Bainbridge teens rejoice, the Teen Center will be reopening on Friday, June 23.
In early 2017, the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park & Recreation District, which runs the after-school teen program, was notified by the Bainbridge Island School District that they would need to move the Teen Center in order to make room for construction on the new 100 Building at Bainbridge High.
In order to continue providing Bainbridge teens with a safe meeting place to hang out, the center has relocated to the Bainbridge Aquatic Center, in the former Boys & Girls Club space.
The new location is a wide-open venue with plenty of room for tables and seating that will make up the gathering area for teens after school and during the dog days of summer. A gaming room has been set up, complete with couches and a video gaming system along with computers for students who need to tackle some homework as well. The beloved pool table from the old Teen Center has been re-felted and moved to the new location, along with the foosball table.
Ragna Blanco is an alumni of the Teen Center and said that in her experience, getting kids invested in their communities is a mutually beneficial arrangement.
“We would do outreach, clean-up on roads or went to parks and did weeding, getting the kids attached to their community,” Blanco said.
“If you make them feel like they can bring worth to the community, that the community respects them and that they can find a way to respect the community. It helps them not want to cause damage or feel like they aren’t part of the community,” she added.
Starting June 27, the teen program will be offering day trips for the first time ever. Every Tuesday, teens can take a different trip; locations include Point No Point (for a low tide beach day), the Seattle waterfront, Fort Worden, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle’s International District, Wild Waves and the Kitsap County Fair. Trip costs range from $39 to $99 and participants must register five days prior to the trip.
Beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, June 23, visitors are encouraged to stop by the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center for the teen program’s grand opening festivities.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. complete with cake, games, music and barbecue.
For more information on the grand opening, or to register for summer programs, visit biparks.org/youth-teen/.