Jan 19, 2023
By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
When they enter the doors of the Boys and Girls Club Denison, children as young as 5 and old as 18 begin taking care of their bodies and minds through the Triple Play Program.
First on the agenda each afternoon for the body, mind, and soul is physical exercise. Shaking off the strain of the school day, they enter into warmups like jump rope, pushups, and situps. Then basketball, volleyball, and flag football might ensue depending on the season. A favorite activity is the freeze dance challenge.
During the challenges, the youth are partnered to encourage one another as they count off their assigned reps or race. The teamwork creates opportunities to learn relationship building, growing their minds beyond digital interactions. No phones are allowed during activity times.
Nutrition rounds out the Triple Play program. The club strives to serve healthy snacks each day as part of taking care of the soul.
“The Texoma Health Foundation helps us provide the Triple Play program,” says Ron Nixon, director of the Boys and Girls Club Denison.
The club has served youth in the Denison community and surrounding counties since 1966. They offer programs that improve academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character and leadership. Ron watches an average of 287 youth benefit from the club each day, and up to 1,531 annually. An additional 3,000 are given opportunities with special events and sports throughout the year.
Ron has seen youth go from failing in academics and constantly being sent to his office, to the motivation of sports changing attitudes and grades. They are rarely sent to his office again.
“That may seem minor to some, but it’s huge to that kid and that family,” Ron says. “I think these kinds of programs are so important. The kids are not just playing a game, they are developing accountability. They’re developing relationships and discipline. All those things carry over into the classroom and their daily lives.”
That is why the Triple Play program remains at the core of the club, developing youth in body, mind, and soul.
“They deal with so many challenges every day,” Ron says. “That’s what is so great about having them here, to see them grow and battle through those challenges. Our relationship and the help we’ve gotten from the Texoma Health Foundation is critical to our success, especially our Triple Play program. We’re very grateful for that.”