Local youth ‘ wow’ Steve Harvey’s mentoring camp attendees
By Taylor D. Duckett
Special to the Outlook
Preparation precedes presentation and elevation, a principle often taught to the young men of the Omega Lamplighters program. When an unexpected opportunity presented itself, the Lamplighters step team (known as the Light Team) were charged up and ready to shine.
The stage was Steve Harvey’s, annual mentoring camp for fatherless, at risk, teenage males ages 13 – 18. This year is the 10th anniversary, Harvey decided to introduce a new element to the four-day camp by inviting the Light Team to come perform for the campers.
The Steve Harvey Mentoring Program (SHMP) is designed to share and teach the principles of manhood. The mentoring program helps young men realize their potential and prepare them for a strong productive future. The program’s goals are educational enrichment, one-on-one mentoring, and cultural awareness. The aim is to break the misguided traits of manhood and introduce positive role models who counter images of toxic masculinity.
“When we found out we were going, I was like cool, but on the inside, I was running all around with excitement,” said McKinley Wilson, a rising senior at Rickards High School and Omega Lamplighters Chaplain.
The Founder and Director of the Omega Lamplighters Royle King II were among the group of more than 30 volunteer counselors from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated who donated their time during Father’s Day weekend to help mentor and uplift the next generation.
“We were on a conference call and someone said the boys are going to want to see the Ques step. I said to myself, why not give them something showing both. We can have our Lamplighters come up from Tallahassee and step so they get to see youth who represent the mentoring efforts of the fraternity while getting a taste of our fraternal style in stepping, a two in one. Everyone loved the idea; we ran it up the chain and they were on board,” said Royle King II
The three-minute performance came during a restroom break so many of the campers were up around and moving. This made the performance a bit more challenging for the steppers as they had to get everyone back into the room seated and quiet. However, this challenge provided the boys with an excellent opportunity to practice the leadership principles that they work on diligently during various workshops.
Terrance McPherson Jr., a rising sophomore at Rickards High School and Omega Lamplighters member, saw no issue at all, “That was easy! I went on stage with my brothers and told them let’s go!”
When the Light Team commanded the stage, everyone around stopped what they were doing to grab a seat and take out their cameras. The Lamplighters received a standing ovation from more than 200 campers. After their performance, they were shocked to greet and shake hands with Harvey who praised their performance and encouraged them to continue to be positive examples.
“We got to shake hands with Steve Harvey. I’m never washing my hand again!” said Nicholas Adams, a rising sophomore at Lincoln High School and Vice-President of the Omega Lamplighters. “I was honored to be there, it was awesome!”
In addition to the performance by the Lamplighters, a few Tallahassee Omega men attended as volunteer counselors. Royle King II and Brandon Williams of the Chi Omega chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, and Jamal Noble of Florida A&M University’s Upsilon Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated were in attendance.
“Once in a lifetime experience all around,” said King. “I’m still on cloud nine. I’m honored and humbled to have been here to experience this magic that happened and even more proud that my mentees got to experience it and were received so well. They were great!”
The Omega Lamplighters are accomplishing what they set out to do, establish brotherhood, exemplify excellence, maintain commendable grades (the average GPA for the Light Team is a 3.5), and share with others the numerous benefits they have received. Their performance and the impact it had on those in attendance shows that these young men are out to change the narrative, one opportunity at a time.
To see the entire performance visit https://youtu.be/E9c9PnE8L3E.For more information about the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, please visit www.harveyfoundation.com. To stay connected with the Omega Lamplighters, visit www.omegalamplighters.org