Basalt students study how to create youth center |

Basalt students study how to create youth center

Student activists in Basalt believe they have found the key to getting kids interested in a youth center.

“Every single kid says if you get a foosball table, I’ll be there,” said Erin Kunze, who graduated from Basalt High School last month.

But establishing a place to put a foosball table presents the challenge.

Kunze and some other students are heading a search for a youth center and to define exactly what they want in the facility. They will seek the help of the Town Council Tuesday night in a work session.

Kunze is helping lead the project even though she is leaving for college next fall. She said she got involved in the effort to start a youth center during the last school year and wanted to keep promoting the idea this summer.

She and other students organized a student survey, which was filled out by about 100 of the 350 high schoolers. Respondents overwhelmingly supported creation of a facility where kids can “hang out,” said Kunze.

Interested students and some representatives of the town government and community held a “charrette” last month to kick around issues like what amenities are wanted at a youth center, where it should be located, how to create a sense of ownership among students and how it could be integrated into the community, said Kunze.

They also decided they needed to research why some youth centers prove popular and why some flop.

One definitive finding from the charrette was a youth center must be at an easily accessible location. “We’d like to have it somewhere near the heart of Basalt,” said Kunze.

Cost – whether in rent or development – presents the biggest hurdle to a youth center.

Along with a foosball table, kids said they needed a place for dances. Currently, all major school dances are held in Aspen.

A student-run radio station has also been mentioned as one of the unique possible features of a youth center.

Students and council members will determine Tuesday how to turn the idea of a youth center into reality.

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