LARNED — Over the past several weeks, the youth residents of the Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility (LJCF) enjoyed the opportunity to participate in various activities which helped them release typical teenage energies while enjoying their summer break from school.
The Summer Fun Day is an annual event to support a harmonious environment between the LJCF youth and staff.
Historically, many of the young offenders have encountered negative interactions with adults in authority, such as police officers, judges, teachers, or administrators.
The Fun Day gives the youth and staff a chance to communicate and enjoy each other’s company through outdoor activities that most of us remember from our childhood.
Sponsored with the collaboration of the Youth Special Events Committee and the Employee Activity Committee, the Summer Fun Day event includes a water balloon toss, dunk tank, watermelon eating contest, and tug of war, as well as other entertaining games and activities, concluding with a barbecue meal for youth and staff alike.
The summer event was held in LJCF east and west yards July 24, and was very well attended and enjoyed by all.
During the local Pawnee County 4-H Fair held July 23-26, several youth submitted entries of art projects they completed during activities and woodworking classes at LJCF.
One youth resident entered his drawing of the state of Kansas, which included various college mascots and other Kansas symbols.
Another young artist entered two drawings, a Native American woman with her horse, and a patriotic portrait of a Marine, which earned third place. This youngster also received a grand champion ribbon for a wooden bowl he made on the lathe, and a classmate earned the reserve grand champion award for his wooden lamp, also made on the lathe.
A fourth youth resident used Lego pieces to build a ship, which won the grand champion ribbon for his division. These achievements are a reflection of the artistic and creative talent seen in many of the LJCF youth.
On Friday, Aug. 8, the LJCF activities department provided several youth with the opportunity to learn techniques for a successful barbecue.
A favorite leisure activity, barbecuing promotes pro-social interactions with family and friends; it also can become a competitive and income-generating hobby. In order to participate, youth had to have earned the highest privilege level; the youth were then placed on teams of six with staff serving as group leaders.
Each team learned how to select meat; properly and safely prepare the cuts; use a smoker to cook the meat; and, present the finished product to a panel of judges.
While the grill sizzled, the youth also were taught the importance of enjoying the outdoors and engaging in leisure-time activities. Staff hope that with these newfound interests and skills, the youth will be better able to build more positive pastimes once they return to the community.
Article content provided by CT Taylor, corrections counselor; Matt Simmons, activity specialist; and Paul Zamarripa, activities director.