Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pancake Breakfast Reveals Clubs’ Impact on Youth

An early morning United Way fundraising event gives us an inside view of the Boys & Girls Clubs in action...

Getting up at 4:30am to flip pancakes for a bunch of kids at the Broken Arrow Boys & Girls Club was something that didn’t really appeal to me. Don’t get me wrong: I love pancakes, sausage and kids. It was the 4:30am wake-up call that hurt.

We were having a pancake breakfast for Club members to raise money for the United Way. The kids started arriving at 7am, so we had to start cooking early. The aroma of pancakes and sausages attracted three young girls that we couldn’t get out of the kitchen. But while they enjoyed hanging out with the “older girls,” we learned a lot about their summer experience at the Club.

12-year-old Corrin, 10-year-old Madeline and 9-year-old Isabella never met before this summer. They are different ages and go to different schools. But they say they’re now friends for life and don’t look forward to saying good-bye to their summer at the Club.
“I will have to bring a lot of Kleenex next Friday, our last day,” says Corrin.
“Yeah, these people are like family to me,” says Isabella.
“These people are my family,” Corrin says.

Yet, they’ve only known each other for a few months. The girls say the experiences they’ve shared and the day-to-day conversations and interactions have made the summer of 2013 one to remember. For Corrin, the best part of summer camp was going horseback riding at Sequoyah Stables. Isabella enjoyed going to Incredible Pizza while Madeline loved Frontier City Amusement Park.
After cooking about 100 pancakes, I took a peek inside the Club’s gymnasium and started to understand why these kids were having so much fun. The kids were in different groups: some were taking turns shooting baskets. The smaller kids hopped on scooters and played chase on the other side of the gym. Some of the girls sat in the stands talking to each other. I counted about seven different groups doing different things, but all had one thing in common: they were smiling, having a good time and were entertained.

Thanks to me and a few of my co-workers, they were also full of pancakes and sausage.

I often talk to people about what our Boys & Girls Clubs do for our kids, but I don’t always get a chance to see that in action. Getting a glimpse of why Corrin, Madeline and Isabella say this was “the best summer ever” made that 4:30am wake-up call not so bad after all.



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