BY AMANDA MOSES
Spring Creek Teen Central (TC) created a virtual haven on Zoom for members to socialize, play games, learn about media tools and software, and conduct educational discussions on a wide variety of subjects. Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm, the TC staff greets the teens, inquires about their digital schoolwork, and provides fun activities and projects for them to participate in.
“TC Online has morphed into a “Think Tank” where the creative create, the camera shy have a voice, and the outspoken have a platform,” said TC Director, Lonai Mosley. “In a time of uncertainty, mandated quarantining, and striving to achieve the ‘new normal,’ TC is still that familiar safe zone, where teen members can just be. No expectations, other than to deepen a connection with the community, they don’t physically see, but just be.”
TC has always been a no judgement zone, and through their digital platform, they invite the teens to discuss and debate topics involving current events, social issues, and perspectives on present day life. “’It’s never too late for a daily debate!’ This is an activity we hold with members to provoke thoughts, challenge growth, and teach teens how to research and prove arguments,” said Mosley.
On May 5th, TC decided to incorporate Cinco de Mayo festivities into their virtual social hub, featuring historical lessons on Mexican culture. Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman joined the group, and hosted a brief session explaining how to take an avocado pit and turn it into a plant, using toothpicks, a jar, and water. The members chimed in about how much they enjoyed guacamole and shared their dinner plans for that day, which included: tacos, rice and beans, and other delicious Mexican food in honor of the holiday.
TC Teaching Artist, Eileen Level, shared a short video on the history of Cinco de Mayo. The teens learned that this commemoration is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day (September 16, 1810), but it is in fact a tribute to the Battle of Puebla, on May 5th, 1862 (when Mexico defeated the French Army). In addition to the historical facts, members discovered the many genres of Mexican music (Mariachi, Ranchera, and Corrido).
After the video, TC Recreational Assistant Gavin Edey, created a Wheel of Fortune trivia game incorporating Mexican culture. The members were divided into three groups, and the goal was to earn as much money in the game as possible while also solving the puzzles. Some of the questions were: name a type of Mexican music, what is the name of a Mexican hat, and who fought against the Mexican army?
Once the game culminated, Mosley invited the teens to explore Mexico with a virtual tour on Air Pano, a website dedicated to transporting people all around the world through digital exploration. Mosley showed the group a cave called Pit Cenote. Together they dove beneath the cobalt waters to discover a “cenote,” which translates from Spanish to “well.” According to Air Pano, one of the most famous cenotes in Mexico is located near Chichen Itza, which during ancient Mayan times was a location where they sacrificed objects and human beings to worship the gods. The teens were amazed by all that they saw, one even remarked, “Wow, I would love to go diving into the waters like that one day.”
After the tour, the teens then had an opportunity to play chess, more trivia games, and PlayStation 4 with Recreational Specialist Juan Rosario and TC Recreational Assistant Gavin Edey.
Every week there is something new to discover with TC Online. “Whether figuring out brain teaser puzzles, learning to DJ on virtual turntables, engaging in tech cyber bullying clinics, PS4 gaming, virtual board games, or 360 world tours, TC has breakout rooms for diverse likes and interests. All are welcome to enjoy Anime Friday, Role Playing Fun Finance, Teen Talk Live, trivia, virtual extreme sports like hang gliding over glorious mountains, deep dives beneath Mexican caves, or coasting over sand dunes on camel back in the Sahara Desert,” said Mosley.
For a link to the adventure submit your email request to Lmosley@springcreektowers.com
Screenshots by Amanda Moses and Pamela Stern