Teens Try To Stop Boredom By Starting Activity Center

November 07, 1990|By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. | Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer

MOUNT AIRY - The going has been tough for a group of area teens who want to start a community activity center.

Raising money has proved a formidable challenge, as has the search for a location.

But the teens and their adult advisers remain determined to see their idea become reality.

"We're moving slowly, but we're getting there," said Gail Posner, an accountant and consultant who's helping the teens who came up with the idea last summer.

The project sprang from the minds of area teens who were fed up with the summertime blues in a town that, they say, offers little for them to do.

"We were bored one day, and there was nothing to do around here, and we said we're going to do something about it," said 18-year-old Edwin Gaskin, a town resident and 1989 graduate of Glenelg High in Howard County.

"There's a lot of youth potential going to waste that could be directed in a more constructive manner."

With direction from Posner and other adults, a core group of about 10 teens began raising money to get their project off the ground.

The project has been referred to as a teen center, but that's a misnomer, said Posner. The group envisions a place where activities would be offered for people of all ages, from stage productions performed by children and teens, to exercise classes for adults, to dances for senior citizens.

Also, the center could serve as a headquarters for youth groups, like drama and computer clubs.

"We're trying to stress that this is really for everybody, all ages," Posner said.

Yet the objective is to have the center managed and operated largely by local youth, with supervision and guidance from adults.

The idea for the center was unveiled to much fanfare during the summer.

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing. Organizers had high hopes for a late-summer "Battle of the Bands fund-raiser," sponsored by the Mount Airy Jaycees.

But after expenses, the event netted almost nothing.

"It was in August, when everyone's going away (on vacation)," Gaskin said. "And there wasn't enough publicity."

The group is planning another large fund-raiser for this spring, perhaps another Battle of the Bands event, again with the help of the Jaycees.

"Like anything else, everybody's gung-ho at first," said Posner. "But you kind of have to keep letting them know it's here or they'll forget about it."

In the meantime, the teens have been busy selling candy bars, stationery and Christmas cards, and have conducted a yard sale, to raise seed money.

Eventually the organizers would like to have a permanent home for the center. But now they are searching for a location where they can rent space.

"We're looking for any kind of building," Posner said. "It could be office space, retail space or manufacturing space, as long as it passes all the building codes."

And despite the obstacles, many area teens believe the need for the center is there, said 14-year-old Christine Beck, a South Carroll High freshman who's been involved in the project.

"Everybody I've talked to wants this to happen because it will give us something to do that's cheap and fun," she said.

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