Lending a helping hand, lighting up an elder’s face, providing community service – these are the memories being formed at the Osage Nation Boys & Girls Club.
Leah McCann and Evan Stamper are two of eight active members of the Torch Club in Pawhuska. The club is a chartered, small-group leadership and service program for local youth, offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, according to www.bgca.org.
McCann, Stamper, Miya Curry and Jason Duty visited the Pawhuska Nursing Home Feb. 13 and handed out handmade Valentine’s Day cards to the 20 residents. McCann, who has taken a leadership role in the group, is a 10-year-old fourth grader at Pawhuska Elementary School and she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
“We went first into the dining room where they were eating and gave them some (cards) and then we went into other people’s rooms and gave them some,” McCann said. “There was this lady and she was 99 years old. We was amazed at how old she was and she was still alive.
“We went into the other people’s rooms and gave them Valentine’s cards. They were happy when we gave them the cards. They liked it.”
The residents love when the kids visit, said Justin Vanhorn, activities and social services director for the Pawhuska Nursing Home. He said the residents still have their Valentine’s Day cards in their rooms, sitting on top of their TV’s.
Stamper, a 12-year-old sixth grader at Pawhuska Elementary School, said he was too shy to give the cards out but liked the experience all the same. He wants to be in the U.S. Navy when he grows up.
“I liked seeing all the old people and how happy they were,” he said. “I like going on the trips and helping people.”
After school and throughout the summer the Torch Club picks up trash on the Osage Nation campus, they read to the children at Kids Kampus, the Nation’s day care. They make presents and send cards to Osage elders at Title VI, or visit the residents at the Pawhuska Nursing Home. They also keep the playground equipment at Williams Park looking new by painting the equipment during the spring and summer months. They also plant gardens and clean out flowerbeds around town.
The Pawhuska Boys & Girls Club is a bustling place. When a person enters the facility the sounds of children playing and talking are in the air. It is the only facility in Pawhuska that offers an afterschool program and the club currently averages around 70 children, said Alice Cotton, staff member.
On an average day the children can receive help on their homework, do arts and crafts, play games, play game systems, conduct science projects, watch movies, play in the gymnasium or play in the computer lab. During the summer months the kids go on field trips to Woolaroc, the Tulsa Zoo, the Jenks Aquarium, Sun and Fun water park, Tulsa Drillers baseball games, the Bartlesville Bowling Alley and other fun places.
Cotton said the Torch Club implements activities in four areas: community, education, health and fitness and social recreation.
“It’s good for our community and our children,” Cotton said. “It shows them responsibility and citizenship to help out. It does a lot for their development.”
To learn more about the Nation’s Boys & Girls Club visit www.osagenation.co. To see more photos from the Torch Club’s trip to the Pawhuska Nursing Home, visithttp://www.flickr.com/photos/osagenews/sets/72157641280957635/.