The “GREAT Games” were held in Pahrump at J.G. Johnson Elementary School last week. Each year for the last 17 years GREAT Games has entertained the youth of the valley. During the summer months two Nye County deputies go out and take their anti-gang message on the road. During the games hundreds of kids play, have fun and learn alternative ways to gangs, drugs and violence.
According to organizer Deputy Don Boulden, the program has averaged about 225 kids in the past 2-3 years.
“At one time this was the only thing to do for the kids in the summer, but that is not the case anymore,” he said.
This year Boulden and his sidekick, Deputy Alex Fernandes, went on the road to Amargosa first and then the Northern area of the county, reaching out to kids in Gabbs, Tonopah and Round Mountain. “Everything has gone on without a hitch. We had a two-week break from the program for DARE officer training school. This was our fourth day at GREAT Games in Pahrump and we have had a good turnout. Next week is the last week and we will be in Beatty,” he said.
Boulden said the highlight for the kids is when the fire trucks come and spray the kids and they get to talk to the fireman.
Boulden said the Vitto family helped out a lot this year. Boulden said this year the program in Pahrump had two HGOs this year, ‘Honorable Great Official’, Carson and Maverick Vitto. The officials for the most part run the show. They are the referees for their square for the games. “Pretty much everything goes on in their square,” Boulden remarked.
Fernandes said things went well this summer. “It has been really good. It’s different than working with adults for eight years. It’s new but I have my own kids. It has been good and very positive. The highlight of the summer has been just watching the kids play. I liked watching them get excited over the games we have been playing,” she said.
Carson said the games have been a tradition in his family. “This has been my fourth or fifth year doing the program. I was able to watch my older brother. The most important thing was being able to keep all the younger children involved, making sure that no one was getting bored and making it fun. It’s all about the games and not the competition. I graduated from PVHS and I am now attending UNLV and majoring in criminal justice,” he said.
Maverick said he enjoys the kids in Pahrump. “I have done the GREAT Games for three years straight and that was from 16 to 18. I love doing it because it’s just GREAT being with the kids. I am in the Air Force reserve and now I am finishing up college,” Maverick said.