During the group’s recent year-in-review presentation to the City Council, the commission announced that half the survey’s respondents said that there aren’t adequate activities in Brentwood for the 11 to 18 age group.
Youth Commissioner Elysia Cook said she wasn’t taken aback by the results: “I wasn’t surprised that the majority of kids in Brentwood don’t think there’s a lot to do, because besides CornFest, there are not a lot of community-wide events for teens. After awhile, going to the movies or out to eat get old and cost a lot, and other fun activities are outside of Brentwood.”
Of the 566 middle and high school students who took the survey in February, 55 percent said they’d like to see paintball in Brentwood. Other activities teens would like to see are movie nights, concerts, day trips and even more practical activities such as trips to visit colleges.
A majority of the students polled said they would be interested in attending events sponsored by the city and are willing to travel an average of 15 minutes to get to an event.
In response to the survey, the Youth Commission is planning a dance event for high school students on July 24. The event will serve as the last hurrah of summer for students as schools reopen on July 28. For a $5 entry fee – a bargain compared to the average high school dance ticket price – students who present a valid high school ID will be treated to a beach-themed event complete with refreshments and a DJ spinning the latest hits.
“A lot of kids commented in the survey that they would like to see a dance for teens to attend that wasn’t put on by the schools,” Cook said. “That way, Liberty and Heritage students can hang out together at an event without having to request dance bids.”
The Endless Summer dance will take place Friday, July 24 from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Brentwood Community Center, 730 Third St. Tickets will be sold at the door.
The event will also serve as a fundraising event for the commission’s scholarship program. This year, the Youth Commission awarded three $750 scholarships to graduating seniors who live in Brentwood.
If the event does well, said Cook, the commission would like to hold more dances throughout the year, including an event specifically for middle school students.
Beyond its role as an advisory body to the City Council, youth commission members regularly volunteer at local events such as Breakfast with Santa, Hometown Halloween, Tour de Starbucks, and Marsh Creek Cleanup.
Youth Commission Chairperson Matthew Strauss said the commission’s next goal is to plan more youth-oriented events based on the results of the survey, and to find a way to improve communication between students and staff at local middle and high schools to increase academic success.
The commission is made up of 10 youth, ages 11 to 20, three adult advisors and one staff liaison, Recreation Supervisor Barbie Gary. Commissioners serve two-year terms.
The youth commission meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers.