1/27 Welcome to the New Year Dance, Tannery Pond
3/2 Tubing, Ski Bowl Park
3/9 Game Night, Tannery Pond
3/30 Winter Blues Dance, Tannery Pond
4/20 Manhunt, Ski Bowl Park
5/11 Paintball, Word of Life
5/18 Movie Night, Tannery Pond
6/8 Party Night at the Beach, Ski Bowl Pavilion
9/14 Welcome Back Dance!, Tannery Pond
9/28 Scavenger Hunt, Ski Bowl Park
10/5 Murder Mystery Night, Tannery Pond
10/26 Themed Halloween Dance, Tannery Pond
11/9 Coffee House, Tannery Pond
11/30 Kick Off to Winter Dance, Tannery Pond
12/14 Chinese Auction, Tannery Pond
The program may be called Teens Only!, but adults can get a chance to be part of their teens' social lives while volunteering for the 10-year-old program.
The program runs on volunteer chaperones, and more are always needed, according to Director Trena Reidinger.
“It's a great opportunity for parents to be involved with the kids in our community,” she said. “It opens up a forum for us to talk to our teens. How often does that happen?”
The program runs events every other week, except in summer, to give teens a place to socialize in a safe environment.
Teens Only! hosts free events for community youth. They include movie nights, at least a couple a year, said Reidinger, an annual scavenger hunt, chinese auction gift exchanges, paintball battles and coffeehouses. The coffeehouse events are driven by the creative talents of local teens, though Reidinger said their popularity has waned recently.
“You really have to have a group of kids that enjoy that kind of thing,” she said.
Their most popular events are dances, of which they hold six to eight a year. The dances often attract more than 100 teens for the DJ'd evenings with food and prizes. The first dance of the year was cancelled because of bad weather Jan. 13, but it's rescheduled for Jan. 27.
Businesses in town cut the program a deal on food to help support the events. Reidinger said Pete's Ahh and Café Sarah have been especially generous.
The program is driven by grant procurement, said Reidinger. Wes Dingman is a board of trustees member with the Tannery Pond Community Center Association. The Association formed in 2001 to make the center a cultural, educational, recreational and social center for the region. He helps support the program with grant applications, a job he said isn't too hard.
“One, it's all volunteers. Two, it's free to teens from throughout the area,” said Dingman.
The youth come from Chestertown and Indian Lake — sometimes as far away as Warrensburg. These features make it a good target for grant funding from organizations including reliable dollars from the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack foundation. He's also seen Community Bank and the Rivendell Foundation chip in occasionally.
Dingman mentioned that since the town began charging for use of the expensive-to-maintain Tannery Pond center, the TPCCA has offered small grants to cover the usage cost for non-profits that would like to use the facility, another cost-saving measure available to such programs.
“It's a wonderful program,” said Dingman, one that provides an alcohol-, drug- and tobacco-free environment. “But it requires a lot of volunteers.”
Trena Reidinger can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone at 251-3263.