PUBLISHED: 13:52 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:41 24 May 2010
I am not a bored teenager (just a recycled one aged 60) but I was a teenager in the late 1950s and early 60s and we were never bored because we were catered for. First of all we had a youth club - a large, old rambling building with lots of rooms, not man
I am not a bored teenager (just a recycled one aged 60) but I was a teenager in the late 1950s and early 60s and we were never bored because we were catered for.First of all we had a youth club - a large, old rambling building with lots of rooms, not many doors and staffed by volunteers - where we could hang out with our mates, talk and listen to music in a safe environment.A couple of nights a week we danced to either a local group or jukebox and other nights we had cookery or needlework classes.There was also a pool table and I remember the boys had help in bicycle maintenance/repairs, how to change a plug, mend a fuse, etc.It was only two hours a night, an extra half an hour if a band was playing and sometimes it was open Saturday and Sunday afternoons.No one walked home alone and those lucky enough to have parents with cars (it was 45 to 50 years ago) were collected.Secondly we had coffee bars. They were ran as a normal cafe during the day but evenings were for youngsters (13-19 years old). We drank coffee or cola, listened to the jukebox and chatted. There was a mezzanine floor with the tables and chairs pushed to the sides so that you could dance to the jukebox and occasionally a local band played. The Del Vincent and the Delman and The Barron Knights were two I remember well as being very good.If you really listen to today's youngsters all they are asking for is the same as we had all those years ago.What's more, if they have a hand in the design or decoration of the building and its grounds (apart from learning, decorating and gardening skills, along with colour and design) you will be less likely to get any vandalism.They could also do car washing or other such activities to raise funds for equipment.Buddy up with special needs schools and get to know less advantaged kids their own age and lots more besides.Not every teen will want to be involved with everything, but a good team of youth workers should be able to bring out the best in everyone.Let's face it, a graffiti artist if channelled correctly could produce some really good original artwork that will actually sell.A car thief or joy rider would be in his element if he had access to an old car and was taught car maintenance and restored the car to its former glory and if the local police gave their time with driving lessons and the odd spin on the skid pad, even the most delinquent of kids may well surprise you. Sheila Noll - Hurn Road, Clevedon
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