Wapato Community Center To Reopen Its Doors

Wapato Community Center To Reopen Its Doors »Play Video
WAPATO - Tyson Tahsequah is a single father of 6 living in Wapato and knows just how important it is for this community to have a positive place for children to go.

"There's lots of bad influences in town," said Tahsequah. "As a parent, we need positive role models and functions for children to be at."

But for the last 7-years, there hasn't been a place like that, until now.

The Wapato Youth Athletic League recently moved into the old community center to fill the void created when the only center in Wapato shut down.

"We want a place that the community can come," said Bruce Benscoter, director of the Wapato Youth Athletic League.

"Scooter" is on the force with Wapato Police Department, and focuses on keeping kids out of trouble.

"I've seen that side of it," said Benscoter. "I don't want them to go into, getting involved in malicious activity."

The League first began using the center as a place to host baseball and soccer teams and it's grown into more.

Volunteers say it's a place for children to build good behaviors.

"It's important for the kids to have a tool to work with," said Michael Kennedy, Co-director of the Center. "The more tools you give to kids, the more they work."

Volunteers say community support has been huge.

And when Action News spoke to people in Wapato about the center reopening, some said they didn't have a place like this to go when they were growing up and agreed it was needed to keep kids off the streets.

"There's a lot of gang violence...you don't want your kids getting jumped in because now a days kids are getting jumped in very young," said Alberto Schrader, a Wapato neighbor.

Current programs have already drawn in hundreds, and there are plans to provide arts and crafts and other events during the week.

All with the focus on the future of this community.

"I love children," said Benscoter. "I love kids. Because kids are our future."

The next step for the center comes in two weeks when volunteers move from individual events to all day programs for kids.