Students work hard to make Cambridge Teen Center a reality

Students volunteering on the Cambridge Teen Center committee are an integral part of making the center a reality.

Since late fall, a handful of students have been attending committee meetings every two weeks. Besides the students, the committee also includes approximately 15 adults, and it is spearheaded by Gary Hawkins, retired teacher, and Cambridge-Isanti School Board member.

Christian Weibe, who just completed eighth-grade at the Minnesota Center, said he is excited to be a part of the committee.

“When Mr. Hawkins asked me to be a part of the committee, I agreed to do it because I thought it would be interesting,” Christian said. “I think we need the teen center because it would another place for kids to hang out and stay out of trouble.”

Hawkins said the committee is still in the process of determining a location for the center and has looked at many places around the community. He explained the committee envisions a teen center as a place with ping-pong and foosball tables, a homework and study area, couches for chatting and hanging out, computers, televisions, and more.

“We want the teen center to be a place for all kids to feel welcome and have a chance to interact with one another,” Hawkins said. “We will have computers, a place for kids to study and do homework, play games and visit with each other.”

Christian made teen center meetings a priority.

“Before December, I was juggling swimming and teen center meetings,” Christian said. “But I wanted to do this, and I’m glad I can help out the community.”

Sabrina Dewey, who just completed eighth grade at Cambridge Middle School, joined the committee after Hawkins asked the school counselor for ideas on student committee members.

“We are excited to get the teen center up and running,” Sabrina said. “We also want to incorporate some outdoor activities into the center as well. But we feel this is something that is definitely needed in the community.”

Hawkins appreciates the work of the students.

“We’ve had about three to four students who have consistently showed up to our teen center meetings,” Hawkins said. “They really have been helpful with their feedback, ideas and have come up with fundraising ideas.”

Hawkins said the teen center has applied for nonprofit status.

“Our students have been really involved with this process, and we wanted them on our committee because this is going to be a teen center for the kids,” Hawkins said. “Family Pathways, who operates other teen centers in the area, said this is the first time they’ve ever had students on the teen center committee. Even though this teen center will probably be independent of the Family Pathways teen centers, the organization has been really supportive of the idea.”

Hawkins said the committee recently held a fundraiser at Cub Foods bagging groceries and had a booth at Cambridge Day Out festivities. He said the committee will be marching in the Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days Parade in July and is also brainstorming more fundraising ideas.

The adult committee members appreciate the commitment by the students.

“I wouldn’t be a part of this process if the kids weren’t here,” Kitty Shipshock said. “It’s just been great having them a part of this process and having their perspective.”

If interested in becoming a part of the Teen Center Committee or making a donation to the Teen Center, contact Hawkins at [email protected]