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YMCA club teaches responsibility while having a good time

Candice Nelson believes in letting teenagers have a good time, but she also believes in teaching them responsibility—both to themselves and to society at large.

So, as director of the Teen Leaders Club for the YMCA in both Mathews and Gloucester, Nelson always incorporates healthy doses of fun along with educational programs and values training in the club’s every-other-week meetings.

“My goal is always social time plus training plus volunteer time,” said Nelson. “They like their social time, but healthy living and social responsibility are important.”

The club began in Mathews five years ago with just seven teenagers—a group that Nelson called her “Seven from Heaven”—and it has since quadrupled in size. Programs could include anything from a recent frank and informative session by a forensics specialist on dealing with sexting and cyberbullying to an upcoming talk on how to interview for a job and write a resume.

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