North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington celebrates new Teen Center at Boys & Girls Club


Christopher Andersson

Layton Martin, left, and Peach Hunter play pingpong during the Arlington Boys & Girls Club's Teen Center grand opening on May 19.

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club opened its new Teen Center with a grand opening party on May 19.

The new center provides a place for teens at the club to hang out that offers video games, computers, animation and programming software, a DJ station, a pool table, a pingpong table and other amenities.

As the city of Arlington has grown and more kids came to the local Boys & Girls Club, the younger kids have taken over a lot of the spaces, leaving little room for teenagers, said Bill Kinney, unit director of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club.

"We didn't have any space for teens and a lot of teens need someplace to go," he said. "So a teen center was an ideal fit and a no-brainer."

The club has been raising money and planning for about five years for their new center, said Kinney.

The Teen Center may also be used as the model for other teen centers in the area, he said.

"I've had other directors coming in to check it out," he said.

The Arlington Youth Council helped with some of the late-stage planning for the center.

"The Youth Council wanted to be more involved in the community and since this building was opening this year, it seemed like a perfect opportunity," said Morgan Bryson, a member of the Arlington Youth Council.

They also helped advertise the opening at their schools and communities. Bryson said that there was a "much bigger turnout than I was expecting."

She added that she though the center "turned out really good," and that she hopes "it is super successful in the future."

Local parent Krissa Kramer said her kids were excited about the upcoming center and the activities available there.

"I love it. I think that the kids will have a great time all year and they're very excited about it," she said.

The club also hired a teen director to help lead those activities.

"I hope that it can be a place that teens can come and bring their ideas and passions and have a place to cultivate those things," said Kristina Helland, the teen director.

The center could host a number of activities in the future, she said, including the likes of art nights, slam poetry nights, open mic nights, 3D-printing equipment or programming activities.

Helland hopes that teens will lead the discussion of what the center will be though.

"I want them to be able to decide what kind of activities we have here and what kind of programs we offer," she said.

"I want to have a counsel of kids that can help to make the decisions and be liaisons," she said.

The exact schedule and activities for the center is still in the planning stage, said Kinney, but he hopes that it can be open late on Friday nights and every day after school.


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