1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:14 AM

We need a teen center and we need one ASAP within Park Ridge. I've been wavering about posting this but after this weekend it needs to be addressed. We need a teen center. The 6th grade to 10th grade kids need somewhere to go in this town that is just theirs rather than all this unsupervised free-time taking over the parks and uptown with this despicable behavior they have been sporting. From what I understand there used to be 3 teen clubs in Park Ridge. The Methodist church teen center was the last of them. It closed about 3-4 years ago due to the loss of funding. Apparently they were either getting money from the city or the township to help fund the teen center and organize activities for the kids. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong about the source of funding. South Park Church was another activity location. Now, I know not every kid will use the teen centers. There will always be the "cool kids" who won't go but there are good kids who have nowhere to go and they are around the influence of some of these faster kids. The centers need to be free or nearly free to encourage the kids to drop in. If you want to provide expensive snacks to off-set the costs then great. Do it. Do whatever we need to do to keep these kids safe! This past weekend we took the kids to Rotary Park where there was a group of 20 kids who appeared to be in 6th to 8th grade. They were smoking and swearing and not leaving any room for the younger kids to use the playground equipment. Monopolizing the playground didn't bother me as much as the aggression they exhibited towards each other and anyone else who entered the park. We moved to Uptown were kids were all over the place, knocking each other over and screaming swear words at anyone who passed them. Fine, they are allowed to be in Uptown and enjoying a lovely Spring day. I've been known to toss a few swear words but these kids were bored and we all know idle hands are the Devils work. Then we biked over to Centennial where we encountered ANOTHER group of unruly 12 to 15 year olds. Yes. there are 12 to 15 year olds who still use the playgrounds and they play a little faster and a little rougher but they were not there to play. They were bored. They became destructive. These kids need somewhere to go. They need somewhere to go that is just theirs. They need to have access to pool tables and dart boards and music and tables to congregate at in a semi-controlled environment. They need adults who hang out in the background and don't hassle them until they step out of line. These kids need the village. We are the village! These kids need us to step up and allow them the freedom but to remember that there are kids and still need to be guided. This is important to keep the good kids away from negative influences and prevent them from experimenting too early with drugs and alcohol.


1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:18 AM

Whatever happened to the rec center they had at West Park in the front of the building. It was a great place to hang out - it had ping pong, music, a few pinball machines.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:20 AM

I said that a long time ago when I found out that they sold the old Embers school property to a real estate developer. It's a shame.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:21 AM

We've encountered groups hanging out on the Carpenter playground as well, swearing, pushing, insulting adults who are there with their elementary-age kids. Some have been EXTREMELY hostile.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:23 AM

Friday Night Live is a great program for 4th and 5th graders but it doesn't need to be a party every Friday night for the older kids and at $5 a pop it might prohibit some kids from wanting to pay the entry fee. We need a designated teen spot.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:27 AM

It would be great if there were some sort of cafe with a game room, boards games, hang out spaces, etc. sell small meals/snacks/drinks, free wi-fi, maybe even a small performance space.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:28 AM

Whose to say that if they're already swearing, pushing, insulting adults that a rec center wouldn't become vandalized? It would have to be manned.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:45 AM

There was a teen center while my kids were growing up. It was not widely used. Kids still went uptown and to the parks but there was rarely a report of them causing serious trouble like there is today.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:47 AM

Kate Kerin any comments?

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:51 AM

I think an actual business would be more successful than a teen center. kids that age want to start testing the waters in the real world. they spend their pre-teen lives in regimented activities like park district programs and sports programs. they want the independence of living in the real world a bit. When I was kid, it was the bowling alley. You could bowl, hang out in the game room, eat some crappy food, just hang out.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:52 AM

The kids won't go to a rec center. It's a sad truth. If parents in the community witness this behavior. maybe we can become more vocal and call them out on it. Right there. on the spot. The more this happens. the more they may start thinking about their actions. Eye rolling and bad looks won't affect these kids at all.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 8:55 AM

Niles has a very active and successful teen center.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:03 AM

Some kids, especially 5th graders might use a center but the ones that really need it will not. If they are unruly in uptown, they will be unruly in a teen center. Parents need to demand better behavior from their children. Know who your kids are hanging with and know their parents as well.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:04 AM

How can we make this happen! l? I am all about it! I remember being a teenager and having no place to go! Never destructive but, would have been nice to hang out somewhere!

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:09 AM

Think about it this way: Where do you go as an adult to be with your friends? You get a babysitter and leave the house and go where? Do you wander aimlessly or hang out in parks? No. We go to bars and restaurants where there are adult activities like dart boards and pool tables and stupid stuff like Golden Tee and televisions with sports on them. Why don't we do something like that for our kids? Even better would be if there was a social worker on staff who knows how to walk that delicate line with kids

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:10 AM

This is exactly what you are talking about - need to find funding http://www.winnetkayo.org/

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:28 AM

Kathy Meade- I think it's a great idea. If other great communities have this, why not here. People are so quick to say no to things! How about a business AND this? Why does it have to be one or the other? You can't make people open a business here, but you can offer a community option. Some will use it, some won't, but at least teens can have the option to use it. If it doesn't exist, they have no options but to loiter.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:34 AM

This is part of the reason I wouldn't let my 5th grader ride to the park on Saturday afternoon.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:39 AM

Hubby & I have talked about this for a long time -- esp with the growing # of kids in PR. But it comes down to funding since property/rental space is so expensive for this to be a for-profit business. I'm in tech & ideally we'd want to recreate an "incubator" for our kids that promote creativity & foster their thirst for knowledge. Doesn't have to be geeky. couple it with the functionality of the above "the Yo" and you're on to something. It would be ideal for the kids to come up with their own rules & have the adults present to reinforce, wouldn't hurt to have PRPD or PRFD stop by a few time a day as well.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 9:49 AM

It would be great to hear our park district board on this. Perhaps they can take a field trip to the center in Winnetka and come back with ideas as to how to replicate something similar.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 10:01 AM

I think this is a great idea. Btw, teenagers have always challenged authority, not just this generation. :)

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 10:02 AM

Are there any businesses it would make sense to engage with. I'll use Brickton Art Center as an example, could we engage with them and say that we see an opportunity—there are lots of tweens and teens around town with nothing to do. Would they be interested in putting on a "teen version" of a Bottle and Bottega? I'm not sure how to monetize it for them. I'm not sure if there's a program the city council can develop to help subsidize. But, the point is to see if there are enough area businesses that could make enough money to keep something viable while keeping the cost low enough to make it accessible for the kids.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 10:05 AM

I think this is a great idea. I just wonder if it would be successful. I was definitely not a cool kid. Had the option of going to a teen center or to my church youth group - but, instead we hung out at the mall, Taco Bell, bowling alleys with arcades, and each other's homes. I don't think there is going to be a hard solution for this. Kids/teens are so different these days. I don't think it's entirely the parents' fault either (but, yes, they do need to hear what their kids are doing and apply consequences). Social media, is a huge factor - along with all media outlets. So much violence, swearing sex. wait - when did I become my mother? Would definitely love to hear feedback from the programs that used to host teen centers before funding stopped.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 11:22 AM

Park Ridge Activity Center- seniors by day, teens by night. Nominal fee charged to cover expenses. Worth getting input from the Youth Commission as well.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 11:25 AM

These teens, IMO, wouldn't go to a teen center. Why? Because their whole point is to be rebellious and unsupervised. I grew up in Park Ridge and it was well known that teens would go uptown and in the alleys and do bad things. I believe our foot has to be put down and not allow the teens uptown, period. It is where they engage in bad activities. I was a teen 4 years ago. I was "that nerd" that played board games with my friends over the weekends and youth group at a Bible church rather than engage in uptown "bad" activities. I was mercilessly bullied by these Maine South kids for "not being cool" by making safe choices. I didn't fear man--- I knew I was making the right choice by serving the Lord.

1 year ago on 04/10/2017 at 11:39 AM

The last time my wife asked a bunch of 13 years olds to stop harassing little kids, they called their mother, and their mother threatened to beat my wife up.