Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) Annual Summer Olympics were held on August 7, 2013. Nearly 100 CSCF Residential Services clients and staff attended this yearly summer athletic tradition.
The Crittenton Olympics continues to showcase the athleticism and work ethic of CSCF Residential Services clients. Since the summer of 2000 the Crittenton Olympic event has brought CSCF clients, staff and community partners together in order to engage and encourage troubled youth to continue their roads to recovery.
“The main goal of this event is to create an opportunity where clients can learn how to deal with stressful situations and to practice utilizing healthy outlets. The Crittenton Olympics is a great way to teach both of these while working with others,” said Ellen Parsons, Residential Treatment Client Services Director, CSCF, and added, “For many of our clients, they have never participated in sports activities that has required teamwork. To see the clients run and play together, positively encourage each other, and laugh together is the best therapy of all.”
Stephanie Reopelle, Wraparound Services Program Manager – Rancho Dominguez Office, CSCF, was the driving force behind this long-standing tradition at its inception.
“I created the Crittenton Olympics to bring the whole campus together and to create an opportunity where our youth could participate in team and individual events,” said Reopelle and added, “In addition, we created the event so that everyone involved can have a good time.”
Reopelle worked for the CSCF Residential Services team for several years before transferring to the CSCF Wraparound Services Program.
She originally created this to be a full day Olympic competition for both group and individuals.
However, the current Olympics are only designed for group competition with five of the original events remaining. The events include:
• String Relay Event
• Sled Race Event
• Tug-o-War Event
• Obstacle Course Event
• Clamming for Marbles Event (Competition event designed for pregnant teenagers)
No CSCF client is held back from participating in the Crittenton Olympics no matter what behavioral issues they may have. This year 51 teenage girls from all CSCF Residential Services housing units or cottages competed. Each housing unit or cottage competes as a team and is represented at the Crittenton Olympics by their team colors, team names and banner. This year’s teams were:
• Top Notch
• Keep Calm
• Fearless Lions
• The Black Willows
Over the years, CSCF has redesigned the Summer Olympics to be tailored to be a team-oriented competition. This type of programming provides a sense of family, competitive spirit, and has allowed CSCF to acknowledge winners collectively and not leave anyone out of the recognition process. In addition, individual medals are given out to CSCF Residential Services clients and staff who demonstrate Olympic spirit and teamwork.
“This year’s Crittenton Olympics was an amazing team building experience and supportive spirit all around. You could see the clients build a bond with each other and even other cottages,” said Kristy Kierulff, CSCF Residential Services Staff.
Typically the Crittenton Summer Olympics brings about a sense of community and camaraderie in CSCF clients and staff alike. Clients are more willing to work out their differences and become friends with each other after getting opportunities to work together on a common purpose.
“The Crittenton Olympics is simply a day to get along in a good natured competitive environment and have fun. For the kids (clients) they forget about their differences and leave behind racial or gang tension, the stress of abuse & neglect, peer pressure, etc., and they just get to interact as kids…. even if it’s just for a day,” said Parsons, Residential Treatment Client Services Director, CSCF.
This year’s Crittenton Olympics also featured the participation of the Fullerton Police Department as Olympic competitors. CSCF clients and staff were appreciative of the Fullerton Police Department involvement as it demonstrated to Crittenton youth that even local police officers and cadets supported their success.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this. I was never on a team before. The Olympics was fun. We won five trophies and I played almost every event. My cottage was my family today and I felt like a winner,” said a 17-year-old CSCF Residential Services Client as she walked away singing Queen’s musical hit “We are the Champions”.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.