I don’t have my driver’s license, my family cannot afford it. I have my license, but I just got it and cannot have passengers in the car. I don’t have a car. I used to ride the bus, but now there is no bus service. I am too young to drive. These are some of the concerns of students at the Community Summit, held March 21.
This was the 20th year of the event and the theme this year was “Igniting Positive Change”. It was put on by Sumner/Bonney Lake Area Communities for Families Coalition. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn new things, have a voice and network with like-minded people in the community. Kudos to Marilee Hill-Anderson for her leadership as facilitator of this important group and event.
There were between 250 and 300 people in attendance, including community leaders, volunteers, resource providers, school officials, parents, speakers and most importantly, youth in our community.
One of the breakout sessions I attended was Creating More Youth Activities, facilitated by Michelle LaRue of the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, Alec Latham from Sumner /Bonney Lake Parks and Recreation Department and David Wells, events coordinator for the City of Bonney Lake. Each had exciting news to share.
Starting in July, one Saturday evening per month from 9 p.m. to midnight there will be a teen night. While waiting for the Orton Junction appeal to be decided, the YMCA in Sumner has been put on hold. Faith Community Church has graciously opened its doors for this beginning of many such teen nights to come when the YMCA is built. The church has a gym and classrooms that can be used. The youth in attendance (about half the room) was asked what they would like to see at teen night. Near the top of the list was food, granola bars, popcorn and other healthy snacks. Basketball, volley ball, nerf wars, Velcro wall, outdoor paintball, dodge ball, dances, outdoor water balloons, gymnastics, dances, martial arts, cooking and art classes were activities the youth suggested. Sumner YMCA has a Facebook page. “Like” it to keep up on the details of this safe place for teens to have fun and be with friends.
Alec Latham handed out the spring activities 2013 to everyone in the room. You can also see the offerings online at www.sumnersd.org. Click on recreation department from the student and family services drop down menu. The program utilizes Sumner School District facilities, there are many offerings including preschool classes and indoor play, home school PE, soccer, flag football, spring break day camp, drop in Zumba for adults. Check it out! There is something there for all age groups, minimal costs and are financial assistance is available.
David Wells distributed a list of special events in the city of Bonney Lake with 36 free events to attend from the spring egg hunt at Allen Yorke Park to the East Pierce Fire and Rescue 20th annual open house in the fall, kids club, Tunes @ Tapps, and Friday night flicks, Bonney Lake Days. Almost all events are at Allan Yorke Park. And I repeat: they are free. The calendar is available at www.citybonneylake.org/events. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on all the fun!
Now back to youth transportation. One of the concerns of the youth in the room was getting from the Plateau to a YMCA teen night in Sumner. They said riding your bike is out of the question on that steep hill, known as Elhi Hill, whether it is day or night. It is a barrier between the cities of Bonney Lake and Sumner that must be solved. We have no community center in Bonney Lake and the YMCA will be in Sumner. Options for getting kids to Y services are getting parents to carpool, get bus service or see if church vans could be used. I talked to both mayors Dave Enslow and Neil Johnson about it. Perhaps Beyond the Borders Connector is the answer, suggested Mayor Enslow. It is being piloted through June in the Bonney Lake-Sumner area. It is to help eligible residents access public transportation, medical services, employment, shopping and social activities seven days a week. To find out if you are eligible or to make a reservation, call 211 or 800-572-4357. And be sure to take the transit survey on the home page at www.citybonneylake.org and let your city officials know your transportation needs on the Bonney Lake Plateau.
Partnering together helps youth and families. Let’s ignite some positive change and find a transportation solution for our youth. Next column is about non-motorized transportation on the Plateau.