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CONTRIBUTION · 18th December 2011
The following was a response to the article on the “Yellow House Fire” last Friday. We feel it deserves a front page position. Thank you to the community of Terrace resident who wrote it.

I agree that our community DOES have a responsibility to provide kids with alternatives to just loitering and hanging around in the streets.

Kids like to be social, keep busy, and to be active. But just where can they do that in town here? Safely, and affordably, and constructively.

Part of the problem is affordability. Parents can keep kids busy by enrolling them in activities to keep them active and to keep them busy. Idle time and boredom can turn into getting into trouble just for excitement.

For families who struggle to maintain food, shelter, and clothing for kids, expensive enrolment in after school activities is a distant priority.

What would be of interest to kids? What DO they want offered here in this community? What do they want to be doing? I wish there were indoor basketball courts or an indoor supervised gym for kids to use for free. Somewhere to play indoor soccer or bball/vball/badminton. I wish we did have the funds to build a great multiplex that did include a gym and courts for activities to be offered to kids for free. It would be a great idea to turn some of the unused tennis courts into hockey or basketball courts, a great idea for summertime activities. And yes, a central public skateboard park would be a great idea. And yes, a lot of the problem IS funding. We as a community do struggle right now, the economic times are very tough. It is so challenging.

If kids CAN keep busy, they WILL be too busy and too tired at the end of the day to be idle. Idle kids are kids at risk. Kids need structure.

And yes, great idea too, to encourage volunteering. They need to learn and experience how it does feel to give, and that reward will come from that. Kids also though, do like immediate fun and excitement and also tend to be very self focussed. If we as adults can encourage healthy ways such as volunteering, then kids may follow.

I do agree as well about parental responsibility. Kids need structure, boundaries, and a sense of responsibility. And that does start with at home, with basic chores, learning basic respect for self and others, helping the family, completing studies, finding hobbies. For sure. And if this basic structure and framework is not present, kids can be at risk. Which again, there is the societal problem of poverty and all the social problems that come from that, and we as a community DO have a responsibility to try to help out however we can. Then we have to ask ourselves WHY there is poverty. The best we can do as a society is encourage the pursuit of personal best in healthy ways.

Kids should have a structured curfew, and should be able to feel safe AND welcome home when returning home. Open and trustful communication with parents is so important.

There is a lot of poverty and dysfunction in our community, and many families are struggling. If we as a community can do anything to help kids keep busy then all the better. Something fun, affordable, and safe for kids...we need to help figure it out AS a community, because what is happening right now with our youth in our community is not working. Take a look down town on any given night and there are a lot of idle kids just hanging about. I do agree that as a parent, one must provide structure and boundaries. But unfortunately if that is not present for whatever reason, it IS the responsibility of the community to keep these kids safe. And yes, the much larger picture is problems within our society.

We should honestly ask them what they really do want to be doing, I am sure the answer would be a lot more than just hanging out on the streets. As a community member, yes i do feel that even though these children may not be OUR children, we actually DO have a responsibility to help keep kids safe, provide them with some sort of healthy activities that they can enjoy. Just as this city is our city as adults, so is it a city for our children as well.

It IS a community responsibility. As adults we DO have the responsibility to the kids. As we expect them to respect us, we should also respect them.

I am just very thankful that this incident did not end in complete tragedy. Thankfully there was not loss of life. Kids like excitement and unfortunately turn to something more sinister out of complete boredom if their minds and bodies are not occupied constructively.

Again, I do think a lot of the issue does have to do with basic healthy boundaries and responsibilities which is a parental responsibility to nurture. But when a family unit is not functioning well, that is a weak link. Again, I think again that it comes down to society. If we can all help each other out, maybe we can make things better for all. Kids in our community ARE our responsibility, as are our elderly, our disadvantaged and our marginalized.

If we as a community can show them that we DO actually care for them then maybe they will take pride in their community and in themselves and their actions as well.
Cancelled. Well at least we try.
Comment by MaggieJo Johnson on 24th December 2011
We do try, you know.

One example. The FREE teen swim had to be cancelled cuzza all the bullying/aggressive behaviour from a # of youths where the RCMP had to be called in.

The Community does try, but seems to no avail. I suggest we stick to the personal challenging task of putting ourselves out there by building relationships with the youth in our own personal little neighborhoods and branch out from there. You know...the kid next door...the teen up the street...the youth a couple doors down? From personal experience, this really does work and my neighborhood is a JOY to live in amongst all the youth who have opened up to learn to trust the adults in our neighborhood as we in turn give them respect; while they do so back.
As someone else pointed out.
Comment by Samantha on 19th December 2011
We are not allowed to spank our children or we get charged with abuse. Someone posted something on facebook at some point about a court overruling a grounding. So what authority do parents have left?
Opening E. T. Kenney more complicated than it appears
Comment by c. sandecki on 19th December 2011
While the idea of using closed schools certainly has merit, it also comes with many costs -- extra insurance to cover liability, salaries for custodial staff, snow plowing, more heat,more electricity needed, repairs for any on-going damage ...
It doesnt take a village it takes a parent
Comment by Megan on 19th December 2011
I fully have to agree with Abbey and Chris. It doesnt take a village it takes responsible parents and even if the city of Terrace was to spend all this money on good ideas, who's to say the kids will use it. I grew up with a single mom who worked a full time job and she's still raising my 2 teenage siblings and guess what! I was social and kept busy on my own without all these extra curricular options and never once did I vandalize personal property,jump someone walking at night to steal from them, break and enter or commit arson. Why you ask, because if my mother had found out the devil himself would have taken pity on me. Where are these kids parents??? I read the police report on this site and cant believe it sometimes.....17 year old girls passed out drunk in the sidewalks, RCMP being called out to assist parents with their 11 year old...thats right AN 11 YEAR OLD!! seriously, when I was 11 all that needed to be said was my first and middle name and that was the end of that because I didnt get a freakin time out, I got a spanking. Instead of using your tax dollars to build some nice free gym that will probably be set aflame....offer some free parenting courses and definately put in place an ENFORCED curfew
yellow house fire
Comment by abbey on 18th December 2011
seems funny that the village has to take care of this. Where are the parents or guardins of these kids out and doing damages around 3 am??? there has to be structure in the home and to have for ever action a re-action. you do good then you are rewarded you screw up then you pay for it whether you are grounded or some other punishment but something must be done. every night I see kids way under age wandering the streets when they should be home sleeping. maybe the village should have a curfew for kids under 18 years like 11pm everynight.
Youth center?
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 18th December 2011

ET Kenney has been empty for a year.

Can the School District or the Ministry of education lease this building so we can get on with our lives and use this space.
Terrace - failing grade on youth activities
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 18th December 2011
Absolutely, it does take a village to raise a child...and Terrace has done a very poor job of holding up it's end of social responsibilities.

When considering what has been done to benefit youth here, the most that comes to mind are activities that only those families with mid to higher income can afford, such as the arena extension and the ski hill. Yes, the city did build a skateboard park but look where it was built! And yes, the pool does offer a free teen swim - two hours per week!

The city was very generous with a yearly donation of $15,000 to My Mountain Co-op but that does nothing to help youth who have no means of getting to the ski hill or affording rental equipment. Is the city willing to make the same financial commitment to the curling rink, which is accessible on foot, and only requires a pair of clean runners?

It seems that our past city council did make efforts to include the needs of young people but, IMO, it was geared heavily towards families that they associated with, not those who needed community interaction the most. I am very hopeful that our newly elected councillors will have the capability of opening their eyes a little further than the last council and acknowledge that it is in the cities' best interest to develop infrastructure with ALL youth in mind, not just those who can afford user fees on arenas and clubs.

Let's get this show on the road.
Comment by MaggieJo Johnson on 18th December 2011
Okay everyone. Let's get started.

We can start by taking back ownership of our own neighborhoods - block by block by going outside our own comfort zones to reach out and
help others in our midst. The aliens aren't gonna do it, so we must.

Reaching out to the Youth who live next door or across the street is a start. Show them you care. In splurges, I receive food "donations" which is too much to eat, so I send my children around the neighborhood sharing the extra food with others. These acts raise trust and appreciation with those in our midst.

Invite neighborhood kids over to play basketball with Dad and kids in the front driveway. Pull neighborhood litter patrols, while encouraging the kids to join in on the fun. One can even mentor them along the way - ie; "Here is the garbage picker upper and some gloves. Safety first! or..."How are things at school going for you?" or "You did WHAT?!? Do you realize the consequences for pulling such a thing?" etc.

Engaging in getting to know our own neighborhood kids will encourage them to be more responsible members of our Communities; while we show them we do really care for them; while also holding them accountable in the interim (which is imperative in moving forward together as a Community).

Reward the youth in our neighborhoods with our time and ears and even moola! (The latter cash incentive is somefin' I do with the kids/youth around my place. I see them wearing helmuts? They get a coupon for DQ or a toonie. Even the teens around here holler over to me that they are wearing their helmuts! HA HA! So, they get a toonie too (hee hee). When they help me pull litter patrol in the heat of the summer, they all get ice cream treats from my deep freeze. Suddenly there were kids at my door asking if they could walk my dog for me!

When I need outdoor stuff done, I dial up a local neighborhood teen or two that I know could use the extra cash.."Hey, can you clean out my congested carport for me? I'll pay you $12/hour." 'Seems like as soon as I hang up the phone - DING DONG! 'WOW! You're right on time to join us for the moose stew dinner I made! Come on in and eat first with the family and then pull the clean up please. Then report back to me so I can review your work and pay for your labour."

A majority of us have tons of sporting equipment just sitting in the back yard shed. If you don't wanna let go of it, do what my teenaged son did. He LENT all his goalie gear out - including expensive goalie skates - to someone who couldn't afford to buy it himself.

When we build relationships with the children/Youth/adults in our own neighborhoods...we live well together. Instead of "buying a portion of highway" ... why don't we use that same idea to "own our our personal neighborhoods". We could all start small with those who live nearest to us. This really does work. My personal neighborhood is proof. I LOVE living here on the South side.
Nice thought but...
Comment by Chris on 18th December 2011
This is a lovely optomistic story, but poverty and a lack of indoor basketball courts are absolutely no excuse for parents or caregivers not supervising and having rules and expectations for their children!

People have been poor before in history and didn't have 11 yr old criminals setting fires and robbing people. People have lived without million dollar multiplex facilities and not committed assaults and vandalism. People need to stop looking to others to take care of your children and step up and do it yourselves. I do agree that parents and caregivers should be held responsible for crimes committed by criminals that are too young to be charged.