Teens reach out to community
The aim of OCCC’s Teen Xtreme summer camp and volunteer program is to build character and foster youth involvement in the community, said Sports and Recreational Specialist Eric Watson.
Camp Supervisor Lisa Barnum said with activities ranging from interpersonal development to traveling to locations such as a local animal rescue, as well as a Stillwater-based retirement center, the camp is an attempt at developing teens into future leaders.
The students, ranging in ages from 12 to 15 years old, also act as junior camp counselors for other summer camps that are hosted by the college, she said. They also are given the opportunity to act as youth leaders and develop their organizational skills.
“It’s an attempt at fostering leadership at a young age and contributing to [the student’s] overall character development.”
The chance to mentor younger campers and take a leadership role is what resonated most with 12-year-old Zachary Mayes of Moore.
“I like it because you meet new people every week and help out with the little kids,” he said.
Taking off-campus trips have been a rewarding experience for students like 12-year-olds Matthew Searle and Mason Williams of Mustang.
“It’s not just the fun of going places but you also have a lot of fun while you’re helping people,” Searle said.
“You get a really good feeling after you’ve done something good.”
Williams said the experiences that students get to share with the people they meet make the camp something to look forward to.
“The birthday party at the nursing home was awesome because we were around 80-year-olds who were singing Soulja Boy with us,” he said.
Williams said he was surprised by the level of enthusiasm the residents had.
“They already knew some of the words to the song,” he said.
Grace Living Center Activity Director Cecilia Perich said the residents all enjoyed spending time with the teens.
“They were all just so energetic,” she said.
“If you ever needed a high-energy group that is a lot of fun, then they are the group to have.”
Businesses interested in having the camp visit can contact Barnum through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teen Xtreme is open weekly and classes run through August 5. There is a maximum capacity of 15 students per session so early enrollment is recommended. Parents may either enroll at the Recreation and Fitness Center Office, enroll online at www.occc.edu/rf, or by calling 405-682-7860.