Saturday, December 27, 2008

There's Nothing To Do Here

It seems no matter where I lived as a kid, all the kids would be saying that: There's nothing to do around here. I don't know if that has anything to do with this latest committee being formed in Arcata but I've heard similar sentiments by young folk in Eureka.

Reading the Times- Standard story on it, I'm still not sure what exactly they think they'll accomplish, although if they're expecting more kids to find things to do in their free time, they might be disappointed. I agree with one of the comments left on the T-S Topix comments:

Earth to Arcata, if the kids aren't involved in one of your programs already, they probably won't start.
I'll have to say, though, I don't know that I felt all that bored when I was a kid. Seems to me there was nearly always something to do. Of course, I was a self- described nature boy back then, and enjoyed going to the beach, or exploring the hills around Irvine. I'd go out roaming around and practice shooting my slingshot or bow and arrow. I even did some bird watching back then, believe it or not.

To be sure, you couldn't do that all the time so I found other things to do. There'd always be word out about someone who had a decent supply of pot. We could always go out and try to find that guy or gal and hit them up for a joint. If that didn't pan out and we happened to have enough money, we could go hang out at the shopping center nearby and see if we could get someone to buy beer for us.

Plenty of stuff to do in Irvine and usually plenty of time to do it but I kept hearing many of my friends and acquaintances bemoaning the fact there wasn't anything to do.

Eventually, some of the movers and shakers in Irvine started believing what the kids were saying. They felt because there was nothing for kids to do that we had no alternative but to turn to drugs and alcohol. So, they made things happen.

They started a Teen Center. It had a bunch of games to play like ping- pong and such and a lot of kids showed up to use the facility. I wondered even back then if that was money well spent, though. We couldn't smoke pot or drink beer there, so what was the point? You had to do your smoking and drinking before you went to the teen center. What's with that?

Still, I think some of the guys enjoyed getting stoned and going there to play ping- pong, or whatever other games were available. I appreciate the efforts of the folks who got the center up and running but, as for me, I'd rather have smoked pot or drank beer at home or out in the hills, which is what we ended up usually doing.

I can't help but wonder if this supposed plan to network all the teen activities in Arcata will be a similar wasted but well intended effort, but, I suppose it's Arcata's effort to waste.


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Jack Durham said...

If the kids have fishing poles and bicycles, they should be able to entertain themselves in all but the worst weather.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Randy Weaver said...

You know, I was never bored as a kid, even though I grew up on a very rural area. There were always lots of things to do. One of the bad effects of all the digital avalanche has been that kids expect external structured entertainment 24 hours a day. What happened to DIY fun?

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eureka's "teen center" in the old Carson Memorial Building is closing. The city sold the whole block to the Boys and Girls Club for a buck. Maintenance has been non-existent, the place is falling apart and now "kaput". The neighbors were right, but for the wrong reasons. They should have been less concerned about the teens and more concerned about the adults.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Ernie Branscomb said...

When I was a young adult, in the Garberville area, a club that I belonged to at the time built the teens a tennis court because they claimed that was what they needed to be happy. Later the kids claimed that tennis courts were stupid, anybody knows that kids liked to play basketball. So, we converted the tennis courts to be either, basketball or tennis. We built a softball field. Which seemed to be the most popular with the young adult set, but the teens were still unhappy. It seemed that what they really wanted was a teen center. By then I was no longer involved with “Making the Kids Happy”. But a teen center was built by a private family. It was real popular for about ten or twenty days then the kids discovered that they didn’t like the kids that came there, and it went by the wayside. Now it seems that they could be truly happy if they just had a skateboard park. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that makes a teen happy is adults agonizing over what might make them happy. So now when a kid tells me he wants something, I tell them how to build it, and offer them a hammer.

When I was a teen I got bored a lot, but I tried not to mention it, because the garden always needed to be weeded. Parents must have been a lot smarter back then. Well… maybe they only had to be smarter than a kid.

Somebody told me once that you don’t give a kid what they want, but what they need.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger MikeMorgan, FormerCouncilmember said...

I was young in polar opposite environments - suburban Bay Area and rural Asheville, NC. Even in the Bay Area, I always enjoyed camping, nature, and Outdoor Ed trips most. I liked visiting tide-pools, the Redwoods and riding the skunk train more than being in a "gang" and getting into trouble - this was in the 70's btw, and I was 8 - hardly a G lol.

I think up here its hard for some kids if they focus on cool media shows and movies, and want what they don't have here, like a big city to go out in. Some overnight trips to SF and other cities may help balance their views, and show the good and the not-so-good of what they see on TV and at the movies.

The happiest kids I meet, take advantage of the amazing attractions we have here, the saddest, most frustrated don't.


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