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Teens get active in the community
Teen in Action Sarah Staley chows down on a jar of baby food to help her team win a challenge. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal
A woman rests on a park bench on the corner of Main street and Golden State boulevard. Her pouty lip and sad puppy dog eyes are a clue to the “Girl Power” team that she is their next mission. The girls carefully read the text message describing their mission — make her laugh.  
They started off with telling her to eat chocolate.
No laugh. They started telling her jokes. Still no laugh. Then they decided to go all out and the five girls started busting their best moves doing the chicken dance on the sidewalk.  
Mission accomplished. The woman then handed the team a jar of baby food and said “eat this as fast as you can.”   
Students involved in the Teens in Action program participated in the mission impossible silliness as part of the Go Game, an ice-breaking activity offered on their first meeting held on Wednesday. The goal of the activity is to help with team building and to give students a better awareness of the community, according to the Go Game Web site.         
The Teens in Action program is a way for local students to learn about the resources in Turlock, the career opportunities in the community and to develop a better understanding of what Turlock has to offer.  
“This program is to help teens open their eyes to a variety of careers in the immediate area,” said Karen Packwood, City of Turlock recreation supervisor.  
The students in the program are treated like VIPs, Packwood said. They get behind-the-scene tours of businesses around the community.  
“The hope is when they graduate high school, they stay here or go to a local school and if they leave we want them to come back,” she said.  
This is the second year the Teens in Action program has been offered. They meet once a month starting in August until April of next year.  When they meet once a month, the Teens in Action students are excused from school that day to be a part of the program’s activities.  
There are 19 students involved in the program this year, Packwood said. The students are from Turlock High, Pitman High and Turlock Christian High.  
“I joined the Teens in Action because I heard it was fun and I wanted to learn what there was to do around Turlock,” said junior Abby Falke. “I thought there was nothing to do around here.”  
Most students heard about how fun the program is through friends previously in the program, but they had other reasons to join as well.  
“I wanted to learn what the community has to offer and learn about job opportunities I wasn’t aware of,” said senior Natasha Anderson.  
The program isn’t something students can just join, there are requirements to get into the program and they must apply to get in, Packwood said. Some of the requirements are that the student must be a junior or senior that lives in the city of Turlock or attend a Turlock school. They must also maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5.  
“There are a select, elite few that get picked for Teens in Action and I feel lucky to be picked,” said junior Kayla Ferreira. “I am excited to make new friends because I have none,” she joked as the rest of the girls laughed.  
This program is run by the City of Turlock and the Turlock Unified School District. It is funded by community sponsors.
“I am so excited to meet the variety of people in the community and to get to know the different personalities in Teens in Action,” said senior Asha Lyer about the upcoming year.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.