Kids and Teens Highlight Corner: Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne’s Torch Club plans summer activities

| May 11, 2016

Members of the Boys & Girls Club's Torch Club have a number of  summer activities planned. [COURTESY PHOTO]

Members of the Boys & Girls Club’s Torch Club have a number of summer activities planned. [COURTESY PHOTO]

Provided by Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne

Courtesy of Frost Youth Affairs Editor Jeanie Sunmerville

Mr. Chris Wallace is the staff leader of the Torch Club at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. As he explained:

“I’ve seen Torch Club change kids. They open up, learn to communicate with peers and adults and are motivated to keep their grades up. Torch Club is teaching our pre-teens to lead by being caring and giving to others.  These are great kids with a lot of potential and the most important thing is, to believe in our kids because they feel that and step up in a very positive way and I definitely believe in these kids.  These are great kids and are asked to join Torch Club because of their potential in becoming leaders. By great kids, I mean that they’re a positive influence on their peers, they do their best at school and are making all-around good choices.  We want to support that and this is one way of saying that we believe in them. They can and they are, making a difference in their community and on the people they know.”

Torch Club is one of the activities that members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne can participate in at the Club’s every day after school.  Experienced staff members lead programs and work closely with the children, who range from six to 18 years of age. The Club focuses on bringing out the full potential of each member and encourages them to do their best in school, develop good character traits and make healthy choices now and for their future.

Wallace and Torch Club members talked about the organization’s origin and its impact in the following question and answer section:

1.)  How many children are involved in Torch Club and what are they learning?

“There are 20 kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne that are stepping up, learning to give back and learning how to lead. These 10 to 12 year olds are planning projects in our community and are on their way to being our future leaders.  Every year, the Torch Club elects officers and meets to decide on the projects for the year,” said Wallace.

“The meetings are interesting because we talk about interesting things that we’re going to do.  But, I also look forward to the projects and field trips,” said Edward Wright, who is a fourth grader at Fairfield Elementary.

Edward has only been a Torch Club member for a few weeks and he, his classmate and fellow Club member, Nina Pokorny, were both excited when they were asked to join.  

“I think Mr. Wallace asked us to be part of Torch Club because he saw we are good kids and do well at school.  It’s all about learning what leadership is and how to become a good example,” explained Nina.

Solomon Osborne is a sixth grader at Memorial Park and has been a Boys & Girls Club member for several years.  He is confident in himself and expresses himself easily. “Everyone has a leader in them. Torch Club helps bring out the true leader in us,” he said.

2.)  Who did The Torch Club make feel special this month?

“The residents at Miller’s Merry Manor Nursing Home and we’ll visit twice a month. The Torch Club members ‘adopt a grandparent”’ for the day and they spend time talking to the residents, keeping them company and doing different activities on every visit.  They are understanding the importance of caring about others,” said Wallace.

3.)  Are the members of Torch Club enjoying this interaction while they’re learning?

“Yes. I like spending time with people in the nursing home, especially since some of them don’t have a lot of people to visit them,” said Desmonae Thomas, a sixth grader at Memorial Park.

Aliyah Holbrook, a fifth grader at Indian Village added, “I really liked when we got to paint their fingernails!  When I talk to the residents, I just ask them what they like and we can get into a conversation.”

4.)  What other projects do you have planned?  

“The Torch Club has a number of projects this year, including an upcoming bake sale to raise money for their activities.  Also, we  helped organize a skating party for all of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne members and their families,” said Wallace.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Ashia Brown, a sixth grader at Memorial Park, “and I like helping others. We are doing cool, fun things in the community in Torch Club.”

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Category: Community, Features, Local, Youth

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