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What would make a successful, long-lasting, teen gathering place?Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010, at 10:38 PM
This topic came from you! I asked the question about what you would like to discuss or see discussed and this is the first thing that came up (besides a certain South Pacific Island). What? (See the other post.)
There have been a number of efforts throughout the years by many well intentioned folks to provide a safe, fun place for our County teens to gather. I was actively involved back in the 70's but 'life' took me away from Shelbyville for many years and when I came back, family and a job seemed to consume all my time.
PLEASE speak up, or ask questions of our community. I hope we get a very lively, thought provoking conversation that results in positive actions.
In the past year I was aware of a group trying to find a place that they could set up a teen activity center. I am sure that when it started out there were numerous volunteers and much enthusiasm. When I saw the group last, it was down to 3 or 4 in the meeting and they were struggling.
Maybe it is still alive and if so, we would love to hear your progress, trials, triumphs, suggestions etc.. If it is not, I would guess it ran afoul of time, energy,lack of funds and eventually people.
While most would probably want to volunteer for such a worthy cause, volunteers get tired and they eventually fade away. I have been there numerous times and I have to admit that my enthusiasm has taken a hit over the years. Eventually you get down to a few hardcore folks and they gradually admit the effort has died. Not the need, but their particular dream.
BUT, there are successes out there and in today's internet world, they should be somewhat easy to find. Long-term success is what we would be looking for and then they should be studied, maybe even visited to learn their 'secrets of success'.
Part of our problem might be one of the things we like most about living here and that is the population is spread out. Teens can't easily get to the place without a car and if they have a car, they probably think they are too old to hang out at a teen center.
So maybe it does not need to be a "teen center". Maybe it just happens to provide a lot that teens are looking for and they naturally want to be there. Maybe instead of having heavy religious influences, the volunteers need to witness by example as they provide a safe, clean venue.
To avoid this being a long dissertation and to get some sleep tonight, I will stop here for others to start sharing their thoughts and ideas. Fear not, I have ideas on how it could work, but this is an open discussion so...... the floor is now open!
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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.
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