Boys & Girls Club kids showed off their Shuttle Sesh dancing and Robotics during a recent Rotary Club meeting held at the Harding Park Clubhouse. (Photo by Chuck Mullett)

Robotics to Santa Paula Shuffle showed by Boys & Girls Club Kids to Rotary

August 19, 2011
Santa Paula News

Robotics to the Santa Paula Shuffle shared the luncheon menu at a recent Rotary meeting held at The Positive Place for Kids, AKA the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley. Rotarians met at the Harding Park Clubhouse and headquarters of the club, which serves youth throughout the river valley.

Club CEO Sheila Tate, also a Rotarian, encouraged tours of the clubhouse be taken after the meal and demonstrations. “Our theme is Great Futures Start Here,” and Tate said as society has become more challenging and more households low income, a place to help shape futures has become more important.

“Many of our kids have no place to go” except home to an empty house, as the adults must work to provide basic necessities. Others are charged with taking care of younger siblings, while some suffer emotional and/or physical abuse. Many live in overcrowded households and some are in foster care. Such kids are at risk or making poor choices, becoming involved in gangs or criminal activity. 

“I’ve heard at times that the club is a free babysitting service, but we are so much more than that.” Tate listed the benefits of club membership, from educational help and the club’s own computer center - provided by a Rotary grant – to programs and activities that build character and sharpen leadership skills. Health, arts, sports, fitness, stress reduction, social skills and more are offered to Club Kids, benefits they would be unable to obtain elsewhere.

And “The real gift to our kids is the staff” that interacts with the kids, listens when they need to talk and talk when they need to listen. “Staff works on how to get along with a bully and not be a bully,” said Tate.

All in all, “It takes very little to change a kid’s life,” and Tate gave several examples including one boy who was resistant to club outreach but whose interest in math grew to him eventually tutoring younger club children. 

“The children of Santa Paula are the future of Santa Paula and the investment made in them will pay off in the future… our police and sheriff’s departments know that club membership drastically reduces criminal activity.” Tate said the club stresses “the value of giving back to the community and we truly believe that great futures for productive giving citizens start here.”

After the Rotary BBQ Team lunch, Club Kids provided the dessert a rich helping of demonstrations of the Santa Paula Shuffle and the results of the Robotics Club. The lively dancing of the kids impressed the guests; several of the dancers are rumored to appear in a YouTube titled Santa Paula Shuffle Sesh, which has had more than 5,000 hits.

According to the Urban Dictionary, “sesh” means “To session something up. To undertake a certain action or activity.” And dancing wasn’t the only activity undertaken by the kids who showed off the results of their Robotics Club. 

“It’s amazing what these kids can do,” with Robotics, said Rotarian Chuck Mullett an engineer who examined some of the projects. “I am really impressed.”

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