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Teen night needs volunteers

Once a month throughout the school year sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Rosemount have the chance to get together and have some fun. For years, Rosemount Parks and Recreation has hosted teen night with the goal of giving adolescents a safe place to gather.

It's a popular event that draws hundreds of middle schoolers to the Rosemount Community Center. The event relies on parent participation and currently that participation is down.

"Teen night is only successful if parents help," said parks and recreation supervisor Lisa Maurer.

So far Maurer has struggled to find volunteers willing to commit time to the monthly event. Teen nights are held the second Friday of each month from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Teen night is cancelled in December.

During teen nights the center is opened up for a variety of activities. Maurer said teens can play games including air hockey and ping pong, dance to a live DJ or hangout in the gym. Maurer said the DJ plays the kids' requests.

"We really leave it up to them to decide what they want to do," said Maurer. Last year for one of the evenings a band from the middle school performed.

The only thing that is asked of the kids is that they behave themselves and they generally do.

"They know they have a good thing going and they don't want to mess it up," said longtime teen night volunteer Joe Walsh.

Walsh has been volunteering with the program since it started more than 12 years ago. He said he enjoys watching the kids interact.

"Some day those kids are going to be taking care of me," said Walsh. "So I like to see how they're growing up."

Volunteering for teen night isn't a whole lot of work, Walsh said. Basically, he said, you sit around and make sure there's no funny business.

The 2008-09 Teen Night schedule begins tonight. The event is open to students who either attend a Rosemount middle school or live in Rosemount.

Every participant must have a parent authorization/emergency contact form on file in order to attend. A new form must be completed each school year.

Parent authorization forms are available at the Rosemount Middle School office, the Rosemount Parks and Recreation office or the night of the event. Kids without a signed form will not be allowed into the program. Parents and guardians are required to sign only one permission slip per school year.

Maurer said when signing the permission form parents can volunteer for a night.

Teen night goes from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost is $2.