-For The Herald-
Teen Late Night, a program that will provide constructive and positive activities for teens on Saturday nights, will start in Sumner this July.
“Sumner doesn’t have anything for teens,” Tom ‘TG’ Gorospe, teen and mission director for the Mel Korum Y, said. TG has been doing Late Night for 13 years.
“Late night is awesome because it allows teens to be in positive activities on a Friday or Saturday Night,” TG said. “We provide our values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring,”
Late Night is a free program provided by the YMCA that hundreds of teens from many cities at the Mel Korum YMCA in Puyallup every Friday.
At first, Late Night in Sumner will be the third Saturday of every month, starting in July, at the Faith Covenant Church.
The church is supplying a facility for the program until the YMCA in Sumner is built. There is a gym and two recreation rooms.
“We want to be the Y without walls,” TG said.
In Sumner, Basketball, video games, board games and food will be provided to teens.
One of the most popular activities in Puyallup is four-on-four basketball.
When the Y is built, there will be more activities, like at Mel Korum. Late Night in Puyallup also offers weightlifting, swimming, indoor soccer, indoor football, and other sports.
The staff at Late Night builds relationships with the teens and makes them feel welcome.
“We do our best to build genuine relationships with them,” TG said. “Through that, we build trust.”
“They can come to us as caring adults,” TG said.
Baily Hill, 13, has been going to Late Night for almost a year.
“They help with stuff if you need help,” Hill said.
Phillip Gray, 20 from Puyallup, has been going for 4 years.
“It’s a great place for kids to come,” Gray said. Gray usually plays basketball, football and lifts weights while at Late Night.
The Late Night staff supervises every activity and is trained to handle medical emergencies.
On May 2, a 12-year-old girl who was not a Late Night participant had a medical problem while walking through the YMCA parking lot.
Johnny Santos, a staff member, saw her and made sure she got the medical care she needed within minutes.
“What if this happened somewhere else?” Santos said.
After three months of Late Night in Sumner, the staff will evaluate how it is going. If enough teens are going, Late night will be twice a month. If there is a high demand, the program could be weekly.
The Faith Covenant Church can cold 50 to 150 people, TG said.
Once the Y in Sumner is built, there will be more room for the teens.