The Wild Horse Gang, so named because of the history of "gangs" in northwest Oklahoma like Jesse and Frank James and the Dalton Gang, was formed in August of 1993. However, unlike their predecessors, this gang doesn't initiate destruction and turmoil; they are attempting to transform their communities. The Wild Horse Gang can be found painting park equipment, mowing grass, planting trees and flowers, picking up trash and visiting the elderly.
The 250 citizens of Kremlin were experiencing tough times economically; oil and agricultural profits were on the decline. Kids with nothing to do were venturing down the wrong forks in the road, which produced minor vandalism. The mission was to emphasize productive behavior rather than destructive.
The gang is a group of approximately 20 kids, ages six through fourteen. By learning the values of volunteering and community service, they have transformed themselves into hope for their entire community. Their fundraisers have enabled them to purchase playground equipment for the community park, make donations to civic projects and the relief effort after the bombing in Oklahoma City. They have bought new welcome signs for the highways leading into town. And, one of their largest projects was the completion of handicap parking for the community center.
In addition to its noteworthy charitable projects, the kids are undertaking interesting projects to widen their knowledge of the world around them. They are learning sign language to communicate with the deaf.
An example of the gang's dedication was demonstrated Christmas Eve '98. Food had been collected for a local agency to distribute to needy families. In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays some of the food remained to be delivered. All it took was a few phone calls and the gang members were ready to go within 45 minutes. Even though it was a holiday and very cold, the members were in place by 8:30 am to deliver the food.
The Wild Horse Gang meets weekly to select and organize their projects. Each project must offer the children opportunity to take control of their own lives, help others and contribute to the cultural and aesthetic values of the community.
"By getting out and doing things and meeting people, the Wild Horse Gang is convinced that they don't have to do something bad to get attention," remarked Renee Hoover, Community Development Support Association, "the residents of the small Oklahoma town of Kremlin are aware that a lot of the stuff going on in their community is gang-related and they are glad that it is."