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Teen dance offers fun, safety

January 24, 2013|By JESSICA MANUEL | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • The Memorial Recreation Center will host a teen dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, for ages 11 to 18 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Gymnasium at 131 W. North Ave., Hagerstown. The dance is free of charge.
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Tweens and teens who are looking for a place to dance, and parents who are looking for a safe place for their kids to hang out can find both at Memorial Recreation Center's teen dances.

The Memorial Recreation Center will host a teen dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, for ages 11 to 18 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Gymnasium at 131 W. North Ave., Hagerstown. The dance is free of charge.

"Our focus is to give kids an outlet in a safe environment to gather and socialize," said Karen Cook, executive director for Memorial Recreation Center.

  Memorial Recreation Center collaborates with the Jonathan Street Planning Committee, Hagerstown Area Religious Council and the Community Foundation of Washington County to give the opportunity to teens.

The collaboration with among the social groups means a bigger program, according to Cook, and will feature door prizes and drawings throughout the night and an educational aspect.

DJ Soup will rock the house with current dance music for the teens to dance all night. 

Being a grant recipient from the Community Foundation of Washington County, funds received by The Jonathan Street Planning Committee allow them to put on the dance as well as other events to benefit the community, according to a statement from the Community Foundation.

The Planning Committee collaborating to host teen socialization and character counts events fits the Community Foundation's Strategic Community Impact Plan (SCIP), which focuses on education, family safety and security, health and well-being, the elderly, the disabled population, and self-sufficiency, according to a funding statement from the Washington County Community Foundation.

"We helped with a series of gathering opportunities in the community, giving kids a place to socialize in a safe environment but also focus on lessons like character counts," said Kristy Smith, programs and communications manager for the Community Foundation. "These dances, and other activities, allowed coordinators a captive audience to which important topics and life lessons could be discussed in a non-threatening environment."

The Planning Committee won the grant because they showed specific focus on SCIP goal No. 22, which concentrates on combating risky behaviors in the youth, according to a statement from the Washington County Community Foundation. 

The upcoming dance is the fourth teen dance put together by the Rec Center. Cook said they are excited to keep it an ongoing event, reflecting both their mission and that of their partners.

"We plan on having at least one or two a month or one (dance) and another event," said Cook, adding that the dances for February and March are already planned.

While this dance is free for admittance, other dances hosted by Memorial Recreation Center are fundraisers for the center and charge $2 at the door.

Proceeds, however, will go straight to Memorial Rec.

The center relies mostly on volunteers, Cook said, who along with people from the Jonathan Street Planning Committee, will be in charge of chaperoning the dance to ensure a safe environment for the teens in attendance.

"We focus on youth and families, but we are gearing activities toward the community, too," she said.

Upcoming events hosted by Memorial Recreation Center include a financial literacy series and a January basketball tournament.  In addition, they have after school programs, ensuring that the youth have a place to go in keeping with their mission statement: to enable our youth.



If you go ...

What: Dance for ages 11 to 18   

When: Saturday, Jan. 26 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Gymnasium, 131 W. North Ave. Hagerstown

Cost: Free

Contact: For more information, call 301-790-0203 or check out the Memorial Recreation Center Inc. Facebook page.

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