Teens give recreational wish list
A teen center can only be successful if the activities offered are appealing to the youth who will be using the facility.
So what is it that teens, in their awkward existence between childhood and adult life, want?
“A lot of sports,” said 13-year-old Chris Thorne, who was on his way to the the swimming pool at the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex on Wednesday. “Games would be good too – like an arcade and air hockey.”
Jake Cain, also 13, said he would like to see a teen center with a swimming pool. And maybe some dances.
“I would go to some of the dances but not all because I might have other things to go to, like parties,” Cain said.
Table tennis, swimming, Friday night teen dances and arcade games – these are activities that the Rec Complex already offers.
But teens say there’s still room for improvements.
“Maybe just a little more stuff, a little better video games and a bigger swimming pool,” Thorne said.
Larry Hollars, a 16-year-old who works in the day camp program at the Rec Complex, agrees.
“We could use a larger pool with a slide and have some more video games,” he said. “But if we’re going to have a teen center, they need to make it fun for the older kids.”
He said older teens aren’t interested in dances as much as they are in sports.
“They really like to skateboard and Rollerblade,” he said. “Biking is very popular, too.”
At 19, Jake Carpenter said he’s at an awkward age because he is too young to go into bars but too old to take advantage of some of the things a teen center might offer. He said the Bijou Community Skateboard Park, which city officials have threatened to close because of recent vandalism and the lack of helmets and padding being worn by riders, is one of the few things that older teens and even young adults are interested in.
“They really need to keep the skateboard park open,” he said. “We definitely could use an expansion and then also a BMX course in this town to keep the bikes out of the skate park.”
While the teens tend to have different opinions on what activities are fun, they all agree on one thing – the price.
“Whatever it is, it needs to be cheap so your parents will take you there,” Jake Cain said.
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