12/12/07 — A place to go: Increasing crime suggests teen spot might help

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A place to go: Increasing crime suggests teen spot might help

Anyone who claims he or she knows the answer to keeping teens out of trouble should start writing his or her $150-a-copy book right now.

It will be a bestseller.

Pretending that creating a new community center or teen hangout will immediately turn all of Wayne County’s troubled teens into model citizens or keep all future teens from heading down a less than desirable path is ludicrous. There are too many other factors involved.

But there was an interesting bit of discussion in the city’s parks and recreation commission meeting Tuesday that might suggest a new view of what has become a multi-generational problem.

Older residents remembered the days when teen socials used to be held in the city — with a large dance planned at the end of the year. The idea? To give children something to do to keep them out of trouble. Funny how that concern seems to have continued to top the list across many, many decades.

Who knows if a series of dances would work today. It is not a given that the teenagers you were trying to keep out of trouble would be the ones in attendance.

But the idea that what used to attract teens to an event has indeed changed — and what would work maybe 20 years ago will not even spark a slight interest today — is something to consider as we move forward.

As this community continues to think about the best way to meet the needs of local teens, perhaps it would be a good idea to really think about some new approaches. A dance might not work — but a skate park might.

By being a little more creative — and maintaining some of the ideas that have already been proposed for the new community center — we just might be able to find the magic bullet that will be a hit with this generation. Then, we can write a book of our own.

Published in Editorials on December 12, 2007 10:54 AM