As part of the fifth year the Socorro Teen Center has been doing summer programs 19 kids ages 12-17 traveled to Albuquerque for a three hour afternoon of fun and water slides at Cliff’s Amusement Park. Socorro Consolidated Schools provided transportation for the group.
Erika Baxter is the director of the Teen Center Program. Standard weekly get togethers at the center are government subsidized but special trips such as this require money to be raised from both in house fundraisers as well as support from local Socorro businesses.
“The community really gets behind us,” she said. “We can’t thank them enough. Things like a ‘gofundme.com' campaign that we did to raise money. Local businesses have been crucial to continue these extra-curricular activities. What the kids know is that this is a privilege to go on these trips and if they’re academic responsibilities are fulfilled then they get to come out and have fun.”
One of the biggest components of the Teen Center Program is to build relationships between peers. Students were broken up into groups of 5-7, which they chose themselves on the bus ride up, as they made their way around the park under the supervision of counselors.
Bryan Sharp has been in an assistant manager role with the group for two years now. Sharp’s group instantly went for the log waterslide to start off the day.
“What you see here is one of the four summer trips we try to do,” he said. “Getting them out to experience new environments is so important. There was one girl on the bus that was so excited because she had never been to Cliff’s or even gone on a ride and that’s the reason we do this. It is a character building exercise for them. Being given the chance to be a role model for the next generation is such a privilege.”
The group enjoyed rides not for the weak stomached such as the Downdraft, Cliff Hanger, Rattler and Sidewinder before cooling off on the Rocky Mountain Rapids and Waterslides. It is safe to say the majority of the group made the trip home a bit damp.
On July 15th the Teen Center will travel to Albuquerque once again for an Isotopes baseball game. If you would like to support the organization contact Erika at 575-418-9196.