Of course, the days of hunting for treasure at the trash dump are long gone (one of my fondest memories and the cause of several illnesses), but I have a hard time when I hear kids—and grown ups!—whining that there’s nothing for kids to do in this area. I have an even harder time when I hear graffiti and vandalism are perpetrated by otherwise wonderful children who can’t help it because they’re (sigh), bored.
We have, to the best of my knowledge, no less than three theater groups for those creative types yearning to express themselves and be heard. When my son signed up for football this fall, he had four choices (three tackle, one flag). Between the community center, schools and clubs, you can play soccer from the time you’re out of diapers until the time you’re back in them. And, I’m just getting started.
I guess most of the nothing-to-do bellyaching is associated with the 12- to 16-year-old crowd. This confounds me, as my own teenager never seems to have time to clean her room, do her chores or finish her homework. She learned years ago that whining about boredom will result in parental redirection to one of those delinquent duties. She’s rarely bored. Maybe she’s discovered one of the many book, anime/manga or Pokemon clubs. Or she’s gotten involved with teen scrapbooking, duct tape art, or the teen planning committee at the library.
There are countless school sports, clubs, and other activities to keep them occupied… they just need to sign up. Almost all the churches have youth groups that meet a couple times a week. They’re supervised, so there’s less chance of hanky and/or panky. There is a book load of classes and activities at the community center. Beyond that, we’ve got a 63-acre park and awesome hiking and biking trails right out the back door.
How much extra time do they have, anyway? Kids—especially teens—need safe opportunities to socialize, test boundaries and discover who they really are in this big world. As adults-in-training, they need parents to help them choose the right Petri dish.