Teens in the groove of finding fun

December 28, 1997

Teens in the groove of finding fun


Staff Writer

Shane Cregger doesn't have a hard time finding fun.

If he's not hanging out at a local dance club and pool hall, he can always go skateboarding, said Cregger, 14, of Frederick, Md.

Tasha Mankins, on the other hand, still thinks it's "kind of boring" in the area.

Even with the new ice rink and Liquid Groove opening this year, the 13-year-old resident of Hagerstown's South End wants something different to do.


Cregger and Mankins are evidence of the split among area teenagers over whether there's enough locally to keep them safely entertained.

For years, the thing to do on Friday nights was roller skate.

Holly Williams, 13, of Hagerstown, used to go roller skating every Friday and Saturday night since she was 9 years old.

"I was getting bored," said Williams, who was hanging out with friends at Liquid Groove on a November Friday night.

Now Williams said she thinks there's something to do on Friday nights, but wants more choices on weekday nights.

In July, the Liquid Groove entertainment center opened on Dual Highway with an arcade, pool tables and dance nights for various age groups.

In August, the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex opened at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds with open skate times, ice hockey, figure skating and skating lessons. There are even video games and a snack bar.

Proposed plans over the next few years to develop the remainder of the fairgrounds include an equestrian center, softball fields, soccer fields, a BMX track, walking and biking trails and areas for in-line skating and skateboarding.

Hagerstown Councilman J. Wallace McClure said youths who complain about nothing to do are choosing not to get involved.

There's plenty to do, including sporting events, church activities, ski trips, band trips, part-time jobs and dance clubs such as Liquid Groove and Extremes in Waynesboro, Pa., McClure said.

Some youths have no trouble keeping occupied.

"There's always plenty to get into," including laser bowling, said Keith Herbert, 16, of Boonsboro. But Herbert prefers hanging out and talking with his friends at the Ames Shopping Center parking lot on Dual Highway.

"All of our friends are out here," said Erick Keplinger, 18, of Boonsboro.

Standing in the rain, Eddie Funk, 22, of Sharpsburg, said he wished officials would remove the "no loitering" signs in the parking lot.

McClure said it's hard to know where to draw the line on allowing youths to hang out in parking lots. If they're near the businesses, they could intimidate people from shopping, he said.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, whose political platform included working to provide more places for young people, said the West End still needs such a place.

Besides suggesting a youth club with video games in the West End, another possibility could be midnight basketball, he said.

Some youths are willing to travel for fun.

Alyssa Rice, 16, of Inwood, W.Va., visited the ice rink with some friends because she said the only thing to do back home was hang out at the nearby Denny's.

At first, Devon Pearrell, 12, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said there was nothing to do back home except hang out at the Martinsburg Mall or talk to friends on the phone.

Pearrell said she and her friends had not tried a new under-21 club, but would.

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