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Teen Achievers give summer fun
pl Achievers
Dustin Wilson, center, and helpers Kelly Neighoff, left, and Brandi Huerd, right, prepare a waterslide Monday for children at Regency Terrace Apartments as part of the YMCA Teen Achievers Program. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier


Teen Achievers video

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Providing fun and activities to the young kids while teaching life skills and good morals to the teenagers is just a sample of what the Liberty County YMCA Teen Achievers Program is all about.
"I volunteered with the program last year and this year they asked me if I wanted to be involved as the director and I said sure," director Dustin Wilson, 24, said.
Wilson, who is also a fitness trainer at the YMCA, said the program helps teenagers get ready for life beyond high school.
"We help the kids be more successful and have good morals," he said. "We have two sessions a month with a luncheon and guest speakers come in and talk to the kids. Some are local business owners."
Wilson said the Teen Achievers are offered etiquette courses and are taught to work together in groups and to work with kids,
"We help them so when they get to college they can be successful," Wilson said.
He said he has 10-15 active teen members in the program this summer and the group is busy planning for their main event.
"The big event for them is their gala scheduled for Aug. 1," he said. "Kids who are graduating high school and getting ready to go to college can get scholarships. The gala is where the sponsors present scholarships. It is formal and the kids organize and plan the event held at Club Stewart. They learn how

 to plan and set up a formal event. We assist them but they elect their own chairperson and they run it for themselves."
In addition to the big gala the Teen Achievers help the younger kids in the community by providing fun projects and playtime. Currently the Achievers are working with the kids who reside at the Regency Terrace Apartment Complex in Hinesville.
"Monday is water day," Wilson explained as he and his helpers set up a water slide and water balloons last Monday morning. "Wednesday we do arts and crafts and Friday we have movie day. We bring the popcorn and let them pick what movie they want to watch."
"This is so important because it gives the children something to do early in the morning before it gets too hot and they can be right here in a safe area," Carmen Rosa said as she watched her son Adrian Colon slide down the water slide. "These teens are so great with the kids you can tell they enjoy what they do."
With the hoses connected and the water running Teen Achievers Kelly Neighoff and Brandi Huerd watched the children peep their heads out of their apartments and quickly join the fun.
"It's just a great opportunity to help the kids," Neighoff, 19, said.
"It means a lot to them," Huerd, who is 16, said. "I love kids and I love to play with them and for the ones who are a little less fortunate to be able to come out and do things for them and see them smile and be happy is great."
"I think it shows them that there are really good people out there," Wilson said as he prepared snow cones for the kids. "People who will take care of them. These kids are nice and very well mannered.  They understand we are here for them and here to play and have fun with them. I've always worked with kids. My wife and I worked with kids in our church group when we lived in Atlanta and I've always enjoyed doing things like this.

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