Thinking back to his youth, Rev. Chester Williams remembers when chess, checkers and bowling tournaments were popular pastimes.
The president and founder of Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club Inc. (CBNC) said he hopes to bring those “positive [and] fun” experiences back to the Northwest Philadelphia community through the group’s nascent “Positive Alternatives” initiative.
The idea surfaced when he realized how many of the organizations’ board members were involved with bowling leagues.
“I thought that would be a good tool to have young people gather in a positive way,” Williams recently told NewsWorks. “All three [activities offer] a good environment and people can challenge each other on the mind level.”
He added that it’s important for community organizations not only to not only focus on neighborhood woes, but seek out unique ways to unite residents.
“There is too much separatism,” he said. “Games like these, all age groups can be a part of in a positive way. We just need people to get involved and volunteer their time.”
In addition to seeking volunteers knowledgeable in the activities, CNBC is also looking to partner with local churches.
Young and old are invited
In addition to offering youths a positive outlet, Williams said it would help senior citizens who “are tired of sitting at home.”
The Positive Outlets program is open to people age 7 and up, but requires a CNBC membership which costs a household $12 a year.
Williams said he hopes small leagues will form by summertime. That would ideally lead to tournaments becoming community staples with teams competing at various events like block parties.
The initiative will be discussed at CNBC’s first meeting of the year, 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, 68 W. Chelten Ave.