Teen Challenge program geared to summer service

SAUGUS – The town will reintroduce its Teen Challenge summer program, offering three different two-week sessions to students entering the ninth grade.The program is designed to get students actively involved in various civic projects as well as participate in field trips, according to Youth & Recreation Department counselor Crystal Cakounes.”The students have the opportunity to earn up to 20 community-service hours for high school, all while having fun by participating in several scheduled field trips,” she said.Christopher Tarantino, a public school track coach, will serve as this summer’s Teen Challenge coordinator.Cakounes ran the program a few years ago.”We had two vehicles and our kids were eighth- and ninth-graders. We would take them on adventures every day. Usually we would schedule a community service, like cleaning a park, or doing something to help at the Senior Center. Then we might go on a day trip to see a movie in the afternoon. It would all depend on the community service project and the weather,” she said. “It’s really cool and the kids like it.”Field trips this summer have been slated solely for Fridays.In addition to assisting at the Senior Center, the students engage in community service projects at the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and work alongside the Department of Public Works at parks, playgrounds and at the Saugus Tree Farm.The sessions are limited to 14 students each. Eighth-graders will be allowed to enroll only if space is available. The three two-week sessions are Monday to Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day begins at 9 a.m. at the Youth & Recreation Department headquarters at 400 Central St.The sessions are July 11-22, July 25 to Aug. 5, and Aug. 8-19. The cost is $275 per session and includes the expenses for both Friday field trips and lunches on those days, according to Tarantino.To register, write a check payable to the Town of Saugus and mail or drop it off at 400 Central St. Forms are available online at For more information, call the Youth & Recreation Department at 781-231-4022.A brief orientation session will be held at the Youth & Recreation Department office on the Sunday prior to the start of each session, at 4:30 p.m. The orientation must be attended by both the enrolling student and a parent or guardian.

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