More teens enroll in local summer programs

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Every afternoon, 15-year-old Aliyah Alford works on some new dance moves.

"I really like hip hop and jazz," Alford said.

She practices with about four or five other girls at the Salvation Army Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club on Reynolds Park Road.

"We have Xbox for dancing which I love dancing," Alford said.

When she's not doing that, she's writing a paper.

This week's topic is career goals.

"Right now, I already know what I'm going to be,” she said. “I want to be a pathologist."

Alford is one of 50 teens part of the nonprofit's summer program.

For the first time ever, the program was fully booked months before it started in June.

"Our female and male teen programs are booked to capacity," program director BJ Williams said.

It’s so booked, there's now a waiting list to get in.

"We've never seen those numbers before,” Williams said. “We've never even had to start a wait list for that age group."

Williams says teens are usually the smallest group in the program.

Last year, only 30 teens were enrolled. Before that, even less were in the program.

"We maybe had a total of seven or eight teens that first started," Williams said.

Williams says besides teens joining on their own, he says parents have been making more of an effort to keep their teens on the right path.

"They want to make sure that their kids are doing something positive," he said.

Williams says they've also added more technology like Xbox and Skype to the curriculum to draw more teens in.

"Having those things now are really great incentives for them to come," Williams said.

It’s an incentive Alford says that will have her signing up for next summer.

"It keeps my mind busy,” the teens said. “But, I'm also having fun."

Williams says teens on the waiting list can enroll at another Boys and Girls Club location like the club on New Walkertown Road instead. ​

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