The step teams from the Gentlemen of Vision Rites of Passages Enterprises (G.O.V) and their middle school program, The Young Men of Vision Mentoring Program (Y.M.O.V.) travelled to Newark, New Jersey to participate in the YouthStep USA National Step Championships over the Memorial Day weekend. The High School team competed using the 1984 movie The Last Dragon as a theme and the Middle school team used the hit 90’s sitcom Martin as a theme. Both teams won 1st place and highest scores of all of the teams that competed in all categories in both middle and high school divisions.
Gentlemen of Vision Rites of Passage Enterprises, Inc. (G.O.V.) was founded in 2009 by Mr. Marlon Wharton and the late Mr. Paul Albea on the campus of Riverview Gardens High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Both Mr. Wharton and Mr. Albea saw an increasing and alarming need to address the issues and concerns of young socioeconomically disadvantaged males. Mr. Wharton believes that there is a lack of counseling, academics, mentoring, and programs that specialize in fostering manhood among young males that would curtail the increasing dropout rate.
The Gentlemen of Vision Rites of Passage Enterprises, Inc. is a community-based program currently servicing males from various school districts within the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. The organization has an impeccable 100 percent high school graduation and college admission/retention rate. Since 2009, every member has successfully completed high school and has been accepted into a college or university. In addition to servicing high school members, G.O.V. has extended its services to elementary, middle school, and Alumni members in college and the military.
Bennita Higgins a G.O.V. & Y.M.O.V. parent stated “G.O.V. Changed my sons life, Is much bigger than stepping, it's the character, the foundation of discipline and the set up for the future, The Coaches and the staff truly cares about each individual boy in the organization.” G.O.V. President, H.S. Senior and Step team Captain Daryl Castaway Burkhalter states “ G.O.V. Gave me a roadmap for success throughout my time in Middle school and High school, they helped mold me from a boy into a King, and for that I am forever grateful.”
Police Officer/ YMOV Program Director and Founder Quintton Williams stated “The boys and coaches worked really hard to win this championship. But to also be able to give them the experience to see that statue of liberty, ride in a subway, visit times square and compete in a sport that they love, I will continually go to the ends of the earth to help make experiences like that happen for them. I love these kids.”
YMOV Step Team Head Coach Chris Randall stated “I’m proud of the courage, discipline, heart and effort these young men displayed over this weekend. The fire and tenacity shown by these guys is something that can’t be described in words. You just have to witness it. It’s amazing, and I’m honored to be a part of their lives.”
Gentlemen of Vision CEO/Founder and head coach Marlon Wharton stated “It's hard to wrap my head around, in the 13 years that this organization has existed this is the third time that both the high school team and the middle school team won both national competitions . I never imagined any of this when we started but I'm grateful to be able to make an impact on the lives the young men that have been in our program, it's humbling .”
GOV Head Coach Marlon Wharton and YMOV Head Coach Chris Randall were also both awarded the 2022 National Step Coach of the Year award by YouthStep USA Inc. both in their respective divisions.
The Gentlemen of Vision are available for interview through July 15. The performance will be able to be seen on line on Gentlemen of Vision’s YouTube Page at this link. GOV will be celebrating their transitioning members going off to college with a private celebration at the Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis on Sunday June 5, 2022 at 4:30pm. Media outlets are welcome to attend.