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Paynesville Press - Sept. 18, 2002

Paynesville Area Center to open for teens on Fridays

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Area teens may find themselves with more options when they plan their Friday evenings. Soon, they could be able to spend Friday nights at the Paynesville Area Center.

If there is enough interest in her idea, director Inez Jones will open the building on Friday nights for planned activities for teens.

Jones has several activity ideas. Among them are holding coffeehouse nights, movie nights, video game competitions, and perhaps having young musicians perform. In fact, she would like to kick off the Friday night events with a party for homecoming.

Some events will be open for all area teens, and some will be held for smaller groups like sports teams, who could use the center as a comfortable place to watch game videos while they relax with a pop and snacks, said Jones.

She doesn't want the center to compete with school and church events, so hours and activities will be planned around what's going on in the community.

The center will donate the space for the activities, but will not be sponsoring the events. Therefore, Jones has made a list of things that will be needed to make the evenings successful.

The most important thing on her list is adult chaperones and activity ideas. While everyone she has told of her plan thinks it's a good idea, most aren't willing to volunteer to help out, she said. Without adult involvement, none of the events can take place.

Other items needed to make the evenings successful are a DVD player, foosball tables, video games, and pop and snacks.

After she first got the idea to use the center as a safe place for teens, she asked her 18-year-old son what he thought. His positive response encouraged her to move forward with her plan.

She then presented her plan to the Paynesville Area Center's Board of Directors, who also thought she had a good idea.

Jones would like the center to be used by teens from the middle school and the high school. Weekends will probably alternate between middle school activities and high school activities.

While Jones hasn't finalized all of the logistics, she thinks that the teens should have to stay inside the center until the event is over to keep trouble in the parking lot to a minimum.

Anyone who would like to make a donation or who would like to volunteer their time or offer ideas for events, can call Jones at the Paynesville Area Center at 320-243-4799.

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