As the pandemic rages on and safety precautions continue, virtual classrooms make kinesthetic learning a thing of the past. Nonetheless, the Galt Teen Center brought back “learning by doing” Saturday morning as local teens gathered outside at Galt Community Park for a lesson on ceramic pinch pots.

Instructor Sonya Schumacher, a ceramics teacher with the Lodi Unified School District, found this event sorely needed amid a time full of uncertainty.

“Since we’re on spring break, I thought this would be a nice chance for teens to work safely outside on a creative project,” she said. “My daughter is with the Teen Center, and I think it’s an awesome program to get going in Galt.”

The subject of the mini art course was on molding sea creatures out of clay. With an assortment of creative works in color and form, along with a large turnout of young artists, the event was deemed a success.

“It’s nice to finally do something like this outside school,” said one attendee. “I miss my friends but I want to be safe, so this is great.”

Laura Baker, volunteer director for the Galt Teen Center, notes the social impact of the pandemic on these teens.

“We’re really trying to keep in touch with our core group by doing more events like this,” she said. “We want to stay engaged with the teens by keeping them involved and create some social activity with their peers.”

The Galt Teen Center is a local initiative designed to be “a safe, supportive, and empowering home” for Galt teens, according to their mission statement. The group hosts a variety of events for teens to meet one another and sharpen the formative skills that will carry them through life.

For Baker and the rest of those at the Teen Center, that also means having a physical space for future activities.

“We’re hoping we can have a place for teens to call ‘home base’ very soon,” Baker said. “They’ve been really resilient and managed to stay together through this. From virtual game nights to mindfulness sessions on Zoom, we’ve tried to stay connected as best as possible and work for that goal.”

Later, Schumacher plans on firing and glazing all the ceramic creations to completion – each a small personal token of the very resilience that these teens embody.

More information about the Galt Teen Center and upcoming events can be found at https://www.galtteencenter.org.