AThe Young Men’s Service League - Boerne Chapter
Paint clung to their skin and clothing, their muscles ached with exhaustion, but it was all worth it. A group of moms and their sons had spent the day painting walls and ceilings in a home through Habitat for Humanity, as just one of the many organizations that partner with the Young Men’s Service League.
Alexa M. Johnston
YMSL - Boerne Chapter
The Young Men’s Service League originated back in 2001 in Plano, Texas, when founder Pam Rosener established the program for mothers to serve their community alongside their high school-aged sons. This would not only help develop leadership skills, but also foster the mother-son relationship, all while investing in their community — a mission that has remained the same through the organization’s 20 years. Since its inception, YMSL has expanded to over 110 chapters in 16 states, with over 2 million hours served.
In 2019, Cindy Lutz and Mona George shared the common goal of not only spending quality time with their sons (a task increasingly harder to accomplish with high schoolers) but finding purposeful ways that they could all serve the community. After learning about YMSL through friends in a nearby city, Lutz, First Vice President, and George, Chapter President, set out to establish their own chapter in Boerne with the assistance of Jennifer Hill, Chapter Secretary. They would quickly find that compassion would become an enduring theme throughout their experiences.
“I personally was motivated to start this chapter because of a desire to serve my community and have meaningful experiences with my son, Price,” Hill explains. “Interestingly, we started this chapter during unprecedented circumstances and while we have faced many challenges, I believe we have made an even bigger impact on our community because the needs are so much greater. I have seen Price grow in his compassion for others through YMSL service. What more can you hope for your kids than to have a servant’s heart?”
“I love that my sons, Shawn and Guy, give it their all when they serve,” George recalls of her sons’ participation. “Even in uncomfortable situations or hard physical labor, they finish happy, and the car ride home is always the best! They are in great moods and really open up to me. Because they are getting to serve in a variety of philanthropies, it has stretched them physically and emotionally. They are put into new situations with new people, which has allowed them to grow as individuals.”
“Walker has grown in his compassion towards others,” Tiffany Cone, Vice President of Website, says of her son’s involvement with YMSL. “Working with The Vault, he has learned more about the foster community, the huge number of children who have big needs and all of the sacrifices foster families make.”
During the two years the chapter has been active, including navigating the global pandemic, YMSL Boerne has served 3,470 hours, as of November 2021, with 66 mothers and 74 sons currently participating. The organizations they partner with range in scope from volunteering with foster families to serving the elderly to helping clean up a highway.
“Even through the challenges presented by COVID, YMSL has managed to not only become involved in the community, but make a difference in two short years through several local philanthropies,” Lutz says of the chapter’s progress. “We are proud to work together to serve others, and in doing so, teach our sons about the meaningfulness of working beyond themselves and committing time to others.”
The chapter’s largest project thus far involved weeks of preparation, along with town participation, leading up to the big event. YMSL Boerne hosted the Ultimate Gift to Boerne Blaze Special Olympics, a duathlon for athletes to compete in the run-bike-run race for various prizes. Sons in YMSL trained alongside participants and raced with them on the day of the competition with local high school drum-lines, cheerleaders, dance teams and fans cheering them on to the finish line.
“My favorite memory with my son was doing Boerne Blaze together,” Kristi Elizondo, Vice President of Philanthropy says. “I loved watching Ford have fun running and biking with his Boerne Blaze Athlete, who is also his friend. I loved taking pictures and capturing the joy on both of their faces.”
“My son has grown in both humility and servanthood through the experiences in YMSL, especially his time with the Boerne Blaze Special Olympics kids,” shares Tina Dude, Treasurer.
Young Men’s Service League not only provides a consistent opportunity for moms and sons to serve throughout the course of the son’s four years of high school, but it offers challenging experiences for these young men to grow emotionally and develop as leaders.
“I love watching the boys get pushed a little out of their comfort zones at times,” Bethany Hoegemeyer, Vice President of Membership, says. “My son has learned there are so many more needs in Boerne/Kendall County than what appears on the surface. He’s also learning that volunteering is an investment in the community he has grown up in. YMSL is teaching him great leadership and accountability skills as well.”
“YMSL allows my son, Connor, and I to spend time together in a meaningful way,” Jennifer West, Vice President of Communications, shares. “In this season of life, this precious time is often difficult to find. Serving others brings us closer together and enriches our relationship. We are relatively new to the area, and it has been a great experience to learn about all of the great programs and wonderful people that Boerne has. Every young man and mother have important roles and responsibilities in the chapter. The young men have learned so much about collaborating as a team and seeing how their work and preparation can affect an entire community.”
YMSL – Boerne Board Members
Mona George President
Cindy Lutz Vice President
Tina Dube Treasurer
Jennifer Hill Secretary
Bethany Hoegemeyer Membership
Kristi Elizondo Philanthropy
April Keller Young Men
Megan Cress Parliamentarian
Jennifer West Communications
Tiffany Cone Website
Individuals interested in joining or learning more about the group, as well as organizations that would like to partner with YMSL, are encouraged to visit the website at ymslboerne.org. Organizations can also contact Mona George at firstname.lastname@example.org.