “synthetic marijuana, known on the street as K-2 or Spice. The paramedics took him to the hospital and there he would remain overnight in observation while he was given medication to stop the erratic electrical impulses throwing the Sinus Rhythm of his heart. Chris was lucky. The doctors had described already 4 similar deaths of people all under age 25 who had smoked this K-2 in the prior month.

K-2 is not marijuana. It is not even a derivative of marijuana. It is actually a synthetic chemical compound created in a makeshift lab of synthetic chemicals that are then mixed with various dried plants, herbs and tobacco of an unknown origin. Five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) are used to make so-called “fake marijuana” products. John Huffman, a Clemson University student, in the mid 90s synthesized the chemical and described it as structurally similar to THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Pot smokers picked up on Huffman’s work and brought batches of JWH-018 and started spraying it onto varying mixes of flowers, dried herbs and tobacco leaves.In January 2009, researchers at Freiburg University discovered that the active substance in K2 was an undisclosed analog of the synthetic cannbinoid CP 47,497 later named cannanbicyclohexanol. No official studies have been conducted on its effect on humans, but the reports are reflecting cardiac arrhythmias, trouble breathing, hallucinations, and over all psychotic effects similar to the chemicals in “bath salts.” The European Union has outlawed all manufacturing and distribution of this unsafe chemical.

Spice and K-2 has become widely used among high school age kids and young adults because it was thought to be a “natural” alternative to cannabis/marijuana which are in fact natural and not even processed with chemicals but still illegal in many states. Suppliers have attempted to evade the new regulations by changing names and some compounds now that the DEA and Federal Government of the United States has outlawed the specific chemicals and the products that contain them.

Among hallucinations users have described being out of control and suicidal, coupled with extreme anxiety and paranoia. So far over 2 dozen suicides have been linked to the use of K-2, and over 40 deaths, and countless other medical emergencies and emergency room visits. The doctors are reporting trouble with treating these patients because they don’t have a quick chemical screening through a blood test to be able to know who has used the drug. They also don’t have a specific protocol for treatment as the overall effects are virtually unknown.It’s packaged to look like pot, and users typically smoke it, but experts say the high is more comparable to cocaine or LSD. And the effects on the respiratory system and heart have been immediate and swift, causing heart attacks in young people with no prior health conditions.

The Federal Government is working hard with the DEA and FDA to make these imported products from China and South East Asia unavailable here in the United States. And education to young adults is of primary focus. If most kids know that a drug will make you whack out and see things, and possibly die they are less likely to even attempt using it. I have spoke with recovering addicts from Heroin addiction that are absolutely scared of K-2, Spice and all other forms of “synthetic marijuana” like one former Heroin addict described to me he saw a guy smoke it and he ended up jumping through a glass door and cutting himself all up and almost dying. In his own words, “any high that would make someone do that, could not be a good one.” He is now clean 10 months from heroin and has been offered K-2 in which he declined after witnessing through other people’s experience what a really bad drug and stupid idea this was from the beginning.

Every young person must be educated. We have to get the word out. So not one more hospital visit or unnecessary death and suicide is attributed to the use of this chemical drug that seems benign but clearly isn’t. Education is the key. If you see this drug being sold contact your local police department immediately. If you are around someone using, tell them to stop. Contact your local Narcotics Anonymous. Keep talking until someone listens. It could save someone’s life.

ITerri Montes  Blog post by Terri Montes pretjene@gmail.com

The Youth of Today

The Youth of Today

 

We have all heard it, “The youth of today…” fill in the blank, it has been said. The most common I hear is this: “The youth of today have no ambition”. People can talk all they want to about the youth of today, but all they are doing is just that, talking. In order for things to change, something must be done, something for Amarillo’s youth. When AAYC opened their doors many youth saw it as a place they could go to have fun and be safe. A place where they could go and learn something new and get to know other people who they may not have ever met.

I participated in several community service events at the AAYC in order to get into the program I wanted to for college, and I worked with several people who were there for other reasons. We were expected to respect each other and get along, which was not hard because when it came down to it, we were all kids needing something this program had to offer. These times taught me a lot about the other kids, some did not have access to food and some did not have goals once they got out of high school. I saw several occasions the staff making sure these kids had food and talking to them about college admissions. Looking back at it now, I am glad this program was able to go above an beyond for the kids that needed it.

The program I was most involved in as a teenager was the fencing program. I started in the program when I was in middle school and continued it as it changed into the AAYC program. The idea of fencing brings many ideas to mind: from using pickets and nails to the older form of fencing. The AAYC offers the modern Olympic style classes one night a week, but what most do not realize, it teaches you more than swordplay.

During my years in the program I was taught how to work in a team; relying on others and having others rely on me for our success. Even though fencing is an individual sport, having others there to support you and guide you is important, even if it is to hand you a bottle of water.

I learned what sportsmanship is about. In fencing you can loose over and over, and still move on to the elimination rounds. What I found unique about fencing is the level of respect that is asked win or loose. You salute each other and the referee each bout and you shake hands at the end. After a loss it was not uncommon for your opponent to coach you in what you should have done. I don’t know of any other sport where your opponent will help improve your skills.

As for ambition, I learned what it was going to take to succeed and I worked towards it. I was not aiming to be an Olympic level fencer, but rather someone who was enjoying something they loved.

Though I am no longer involved fully with the fencing program, its lessons will always stick with me. Think before you act, follow the rules or you will injure yourself, be there for your team and most of all work towards your goals. This program is here to serve the youth of Amarillo and guide them to being the best person that they can be. The AAYC has had an impact on my current life, leading me to currently working on my masters degree so I too can work with children who are needing someone that they know is there for them, just as I have seen this program do.

carajohnson1      This blog post was written By Cara Johnson cljohnson8952@gmail.com

Kars 4 Kids!

The Kars 4 Kids Car Show was a great success, and we would like to thank everyone who came out and supported us. We raised a lot of money that is going to help build up the AAYC and create a better environment for kids to grow and learn.

Special Thanks to Jacob Morin for his awesome artwork. Check him out here at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aiOCfIhM-M

Special Thanks to Jacob Morin for his awesome artwork. Check him out here at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aiOCfIhM-Mmoney that is going to help build up the AAYC and make it a better place place for kids to grow and learn.

What really made the Car Show great was the effort our volunteers put in. Current and former kids who have been a part of the AAYC came out and did their part to ensure that the show went smoothly and that everyone had a good time. From hosting fun activities to presiding over the Silent Auction, our volunteers really made the event the success that it was.

So, for any of y’all reading. we want to give a huge thanks for all of the great work you did.

Thank you for your time and your effort.

Thank you for your patience and great attitude.

Thank you for making us a stronger organization.

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