Lufkin Boys and Girls Club provides safe, positive summer camp f - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Lufkin Boys and Girls Club provides safe, positive summer camp for kids

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Known as "the positive place for kids", The Boys and Girls Club works daily to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential in life.

Unit Director Tracy Mitchell, of The Lufkin Boys and Girls Club, has his hands full. Every day this summer, he will oversee activities for 375 kids, which is the largest enrollment number in history for this center. For campers, the club provides a safe atmosphere that keeps them busy.

"It's better than sitting at home because it's not much to do. And, I have fun here because we have gym activities," said 12-year-old Kierra Streefkerk.

"Between our activities and field trips, it keeps them entertained in their own age group so they don't have to look forward to the things that adults do that they shouldn't do," said Mitchell.  

6-year-old Briara Holloman says she's learning to be a better person through the club.

"I've straightened up my attitude ever since I've been here because when I first started, I had a bad attitude," said Holloman.

And, she says The Boys and Girls Club protects her from some of the negative influences out in the world.

"Knowing that I have somewhere to go everyday makes me not want to be in the streets," said Holloman.

New statistics show marijuana usage has increased among teenagers, due to easy accessibility and lack of positive activity in children's lives.

"We've had an increase in the past year or two with marijuana and prescription drugs being the two most used and abused drugs for youth," said Lufkin Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council Prevention Educator, Kendall Windham.

Mitchell says he's hoping to diminish that number by being a role model for kids.

"Everybody in the community today, they're exposed to it; the kids are exposed in their home life, just their social life. So, for them to be here eight to nine hours makes us feel pretty special and needed here in the community," said Mitchell.

Mitchell encourages hands-on activities so kids get the attention they need.

Windham encourages parents to keep children active in extracurricular and summer activities, like The Boys and Girls Club, to prevent kids from wanting to use drugs. Windham says statistics show that those children who use substances early in life are more prone to become addicted later.

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