A summer of service for the YMSL Milton Chapter
"To assist, serve, and support those who are in need in our community"
This is the mission statement of the Young Men's Service League (YMSL), a national mother/son service organization for high school boys that began in Texas over a decade ago. It is a non-profit organization governed by a National Board that is quickly spreading across the country. The summer months resulted in an astounding 1,308 hours serving local agencies for the Milton Chapter of YMSL.
The Milton Chapter was established in November 2010 by Tana Riddell. On registration day in March 2011, mothers began camping out the night before to secure their spot in this one-of-a-kind organization.
“Our inaugural Class of 2015 has 35 members (moms) and our Class of 2016 has 30. When the inaugural Class of 2015 graduates, our membership will be approximately 250 mother/son teams serving the Milton community. Enrollment is available to anyone living in the Milton area, as we are not affiliated with any one local high school” said Riddell.
Enrollment in YMSL Chapters is limited and the typical class size is 25 mother/son teams. Georgia Chapters include Milton, Northeast Atlanta, Alpharetta, Centennial and North Fulton.
This group of athletes and scholars participate in a four-year program of philanthropy, education, and leadership training that starts the summer prior to their 9th grade year.
"The boys have their own Board of Directors and each class meets separately. There is a Code of Conduct the young men adhere to both at the meetings and while representing YMSL in the community. We bring in guest speakers but the boys make presentations to their peers based on age appropriate skills as determined by a national curriculum,” Riddell said.
Mason Couch, a sophomore at Milton High School and the Class of 2015 president, said, “Each time I served, I knew I was really making a difference. YMSL makes me feel like I am a part of something big – something important – and that is priceless. One of my goals is to encourage each of our new members to have the same kind of positive experience I had during my first year and to be as excited as I am for the years to come.”
Some of the organizations where the “Milton YMSL Service Crew” can be seen at work include:
- The Drake House
- Meals on Wheels
- North Metro Miracle League
- The Unity Garden
- S.O.T. (Supporting Our Troops)
- The Atlanta Canine Adoption Project
- Police Athletic League
- Murphy Harpst Children’s Home
- Star House and Study Pals
- City of Milton Special Events.
“With a teenage boy, it’s difficult to find those moments when he wants to hang out with his mom. YMSL creates the opportunities to interact with our teenage sons in a very meaningful way. Without a doubt, if it weren’t for the opportunities created through YMSL, I would not have seen my 16-year-old son rock a homeless baby to sleep or play touch football with a group of children in an orphanage. And, we don’t need to go out of the state or the country to find the need. It’s right here in our own city and state,” said Chapter President Tana Riddell.
The Young Men’s Service League gives young men the opportunity to become part of a larger community and to place a valuable accomplishment on their college applications. The Milton Chapter will have an Informational Meeting in February 2013 for the Class of 2017. For more information, visit www.MiltonYMSL.org.