Having fun and making a difference at the AAYC

Volunteering at the AAYC

My time volunteering at the AAYC was great, and I can’t wait until this year. My step-bother was the one who told me about being able to volunteer there for Mayhem haunted house they put on. I started helping putting up the walls and decorating the haunt and helping out when I can. I met a lot of new people and made tons of friends (sorry for the cliche but it’s true). My character at the haunt was a clown, and instead of playing typical “come play with me!” I sang. I’d hide, or stand there depending on the night then follow them closely singing Ring Around the Rosie really softly. It wouldn’t be the jump scare but I like working more on true fear, that uncomfortable feeling of being watched or just enough to make the person have chills and get a rush. My costume wasn’t the best, it was a costume I got from the store then just put rips and splattered some colors on it. My make up was simple, yet unique from a lot of the others, I had to blue X’s over my eyes, with black on my eye lids, and a big red smile to top it all off.


The haunt itself went great, as for my home life during the time though was another story. My mom had cancer that had grown too big to control. The Mayhem was somewhere I could go to clear my mind every night and hang out with friends. My mom ended up passing away at the beginning of the season, I kept going because it was somewhere I could go to escape the tragedies of my life at the time and be somewhere with smiling faces (both painted on and on their real faces) and a warm hugs of people who I could sincerely call a family. I can’t wait for this year.


I’ve been doing my research (basically sitting in a chair and watching horror films for hours during my summer) and have some new ways I can really get a good scare this year. My character plan for this year is a huge twist from last year, pretty much the only thing that’ll be the same is my make up. It’s a surprise for what I will be this year, but be sure to look for the clown with the blue X’s, and be ready to be scared. Center City Mayhem is a completely volunteer based thing but I still treat it as a job, because it’s something I love to do. It’s such an experience.
John RichWritten by John Rich johnrich398@gmail.com, Youth Volunteer at the AAYC

For more information about our haunted house, Center City Mayhem, please Check these out:

Also check out the AAYC

Role Models

When we are growing up we look to our role models for inspiration and use this as a guide for how we should behave when we’re older. In later life when we are striving for that same kind of success our role model showed us, it could bring us happiness. Then having the correct role model will help us learn to be successful and adaptive in later life, and that we are happy when we are older having achieved that aim. It’s very important to get the right role model for yourself, and to provide one for your children.

The most common role models for any child are the parents, followed by other immediate family members. This is why it’s so important to be a good role model– as children imitate your behavior. That means that if you smoke, you can expect your child to take up smoking later in life. If you swear meanwhile they too will swear. They will also find other role models elsewhere, as they grow older, just as you probably have different role models today. This is even more the case if you or they are somehow lacking in immediate role models. When we look elsewhere for role models we are have many options. We have our peers, we have characters from the media – comics, films, books, the music industry, sports and all of these can become a big influence on us and how we present ourselves. This might mean they affect us in a minor way leading us to alter the clothes we wear and our habits, or in a major way, leading us to make important considerations in our career or love life that make us closer to our idols, or changing our views on politics or religion.

So what is a good role model?

A good role model should be someone hard working, creative, free thinking and moral. While you can’t choose role models for your children as such, you can make sure that they are exposed to a better selection to choose from. For example encouraging your child to read ‘Superman’ rather than‘The Punisher’ (who murders his enemies and has a general bad attitude) might have a good impact on the way they turn out. However, it’s important not to put role models on a pedestal, everyone makes mistakes.

Where can I find a role model?

As I have mentioned previously, role models are all around us. They come from unlikely places and different walks of life, they come from media and they come from programs geared towards our youth. It has been said the younger generations have no aim, but what can we do about that? Having someone the youth of Amarillo can look up to as a positive role model benefits the youth and help guide them to become successful adults. There aren’t many organizations in Amarillo for the youth, but the AAYC is making its impact as one of the few. The AAYC is a place youth can come to do community service, take sports lessons or just play ball; whatever the reason maybe that draws the kids there. These kids may show up for an activity, but they go away with more than what they came for. The leaders and coaches take time to talk to everyone who comes in, they take a personal interest in their successes. They teach the kids what it means to be a part of a community by helping others and giving back to society. In my early teen years I met Matthew Hite  and several other leaders of the AAYC, and quickly found a group of people who were willing to sacrifice anything for others. I admired the way they were able to find a way to help those who needed it and wanted to do the same in my life. I began volunteering with the AAYC and used my time there to learn what it means to help others. It may be giving someone food to eat or even listening to someone talk about their day. Having a role model such as the ones I found in the AAYC has taught me I can make a difference to someone, and that I can influence others as well.

carajohnson1  This blog was written by Cara Johnson;  cljohnson8952@gmail.com

Happy 4th of July

What is the 4th of July?

The Fourth of July is a National Holiday.  It’s a time when everyone has cook-outs, parties and celibrations, a time to watch fireworks and maybe set a few off too.  From countless friends and families, to the crazy hot weather, mouth watering BBQ’s, to the colorful show of fireworks, the Fourth of July is the perfect holiday for the summer.  People across the country close down there shops and businesses to celebrate our nations birthday.   Having a good time on the Fourth of July is almost a requirement with all the fun activities, events and cookouts around us.  The 4th is a day for everyone to have a good time, relax and put their feet up.

Wait a minute is that all there is?  Is this just a summer holiday to party on?   NO it is a major historical day in our Country’s history.  On July 4, 1776 all thirteen colonies of the United States finalized and signed the Declaration of Independence.  When we are in school we study and learn of the Declaration of Independence but like many things in school the test is taken and many of the facts are forgotten.  Please don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday and think deeply on why we are free.

Let’s take today to celebrate our freedom and to thank all those in the past and the present that still allow us this right.  Thank all the current and retired military personnel, thank our local policeman and fire department and all those that make our city safe as well.  It’s all of our responsibility to help keep America FREE.   It’s not just about the wars we fight that keep us free: our actions, mentality and resolve are what makes our nation free!

Be safe

Did you know around such holiday’s the crime and arrest rate skyrocket.  Please make sure that you and those you are around are safe and stay with-in the legal limits of the law.   Please be safe and respect the laws and the rights of those around you during this great holiday.

The 4th of July is NOT a “get messed up” day or a day that the laws and police turn the other way.   If it is illegal it is illegal.  Please keep this in mind when you relax and celebrate our freedom.

Daily Challenge

This is a fun day but I urge each of you to take 10 minutes and read the attached document.  This is the founding philosophy of our nation and we should all review it and remember our past.

Thanks for taking time away from your celebrations to read this today.  On a parting note, as we prep for our celebrations today.  What are you doing to help keep America free?  Is it enough?


The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”


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