“There is nothing to do in Carroll County!” This is a phrase we have heard from our teenagers for decades.
Teenage years are challenging; teens are struggling for independence and want to make their own choices, but they still need guidance and structure. This can be a difficult balance to achieve. It is important for our teens to have a safe place to go where they can assert this newfound independence in a positive way.
The Boys & Girls Club of Westminster fills this need in our community, giving our teens a safe place to hang out. Teens have their own dedicated space, with access to all the “must haves” — music, video games, sports and, of course, food! Teens develop supportive relationships with adult staff who mentor them through difficult teenage transitions. The Club has extended hours when teens need them most, staying open Tuesdays until 9 p.m. and Fridays until 10 p.m.
“We Own Fridays” is the tagline for the Friday night gatherings, where club teens can invite their friends to come check things out. Fortnight is played on several TVs and there is always serious ping pong action happening. Netflix is a favorite on Friday nights as groups of kids prepare to be scared by zombies on the Walking Dead.
“It’s so much fun and a good way to meet people that go to different schools,” says Dillon, a freshman at Westminster High. “We get to unwind and have free time. I like to draw so I take advantage of the art room. And then there is usually a fun team activity to do.”
Abdielis, a student at Winters Mill High School also looks forward to Friday nights at the Boys & Girls Club. “It’s a place where we can just be ourselves” she says. “There are always mentors or staff available to talk to you about life. It is truly like my second home.”
David, a newcomer to Westminster, says joining the Boys & Girls Club was a great choice for him. “Making new friends was difficult and I pushed most people away,” David admits, “the one place that seemed to make a difference for me was the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster. Even when I pushed them away, they kept coming back until I finally relented.” David says he is glad he finally opened up because he has made some of his best friends at the Club.
With all of the pressures affecting our teens today, it is nice to have a place like the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster that we can count on to keep our kids safe. The programs teach leadership skills and prepare teens for the future, but also ensure that kids are engaged and having fun. So the next time you hear a teenager say that there is nothing to do — send them to the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster. It will change their life for sure.
Erin Bishop is the marketing director for the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster. To learn more about the Club, visit www.bgcwestminster.org.