Do teens need more to do? |

Do teens need more to do?

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

FRISCO – More than 60 people attended a community forum held in Frisco Thursday concerning a potential teen center in Summit County. Hosted by the Summit Prevention Alliance and Drug-Free Community Coalition, the meeting was intended to be a brainstorming session for both parents and teens, with an eye toward developing a task force to carry out some of the ideas brought forth during the discussion.”This idea is not new to Summit County,” said Jake Quigley of Mountain Mentors, who went on to give a history of teen centers in Summit County, going back to 1992 when a teen club called Crenshaw’s opened up near Safeway on Summit Boulevard.”It only lasted three months due to sustainability issues,” said Quigley.Other past attempts for a teen club in Summit County have included teen nights hosted by both Downstairs at Eric’s and Barkley’s. Quigley said that concerns were voiced at the time, however, about bringing teens into a bar atmosphere.Holly Busnardo of the Summit Prevention Alliance discussed the history of the now-defunct teen center in Vail, which was open from 1990 until 2004. The center was funded by a mill levy, but ended up losing $15,000 a year due to lack of attendance.

Last March, the issue was brought up again by the Summit Prevention Alliance, which sparked nearly a year of research and discussion. Summit Prevention Alliance director Jeanie Ringelberg, who served as monitor for the evening’s discussion, said the organization did extensive research on the history and economic sustainability of teen centers throughout the country. Interviews were done with local teens and parents to find out if such a center is desirable – or even necessary.”This is an issue that comes up year after year after year,” said Ringelberg. “Parents tell us that their teens have nothing to do.”Ringelberg said that the idea of a teen center in Summit County faces several challenges.”The biggest issue is the sustainability issue,” she said. “And another challenge is creating a center with activities that teens don’t already have at home.

“We’re hearing from parents and community members,” she added. “But if it is to succeed it needs to be driven by the local youth, as well as their parents and the business community.”As for where the funding would come from, Ringelberg said that it was too early now to even consider the matter. After a general discussion, a straw vote was taken to decide whether the concept of building a brand new teen center should be pursued, or whether an existing facility should be utilized to create one. The majority voted in favor of using an existing facility, an option they felt would be less expensive and more economically feasible.At the end of the meeting, Ringelberg invited members of the audience to sign up for a special task force to pursue the options of creating a teen center out of an existing facility in Summit County. For more information, or to become involved with the task force, call (970) 668-2077.

In Their WordsMany of the teens who attended Thursday’s meeting offered opinions on what the ideal teen center should provide. Popular ideas include a boxing ring, pool tables, a TV and video game room, regular concerts and planned field trips.- “We really need this, because we need something to do other than sit at home and play video games.” – Quinn Wohlmuth, 13- “It needs to hold interest for teens, and to be someplace we want to be instead of being bored sitting at home.” – Tomasz Enyeart, 14- “It needs to be a place that’s fun where kids aren’t afraid to be themselves.” – Andrew Terry, 15

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