12/12/07 — Commission eyes projects for teens

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Commission eyes projects for teens

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 12, 2007 2:01 PM

There is nothing to do in Goldsboro if you are a teen.

That's what commission member and Eastern Wayne High School junior Ebony Hagans said again at Tuesday night's Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission meeting.

It seems to be a common complaint of those her age -- nothing to do and nowhere to go but to school, home and the movies.

"I was walking down the hall (at Herman Park Center), and I saw activities for children ages 3-12 and then for people 18 years and above," she said. "What happened to the 13-to 17-year-olds? Where are they?"

But when Parks and Recreation Director Sonya Shaw showed renderings of the new recreation center to be built on South Center Street, Ms. Hagans' eyes lit up.

That would be a great place for teens, she said.

And the questions poured out. When was it supposed to be built? Where was it going to be built?

And even though the new community center isn't too many years away, Ms. Hagans wants a place, any place really, for teens to go now.

All they need is a site where they can go and socialize with activities associated with teens, she said.

It doesn't have to be anything special. They would just like to be given some attention.

"Teens are forgotten about," she said.

Commission member Mary McEachern said there should be something done for teens in the area.

"If we do more for teens, the more structure they have, the less they'll look for things to do," she said. "There is a person of every age group on this commission. We service all of them. We service the seniors, we service the special needs, so we should service teens, too."

She and other commission members agreed that teens need a safe place to go.

A few of them remembered when the teens in Goldsboro would all go to a social Tuesday nights at W.A. Foster Recreation Center, and they said, every parent knew exactly where their child was that night.

Ms. McEachern said they used to have a Teen Council that would schedule the socials, and they would have a ball at the end of the year where anyone could attend if they paid the fee.

"We had great participation at every social," she said.

She said she thinks something like that could return to Goldsboro for the youths.

Ms. Hagans thought it was a great idea, and said that the Youth Council, which is normally a volunteer-based organization, could work on organizing the same sort of activity with the commission backing them and sponsoring a place for them to go.

"I think it would be a good project for us because we always do things for everybody else, and nothing for ourselves," she said.

What would it take for teens to come out? members asked.

"It wouldn't take anything but a flyer and word of mouth," Ms. Hagans said. "We talk a lot."

She also noticed that the recreation department was sponsoring trips for seniors, and she said that would be a great addition to teen activities.

"We'd like to go on trips, too," she said.

But, she wants to keep it as educational as possible.

"We could have trips to different colleges," she said. "Like people who want to go to UNC (University of North Carolina), we could take a trip to Chapel Hill."

Ms. McEachern said when she was a teen, they did that, too.

Goldsboro just needs to bring back activities that teens used to have years ago, that way, she said, the teens will have things to occupy their time instead of looking for trouble.