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City, YMCA to Reach Out to 'Overly Rambunctious' Teens in Library Park

The city will partner with the YMCA to offer diversion programs for teens in Library Park on Friday nights.

The City Council will vote Tuesday on a proposed partnership between the city and the designed to offer diversion programs for teens causing trouble in during the weekly .

The city has pursued numerous strategies in attempting to tame the "overly rambunctious, rude, vulgar and generally obnoxious" behavior of some teenagers who congregate at the park on Fridays, but none of the plans have worked, according to City Manager Scott Ochoa.

"And while it is a point of pride that Old Town is seen as a safe environment such that some parents feel comfortable allowing their children to come to Old Town unsupervised, the kids’ behavior can present a complex problem from time to time," Ochoa wrote in an agenda report. "Indeed, sometimes these kids place themselves in potentially dangerous situations."

City officials have received numerous complaints about teens smoking, using obscene language and vandalizing property in the park, according to Ochoa. The city because of the teen's rowdy behavior.

"In the past, the city has used Family Festival security, recreation leaders, police officers and, more recently, park rangers to handle this situation," Ochoa wrote. "Based on various evaluations, none of these solutions have proven especially effective."

The SAFYMCA will make the latest attempt at reaching out to the kids with an outreach effort they'll call "Square One," and representatives from the organization have already been talking with teens on Fridays to figure out what constructive activities might keep them busy, said Damon Colaluca, the nonprofit's executive director.

The first two Fridays of the program will be used as a focus group where teens are invited to give their input and help shape the activities that will eventually take place. The program will be evaluated bi-weekly, Colaluca said, to make sure it is working properly.

"We plan on doing like we do with all teen programs--talking with teens and finding out wnat their hopes, dreams and goals are and helping them create programs that they feel are impactful to their lives," Colaluca said.

The extent of the programs have yet to be fleshed out but could include anything from art and music activities to sports, Colaluca said. The program will be designed to "meet the youth where they are" instead of trying to move them out of Old Town, according to Ochoa.

"Part of the staffing effort focuses on having official and identifiable staff, augmented by screened/fingerprinted volunteers (parents, youth ministers, etc.), circulating through Old Town in an effort to corral the youth back to the Park, where they can be exposed to positive and constructive interactions," Ochoa wrote.

The city will pay the SAFYMCA $11,077 for its services, which Colaluca said would run during the upcoming summer months.

"I think its going to be a great opportunity and a lot of fun for the kids who are there at Library Park," Colaluca said. "My hope is that it makes that whole Friday night experience more enjoyable there for teens and adults alike."

Iamsam May 05, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Didn't think of it that way, it's been a long time since I paid a babysitter. For 4 hours every Friday that is approximately $1000.00 dollars a week. I hope the City Council really thinks this through. The community is already not happy with the free for all spending going on. I would think there are some stay at home mom's or dad's that are out of work that would do it for much less.
Alice Parkinson May 05, 2011 at 03:58 AM
These teen/tweens are all over the place not only the park. They roam in packs up to Pavillions run thru parking lot, up to wendy's. I've seen this many, many times. This should be communicated to parents thru mailing. As most have know idea what's going on.
Scott Doberman May 05, 2011 at 04:17 AM
For the cost of a couple cases of beer you could hire four Hells Angels to hang around the park and I guarantee you there will be no more trouble in the area. Statistics show there will also be a 33 % drop in crime in the area when these guys around. But seriously, Monrovia P.D. can't handle this problem ? Is our police force understaffed ? When we were having the problems with the gang bangers shooting up the town, it was embarrassing that we had to have Sheriff Deputies and the CHP patrolling our streets. I've always thought that our Police Department was to small for these times. Don't these kids have party's to go too on Friday and Saturday nights ? Have things changed that much over the years ? Maybe get some military recruiters down at the park on Friday nights. It might at least thin out the numbers of kids hanging out at the park. Well Mr. City Manager, there goes your annual bonus. How much is that bonus of yours ?
Jill Ramirez May 05, 2011 at 04:42 AM
I guess I have further questions, how many teens are hanging out vs how many are actually causing trouble? Surely I hope the City Council that applauds our schools and parents are not insinuating that our community is full of out of control kids. I would also inquire to how these volunteers plan to "corral" kids to the park? Are we now telling our kids it's okay to go with strange adults? Will there be increased lighting? What if the kids say no? I work with many of our local teens, I would bet that they are not interested in sitting around in a circle talking with an adult, doing crafts, or playing sports on a Friday night. It is plain and simple what they want. The girls want to look cute, the boys want to act cool, then parents call and they go home. Some act up, some act out but that is part of adolescence. I don't condone it at all! Those that are breaking laws should be ticketed and fined by the police and parents called on the spot. I am not knocking the idea as a whole but really for the money being spent I think there are many options not being explored. As for the Mary Wilcox Center? What did happen to the purpose for that location? I remember it had pool tables, a snack bar, and video games. What happened to them? A few weeks ago, a flyer was circulating around our schools promoting the Duarte Teen Center Friday night dance. Seems like our Youth Center is missing out.
Bob Dollins May 05, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Oh what do we do, what do we do????? Oh, come on. If these punks are doing what the original blog says they are doing. Have the cops take them down to the station and call their parents to come and get them, then send them (the parents) a bill for "services rendered" What's the going rate for babysitting these days, $10, $15 dollars an hour? If Mom and Dad have to start paying for their punk kid's behavior, maybe a good ass-whuppin would be in order.

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