The Shooting Stars Teen Club has a mission to support the local Make-A-Wish organization by "enriching friendships, becoming mentors to the younger wish kids and reaching out to help our community and children." York Development Associate Becky Kroft and Regional Director Ann Waltman started the club after discussing teen wish kids’ desire to continue to attend events and stay in touch with other wish kids after they have their wish.
"We wanted the club to be a fun time to meet, get to know each other, share experiences, and be a support system while starting new ways to support the new, younger wish kids," said Kroft.
The Make-A-Wish York office sent out invitations to the York County wish kids between 13-19 at the beginning of the year. Eleven wish kids responded, including 16-year-old wish kid Carter.
"When Becky contacted me in reference to potentially getting a group of this nature together, I immediately thought that it was a great idea for us to give back to a program that had done so much for us," said wish kid Carter of York, PA.
Carter had his wish granted in June 2013 to travel to Turks and Caicos with his family.
"I felt that we had all gone through the experience, so I wanted my wish to reflect that," said Carter about why he chose his wish. "This impacted me tremendously. Once done with treatment, I was able to escape with my family, who had been there for me the whole time."
During the Shooting Stars' first event, Carter served as spokesperson, elated to be in this role after being involved in speech and debate programs as a student at Central York High School for three years.
The teens of the group also helped to gather prizes and sell tickets for the event. Their efforts paid off, and the club raised $882.
Besides the bowling event, the group also has had fun social gatherings to get to know each other better, including mini-golf outings and trips to the ice cream shop. In the future, the teens hope to develop a strategy for its next event, grow the club and continue in their mission to support younger wish kids by making them comfort bags and encouragement cards for their initial meeting and when they are in the hospital.