Meeker teens long for more things to do around town after sun sets

MEEKER I Summer in Meeker is not known for being of a hotbed of activity for local teenagers. It seems they have the choice of finding some innocent fun or breaking the rules.
Meeker Recreation and Park District Executive Director Michael Weinbrecht said that teenagers are very important to Recreation District activities, but that the teens are the most difficult age group to accommodate with activities. The teens are not able to be involved in activities for most of the year.
During the school year, high school and even middle school students spend a majority of their time studying and playing school-sponsored sports.
Even during the summer, high school athletes wake themselves up at 6 a.m. for a workout at the school.
In addition to these workouts, many athletes also attend summer practices for their sport of choice. Summer sports are very common and almost every team practices during the summer.
Summer also brings 4-H activities.
Ricky Jeffery and Chevy Mohr, both upcoming seniors, spent the Fourth of July selling bracelets for their Outdoor Adventure Club, which spends the summer doing things like hiking.
Kids of all ages also raise sheep, pigs, chickens, rabbits and steers to sell at the Rio Blanco County Fair through their Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H clubs. With the fair approaching, those teens are also working hard to prepare their animals.
“I enjoy spending time with animals,” says Dannon Bolton, also an upcoming senior, who is doing her last year raising steers.
“It teaches values,” said County Commission Chairman Shawn Bolton, Dannon’s father.
Weinbrecht has already added many bike trails and full-day hikes to the list of activities with the help of the BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Upcoming sophomores, including Nick Burri, Sam Lange, Jacob Henderson, Noah Overton and Cole and Cody Purcell take full advantage of the bike trails.
“You do jumps, go fast and there is a wall ride,” Burri said, expressing his excitement for the trails.
Weinbrecht really wants to see more night activities for teenagers.
He discussed the possibility of bringing more teen-based movies to the “Movies Under the Stars,” which is a long-standing event in the park. The idea is to keep teenagers involved in Meeker instead of going to Rifle to view movies.
“To be honest, being a teenager in Meeker is a little rough…,” said upcoming senior Ohana Mataia of Meeker High School, “…only because there’s not much to do and when there’s not much to do, trouble starts to stir.”
Games like “Car Tag” and “Ding-Dong Ditch” pop up.
“Car Tag” involves driving through town at top speeds trying to catch up to another car. Once the vehicle is stopped, runners bail out of the car and slap the side of the other car to avoid being “it.”
“Ding-Dong Ditch” is used specifically to hide from law enforcement simply because of the thrill. Late at night kids run to doors, ring the bell at least 10 times and take off running. This process is repeated until the cops are called and it often continues until the teens are caught.
It is no secret that teens easily lose interest in even the newest activities that Meeker can offer.
This was evident when the new pool opened. The pool was crowded with teens for months, but eventually it becomes another “dull” aspect of teen life in Meeker.
“There is nothing they can really do,” John Mac Sheridan said when discussing what could be added to Meeker that he would enjoy.
Although teenagers cover the town when the sun goes down, they often cannot be found in the daylight.
“It’s just hard to have fun around town when there is nothing to do,” said upcoming senior Chevy Mohr.
“It would be nice if some businesses would just stay open later,” Mataia said, “or if they added a drive-in theater.”

1 Comment

  1. Not only did I grow up in small towns, during my teen years I lived at a Forest Service District Ranger Station 60 miles from “civilization” every summer. We did not have TV reception and certainly not the internet! Instead we hiked, rode horses, played kick-the-can in the evenings, fished, rode bikes, and indoor activities included board games-mostly monopoly, card games such as pinochle, canasta, cribbage and others. We read books, talked about them with others, went for nightly hikes or drives to look at the wildlife (bears, moose, elk, deer, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, badgers).
    There was a nearby ‘Dude ranch” that sometimes needed a babysitter and Saturday nights invited us to their square dances. And we all had chores around the house.
    To this day, I do not know what boredom is since I had the wonderful opportunity and support to use my mind to entertain myself. I am concerned when youth say they have nothing to do or are bored. There is always plenty to do if one puts their mind to it!

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