Recreation council seeks program ideas Volunteers also needed CARROLL COUNTY EDUCATION

February 01, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The newly consolidated Carroll County Youth Recreation Council wants to know what kinds of programs residents want for toddlers through 21-year-olds, say two representatives.

Anyone who has ideas can take them to the council's first meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow at East Middle School on Longwell Avenue in Westminster.

The council also needs volunteers so that it doesn't meet the same fate as its two predecessors.

The five-member council is the combination of the long-defunct Teen Recreation Council and the recently defunct Middle School Recreation Council, said Donald Smith, a county recreation supervisor.

Its primary focus for the next few months will be Project Graduation, a series of all-night, drug-free parties for graduating seniors from each of the county's five high schools.

The president of the new council is Angie Diehlmann of Westminster. She proposed Project Graduation at a school board meeting in August.

In 1988, she began a similar program in Charles County, where she lived before moving here, and helped get another one started in Calvert County. Her youngest son is in the Westminster High School class of 1993.

Though the school system supports the idea of Project Graduation, its liability insurance won't cover the parties because the teens will have graduated, Mrs. Diehlmann said.

After learning that last fall, she approached the county commissioners for help, and they referred her to the Department of Recreation and Parks.

The timing was fortunate for her and Mr. Smith. He was looking for volunteers to start the new council, and she needed an umbrella organization for the party. Mr. Smith said the department had experience from its quarterly "lock-in" all-night parties for high school students.

The teen council had been defunct for several years because it lacked volunteers, he said.

The middle school council had focused primarily on the after school programs at West and Northwest middle schools. When funding for those programs was temporarily stopped, the council withered also, he said.

"The councils are geared to be volunteer-driven," Mr. Smith said.

Although he can advise the members, county policy is for staff not to be responsible for the treasury and other matters, he said.

The other four members include Carol Donovan, who is a parent volunteer, even though she directs Westminster's recreation department for a living. Also on the council are Steve Strahotsky, Vickie Curtis and Pat DeBus, all of Westminster. Joanne Hayes, anti-drug coordinator for the schools, also has volunteered to attend meetings.

Mr. Smith said that programs the department has been supporting will continue, such as Fool-Proof improvisational theater, lock-in parties and school-related activities.

In addition to any ideas that might arise from tomorrow's meeting, the council plans to spend much of its energy gathering donations from service organizations and businesses for Project Graduation. The party will need food, door prizes and chaperones.

Mrs. Diehlmann said she doesn't want to compete for support from the businesses that support the lock-in parties. Four Seasons sports complex, where the lock-in parties are held, has agreed to have the graduation party as well.

Some parents have criticized the party idea, saying it would draw their children away from the graduation celebrations at home.

But Mrs. Diehlmann said this party is supposed to be in addition to family celebrations.

Although doors will open about 9 p.m., graduates may arrive -- with one guest -- as late as just after midnight. After that, graduates can leave, but they can't come back in.

Tickets will be free to all graduates.

"It's a graduation gift from Carroll County to the seniors," she said.

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