Byram youngsters have an official summer hang-out

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    BYRAM-More than 50 young residents of Byram turned up last week to take part in the first event kicking off the summer Teen Center program. Throughout the summer local kids in grades 6 through 12 will be able to take part in various activities every Thursday night from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Teen center located in the Byram Civic Center. The activities offered include ping-pong, air hockey, pool, basketball, Dance-Dance Revolution, karaoke and other recreational games. In addition, several special theme nights are in the works, according to Summer Program Coordinator Christy Kota. "We have all kinds of great things planned," said Kota. "Survivor Night, T-Shirt Making Night, Scrap-Booking, Movie Night, DJ Night and Jersey Shore Night are just some of things we have going on." The program has been in place for 11 years and according to organizers, it continues to grow steadily. But that success, according to Director Don Hertel, is causing some growing pains. "We have been more successful each year in terms of turnout," said Hertel. "‘But now we need more funding." Currently the program is staffed by both salaried employees and a crew of volunteers. Parent Tara Martin is one such volunteer, donating her time to help out at the snack concession. "I have a child who is at a critical age to get involved in the wrong things," said Martin. "This shows him I care about him and the other kinds in the community by providing a safe environment for them." While the adults involved may have ulterior motives, the kids at the center are clearly there for one thing only. "They have lots of stuff here for fun," said 13-year-old Alyssa Steele. 12-year-old Max Siembieda echoed that sentiment. "I come here to hang out and play with my friends," said Siembieda. "There's a lot of stuff to do." The program is open to Byram, Netcong and Stanhope residents. For more information, call 973-347-2500, ext. 160.