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Concern For Youth Programs

POSTED June 23, 2009 3:59 p.m.
Dear Editor,
My name is Carolyn Rowley. I am 18 years old and a recent graduate of Oakdale High. It has come to my attention over the past four years that our city lacks youth programs appropriate for kids ages 12 and up. I certainly partook in numerous programs that the city provided while I was growing up such as OVYSA and OYSL but when I reached junior high it seemed that the community no longer cared or was not able to provide recreation for myself and my peers. Having grown up in Oakdale my whole life I know first-hand how frustrating it can be to live here as a teenager. To me, it seems like many problems could be averted or at least downsized if we had something to do to keep our minds off of alcohol, drugs, gangs, and other mischievous activities that a majority of kids nowadays take part in. I would say that a good 60 percent of the kids ages 12 and up are actively involved with some form of illegal substance or activity whether it be alcohol, marijuana, hard drugs, gangs, etc. Now that I am leaving Oakdale and heading to UC Davis I feel like I should raise awareness about the problems that I see and maybe future generations will be able to have entertainment, especially over summer, that is more compelling than TP’ing, ice blocking, egging, going to see one of the two movies and the Oakdale Cinema, eating ice cream, or causing mischief. Personally I do not recommend swimming at the Plunge due to its legendary uncleanliness.
I have had the privilege of traveling around the western United States and numerous small towns had a water park for the kids. It was geared toward the older kids with hit music over loudspeakers and thrilling slides, but it also accommodated the younger age groups. I feel that something of this nature would be very beneficial to all the citizens of Oakdale. I understand that we are struggling financially as a city, but I know if something like this were to be introduced to the people of Oakdale, with their support, it could be made possible. If it’s thought out and well planned a water park could even provide good revenue to our city. Here are some sites that have water park examples.
http://www.buildawaterpark.com/buildawaterpark.html
http://www.pwcparks.org/Recreation/WaterWorksWaterpark/tabid/182/Default.aspx
http://www.burbmom.net/tag/old-town-waterpark/
Other youth programs that would deliver the necessary entertainment to the teenagers of Oakdale could be a 12-18 club with music, food, prizes, and social networking or well advertised gatherings over summer to watch movies and hang out with friends.
Thank you for your time. I hope this ongoing issue will eventually be put to rest. Please let me know your opinions on the matter, I would be overjoyed to discuss alternate options or improvements of my ideas. Thanks once again.
Carolyn Rowley

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