Salvation Army Sapulpa Boys and Girls Club loves teensIs there a sound any sweeter than the sound of a teenager vacuuming? Or a smell any sweeter than the scent of a teenager cleaning a counter with Clorox wipes? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t often treated to these sensations when my kids were teens. But at the Sapulpa Boys & Girls Club Summer Day Camp I got to experience both.
Sapulpa loves its teens. And they love their program. There are about 20 teens, ages sixth through eleventh grade in the teen program, organized by Program Aide Jenny Andre. The average attendance for Summer Day Camp in Sapulpa is 125 kids, ages five to 16. The day I was there, the teens were in the doghouse with Jenny because they had left the Teen Room a mess. She told them to clean it up or lose the privilege using it. So they cleaned up it, even lifting two sofas to extract all the interesting things that had rolled under it.
“We love coming in here to get away from all the little kids,” one girl said, when asked what was so great about the program. Other things on the list were that they had outlets in the room to charge their cell phones and other technology. But best of all, it was their room.
Jenny, who is 21, said she remembered being a teenager and wanting to be treated differently than her siblings because she was older. Club Director Jake Law said Jenny started the program two years ago.
“It’s really taken off. The teens love Jenny and she does a great job,” Jake said.
Of course there’s more going on at the Sapulpa Summer Day Camp than just the teen program. I got to talk to a group of elementary school girls who were excited about being with each other at the club. Jake said the campers are dodgeball fanatics and often play it in the gym, as well as basketball games and lacrosse. Campers recently enjoyed a trip to Grand Lake to cruise on the Cherokee Queen paddle boat.
“There are kids who have never, ever done anything like that before,” Jake said.
The theme of the Sapulpa camp is “Thunder Up” for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. In addition to athletics, the Boys & Girls Club expresses its spiritual side by opening each day with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. “We pray over the program,” Jake said. It must be working, because I’ve never seen teens clean and be happy about it like they did in Sapulpa!