Teen summit encourages active lifestyle among youth

By Eric Butler: PNT Staff Writer

The Portales Teen Summit, with the theme of “Nothing To Do, Says Who,” may have suffered from the Columbus Day holiday just a little bit on Monday, but participants had positive comments.

Only four participants signed up for the event at the Portales Recreation Center and, in fact, were dwarfed by the 15 people who showed up to volunteer their assistance.

At the end, the day of activities was a rewarding one for the seventh and eighth graders who were present. Timothy Gonzales, 14, and his sister Auryana Gonzales, 12, each won bicycles.

“We painted the wall, we learned how to do the salsa, we played bingo and we learned about weights — how to do different exercises,” said Auryana Gonzales, who was given impromptu lessons on how to ride the bike by event organizer Christina Martinez.

“Actually, things went really well. We got the kids to do salsa. The boy (Timothy) — he was the only boy here — was a little nervous at first,” Martinez said. “At first, he stood with his arms crossed, but eventually he got to dancing just like everybody else.”

Participants and volunteers alike helped paint a large mural on one of the walls at the rec center and were treated to lunch.

The event was sponsored by the Roosevelt County Health Council.

“It was a lot of fun, even if it was just four kids,” said Martinez, chairwoman of adolescent health for the council. “This was the first one we’ve had. We gave away great prizes, a girl trick bike and a boy trick bike and other things, so hopefully we can build on that for next year.”