Should the city of Galesburg IL get involved in providing a youth center?
To what extent should the city be involved in providing activities and/or a center for adolescents?
A gaming hub would bring people together
I think the city should do more to give teenagers places they can go without spending money. I found out that my friends and I find it hard to do anything because there is nowhere to go. A good investment for the city, in my opinion, would be a skate park. Skating is a popular activity that would benefit not only teenagers, but also children and adults. Skateparks give teenagers a place to go with things to do.
As for a teen center, I think a video game hub in the center would attract a lot of positive attention. I’ve heard of places in cities where people can sit and play video games with each other. In a world where technology divides people, we can use technology to bring people together. Giving teenagers something to do in addition to sitting at home will be beneficial in shaping and supporting generations to come. —Lizzie Wicks
Teen centers only last a few months
Listen ! “It’s spring and the calls for a teen center can be heard across the country.” I’ve only lived in Knox County since the 1940s, so I’m not sure when people started saying “We need a teen center so the kids have something to do.” My mom was a member of the GHS Class of 1942 and they ran a teen center in the old post office building. Like all teen centers since, it lasted a few months and then closed.
They added a new YMCA entry for the teen center when I was in high school. You see, I was coming from Abingdon and there was nothing to do there, so we came to Galesburg. Oh wait. Isn’t that what the kids of Galesburg complain about?
Of course, let’s open a new teen center for a few months. The cycle can then begin again. —Harry Bulkley
Invest in children; they will return as adults
How many children do you want to “fall through the cracks?” If we have nothing to do, we will definitely find something, but if it ends up leading us down the wrong path, who’s to say we’re coming back? I’m a teenager, and it really feels like there’s nothing to do here. You can only go to the same restaurants and stores, or drive on Henderson, so many times. This is a missed opportunity for local businesses not to take advantage of this demographic; we drive to other cities just to shop.
How involved should the city be in giving to teens? I would say; quite involved. To quote my article on youth “Youth are the fuel of the future”, so I say to the city — invest in them. Give them things to do, even if they feel like it’s their parents’ job to do it. Give them a place to go and ask them what they would like to find there. They will give back when they take over as the next generation living in the city. —Sarah Brown
Offering activities popular with teens is expensive
First, many don’t understand the cost of running a business/facility like the bowling alley, ice rink, or even something like the TBK Entertainment Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. I might add that the TBK center would be the definition of joyous happiness for a teenager with its arcade, bowling, laser tag, etc. It will not, however, fly to Galesburg. At TBK for a game of Laser tag and 30 minutes of arcade fun: $20. A soft pretzel is $12. I think you understand my drift.
Then there’s the “City Activity Center” crowd. Churchill is elevated to Mecca to save our youth from boredom at the cost of $5-10 million. Thinking residents here should realize that what you offer should match the socio-economic conditions of the area. So, in fact, a lot of it should be “free” for kids/teens. There is, however, an expense in the form of used tax money, grants, voluntary work, electricity, salaries, minimum user fees for citizens and specific PROGRAMS that will keep young people interested. Why isn’t the city partnering with the Carver Center to shake things up instead of the overpriced and possibly greedy Churchill Project? —Stephen Podwojski
City capable of transforming Churchill into a dynamic center
Part of the teenage experience is spending time with friends and classmates in places that aren’t always under the watchful eyes of parents or older siblings charged with child care. children. Allowing this kind of independence is part of the development process. It’s no exaggeration for the young people of Galesburg to say that there aren’t enough activities for them. The city could make a significant investment in its youth by partnering with them and providing a place that teenagers would want to hang out.
Renovating the Churchill Junior High building into a vibrant community center is something the city is capable of. Securing a building is only part of what needs to happen. Creating activities that teens want to participate in will determine the success of this initiative. Programs involving music, artistic expression or technology are all possibilities to explore. It is not the city’s responsibility to provide entertainment, but it can step in and help fill a void that exists. Whatever programs are created, they should be inclusive for everyone. —John Hunigan
Teens will get bored with teen center
Two things immediately came to mind when I read the article and the interviews with the teenagers. The first is the startling lack of imagination and initiative exhibited by these respondents. Their complaints are not new; they have lasted for millennia at least. They usually come from the least imaginative of the group.
Second, city officials need to be very careful about what they do and spend. I can design a multi-million dollar facility with a huge amount of “stuff” and vast programs/activities that will be very successful and well used – until the teenagers get tired of it – and they will . After all, boredom exists in the viewer’s mind, not in gimmicks or programs. —Charlie Gruner
Focus on the programming, not the building
In its best years, Sandburg Mall provided space to walk around, see and be seen, shop, and occasionally grab a snack, so it was a magnet for kids looking for a place to go. But the Carver Center, Skate Palace, Northgate Lanes and Lakeside Waterpark were places where they could engage in activities that required focus and skill and were both challenging and fun. They were places where young people could “engage with others in a place where they (felt) safe, welcome and respected”.
Galesburg should be able to provide similar gathering and activity opportunities that will appeal to a wide range of children. I hope the planning and budget allocation to support such opportunities, and paying for the people to run the venues, activities and programming involved, will precede any decision on a $5 million spending plan to renovate. a building. Joey Range is right, it will be the programming that will attract the children. —Laurie Muelder
Young people love action, challenges
Every story of this nature suggests that the only answer is another government program. Our current system seems to guarantee that young people will be bored and cynical.
Young people love action, challenges and a hint of danger. William James expressed this forcefully in his essay on alternatives to war. So what do we offer? Sports, yes, but with the consolidation of schools, there are fewer and fewer teams; average students (especially latecomers) are neglected.
When I was assistant scout leader, we occupied our charges! Camping, hiking, searching for snakes (they loved it!) and canoeing. We brought them home tired and a little better prepared to become adults.
The jobs I had as a teenager are no longer available, thanks to well-meaning legislators. I earned little, but I learned to value it. Each kept me busy and taught me what I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life. —William Urban
The Community Roundtable takes place every Sunday and is made up of local writers. Community writers answer one question each week in 150 words or less.