Editorial: Youth ask community for helpIf you were growing up in New Richmond, where would you “hang out?” A youth survey conducted Feb. 10 - 15 in New Richmond High School revealed that the majority of students questioned said their top four places to “hang out” in town are friends’ houses, sporting events, the movie theater and Wal-Mart.
By: Gail Winship, New Richmond News
If you were growing up in New Richmond, where would you “hang out?”
A youth survey conducted Feb. 10 - 15 in New Richmond High School revealed that the majority of students questioned said their top four places to “hang out” in town are friends’ houses, sporting events, the movie theater and Wal-Mart.
While it is encouraging that kids are making themselves at home visiting friends and exercising school spirit by attending sporting events, it is a bit disturbing to realize that Wal-Mart is considered a “hang out.”
Wal-Mart is a retail store. Hanging out at the movie theater or any of the other top choices do not seem unlikely choices, but “hanging out” at a retail store can only spell trouble (or mean there’s a vast untapped wealth New Richmond’s youth is harboring from adults to spend at Wal-Mart).
The same survey revealed that given the option of a new skate park, a teen center for High School students only or deals for students at local businesses, youth (166) would most prefer the local business deals (at Wal-Mart perhaps)?
A fairly close second (119) is a teen center and lagging behind (75) is a skate park.
On a typical Friday night with friends, most high schoolers (232) said they stay in New Richmond for various reasons, such as it’s easy, close, friends are here, it’s safe, there’s plenty to do, it’s fun, no drivers license, car or gas money and to attend sporting events.
Then there are the 94 kids who prefer to spend time in another community because a parent lives elsewhere, New Richmond is boring, there’s more stuff to do elsewhere, there’s nothing in New Richmond, better restaurants elsewhere, more shopping, skiing and more stuff to do in other towns.
Same town, same group of kids, totally different take on their hometown.
What to do?
Obviously for some there is just nothing here and probably never will be. Who knows what kids did before we had a box store to “hang out” in.
But for others, a teen center is appealing and creating things to do is seen as an opportunity to grow ideas and get involved.
This was the belief of the 11 representative youth at the YMCA YOUth and Families meeting Tuesday, March 25 at WITC.
These high schoolers presented data gleaned from the survey and the studies Patrick Overton has conducted during his Front Porch meetings.
The students offered suggestions to solve the “boredom” problem every town faces when viewed from adolescent eyes.
And the kids asked for help. They realize that along with their youth they have fresh, ambitious ideas to make their community a better place. But they also realize their youth presents them with certain limitations.
Limitations such as experience in accomplishing these tasks, organizing fund-raisers to finance them, knowing what the first step is to take them to the outcome of a novel idea.
The 25 youth involved in the YMCA YOUth and Families group know enough to invite community members from all walks of life to ask them for their help. The youth presenting that evening asked the guests for their expertise, time, concern and commitment to making the community the best it can be for kids growing up here.
To give of one’s time, knowledge or expertise, one only has to contact Darian Blattner of the YMCA YOUth and Families at 246- 2252.
No contract locks anyone into an iron-clad agreeement. But youth expectations are that volunteers support them in bringing forth ideas and their ideas are respected. In return the youth pledge the same respect be given to all volunteers.