East Grand 8th-graders propose teen club in Granby
Grand County, CO Colorado
Devoid of a shopping mall or a movie theater, students say Granby is challenged when it comes to teen hangout places.
For young teens, spending time at the local Laundromat has become an option, where putting oneself in a drier is sometimes an amusing pastime.
Or, there’s the train station, according to a group of 8th graders surveyed in their classroom at the East Grand Middle School.
Teens also gather at the 7-Eleven convenience store, or the library, they said.
And on the weekends: “I just live at my friends’ houses, going from house-to-house,” said eighth-grader Lauren Parri.
“I think Grand County is the worst place to grow up with all the drinking and doing bad stuff,” she added.
Due to the lack of suitable gathering places for teens, eighth-graders are honing in on the idea of a new “Teen Center” in downtown Granby.
The center would serve as a teen nightclub on weekend nights and a community building the rest of the time, according to a preliminary outline of this year’s Eighth Grade Service project led by East Grand Middle School teacher Abby Loberg.
The project involves possibly buying a downtown building, specifically the Longbranch Restaurant, renovating it and offering it as a youth night club to 7th- through 12th-graders Thursday through Saturday, then as a meeting and other activities facility to the community the remainder of the week. It could even be considered a reception hall for weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties and other functions, according to students. The building’s kitchen could be of service to seniors, they said.
Eighth Grade Service Project
“This is probably the most challenging project we have taken on,” Loberg said.
Loberg’s social studies Eighth Grade Service Project is an annual year-long project that engages eighth graders in community problem-solving.
The Teen Center has been an idea that has sprung up every year as a potential subject for an Eighth Grade Project, Loberg said, and this year beat out ideas such as a senior program involving the Grand County Animal Shelter and a Fraser River Days festival.
Some prior years’ projects concerned a county-wide transportation proposal, a mentoring program – which has since come into fruition – and a pine beetle festival and tree-replanting project eighth-grade students achieved last year.
This year’s eighth-grade idea “is to help teens say no to the things that could mess up the rest of their lives,” states a PowerPoint presentation about the Teen Center service project, created by the eighth-grade class.
Brainstormed to be called “15 Below,” the center would be tobacco-free, alcohol-free and drug-free, and would not be tolerant of bad behavior. Eighth-grade students are proposing a breathalyzer test be administered to students upon entry, just like at high school dances. And paid “trusted” chaperones would supervise the club’s activities.
Music, dress code or the types of dancing would be unrestricted, according to students.
To buy the Longbranch Restaurant presently on the market, students plan to seek grant funds in the amount of an estimated $500,000 to buy and renovate the building both inside and outside. When completed, the center would comprise of a dance room, arcade room, lounge and downstairs conference room. And if the student proposal comes to fruition, the center would become the property of the Town of Granby through its recreation department, which might insure the building.
Students reason cover charges on teen nights would help to pay for operating costs of the building.
The teen service project may qualify for community development grants, such as those offered by the Sprout Foundation, the Adolph Coors Foundation, the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and other Colorado funding sources, according to students.
And in order to transport teens to and from the center on weekend nights, students plan to seek assistance from the Granby Recreation department for use of transport vehicles.
All of these details, of course, would need vetting by the Town of Granby.
Eighth-grade students plan to present the Project to trustees at the Jan. 11 Granby town board meeting.
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