March 25, 2000 marks the official date of commencement for the CHA Drill Team. This program was designed to provide public housing residents with a non-traditional recreational activity that wasn’t currently being offered in the community. This program was awarded $48000 under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
In August 2000, the administration changed and CHA outsourced all of the youth programs to various public and private agencies to manage and/or operate. Due to the plans for transformation, the drill team was not included, due to date of birth. With determination and drive, James completed the appropriate steps to incorporate this drill team. On November 29, 2000, The New Generation Fancy Drill Team & Performance Arts Ensemble was incorporated, received its 501 (c) (3) and continued to broaden its scope of service by expanding city wide and providing service to inner city youth throughout the City of Chicago. Since established, hundreds of youth and young adults throughout the City of Chicago has benefited from the program.
James Crafton, Founder & Executive Director established the drill team has an opportunity to provide a non-traditional, recreational, educational and cultural experience to public housing and inner city youth. This the drill team serves as a juvenile delinquency prevention program is designed to increase the youth’s awareness of self and their environment, making the more resistant to anti-social behavior. All participants are required to abide by the rules and regulations set fourth, which include but not limited to, continuing education, maintaining a “C” in academic studies and deviating from the drug and gang scene.
The New Generation Fancy Drill Team & Performance Arts Ensemble, Inc. is a unique prevention skill-building program that seeks to attract and engage “at risk” youth not interested in traditional recreational activities giving the a positive alternative to the lures of the streets.
The New Generation Fancy Drill Team is a paramilitary, precision, high stepping drill team accompanied by the Line of Fire Drum Corps. The female members of the team perform precision drill movements, while their male counterparts the cadence with intricate, rhythmic drum corps beats with both fashionably dressed in their trademark custom designed uniforms. Over the past 11 years, the drill team has performed in various block parties, community festivals, drill & drum competitions, family reunions, over “1500” parades, anniversary celebrations, and other events throughout the Midwest. We have traveled to other cities and states across the U.S., i.e., Atlanta, West Virgina, Denver, Kansas City, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Nebraska, Memphis, Ohio, Utah, Pennslyvania, Wisconsin Dells and other surroundings cities within the Wisconsin border. The drill team regularly competes in regional and national drill team competitions and has placed victorious several times.
The drill team is in the vanguard of providing a program that is well focused and can improve the life prospects of disadvantaged youth. The program is designed to impose a structure value system with youth appeal. Value which promote cultural awareness, academic excellence, social, emotional and cognitive resiliency, thus increasing the youth’s awareness of self and environment, making them more resistant to anti-social behavior.