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xtra xtra!
Posted September 8, 2005
Teaming Up With Teens
By Kevin Devlin

First year Summer Teen Activities Program at the James Michael Curley Recreation Center a big hit for teens, parents, the community, and Mayor Thomas Menino

     On September 1, the Summer Teen Activities Program held at the L Street Bath House had a pizza party to celebrate the successful conclusion of its first year in existence. The program was established to keep teenagers, 13 to 16, off the streets, preoccupied, and out of trouble. And, it was a success.

     Eight weeks ago, Chris Wilson and Joyce Higgins approached L Street Bath House Director Freddie Ahearn and Billy Linehan. Chris and Billy Wilson, Joyce and Jimmy Higgins, and Donna Connolly, then met with Mayor Thomas Menino and the L Street Board. The board comprises of members Susan Woods, Kenny Ryan, George O'Toole, Eileen Fenton, Linehan, and Ahearn. The proposal was presented and readily accepted.

      The program which began July 26 and ended on September 1 was every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. About forty-five teens signed up; attendance was solid during the six-week period. A zero tolerance policy regarding behavior was put into effect and was never an issue, as the teens acted appropriately at all times. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

      The teens played beach volleyball, sand soccer, wiffle ball, racquetball, handball, beach football, and ping pong. The teens were exposed to body conditioning challenges, music performances, movies, and trivia contests. The teens could also take a dip in the refreshing ocean waters, listen to music, and just hang out.

      The Mayor wanted parental involvement and parental assistance he got. Every night of the program a parent volunteered to man the front desk at the M Street entrance. The volunteers signed in the teens participating in the program every night. Three supervisors, Sean Regan, Ryan Shaughneesy, and Krissy Roche, were also brought in to oversee the teens, and their salary was paid for by the city. Of course, Joyce Higgins and Chris Wilson keep a watchful eye on everything that was going on.

     As far as Higgins and Wilson were concerned, everyone pulling together with the same aims and responding swiftly made this a success story, made this program a reality.

     "Mayor Menino, the board, the kids and parents, and the supervisors, were incredible, so tremendous" said Joyce Higgins. "We didn't have one single problem. We wanted to keep the kids busy and out of trouble. They were being kicked off the beach and the corners by the police. We wanted to get something going to give them a place to go to enjoy the outdoors and the summer. The whole thing worked out perfectly. What better place than the L Street Bath House and the ocean for a backdrop"

     "It was a positive and productive experience for all of the teens," said Chris Wilson. "It was a safe, secure, and supervised program for them and the teens weren't bothering anyone. The kids weren't allowed to leave the program areas once they entered for the night. And at the end of the night when they did leave, they left as a group, and they all safely crossed the street together at the intersection. They just had a good time. It was great, and we hope this can happen again next summer."

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These teens kept busy participating in the Curley Rec. Center's Summer Teen's Activity program.

Teen supervisors Ryan Shaughnessy and Krissy Roche (missing Sean Ryan)

Program organizers Chris Wilson and Joyce Higgins.