New room helps Boys and Girls close age gap

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

Tim Painter, teen director at the Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown, shows off one of the nearly finished walls making up the teen room Tuesday.
Photo by Jenny Gessaman

The Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown isn’t expanding literally. It is, however, hoping to expand figuratively with the creation of a new “teen room,” according to Teen Director Tim Painter.

The project combines empty entryway space with an existing room to create an area tailored to older kids. Painter thinks a space crafted for teenagers will attract more of them to the club, and offer a more accommodating environment: The program’s current location is Painter’s office.

“We’re hoping, first and foremost, to expand our teen program, just in the sheer number of kids we can serve,” he said.

The teen room will include computers, two TV monitors and a sound system, but Painter plans to bring more than new equipment to the space.

“I want to create a schedule to provide activities for high school students,” he said. “The activities are going to be more organized. Kids are going to have a good idea of what to expect when they come in.”

Some of those expectations will still be pool, video games and other forms of entertainment, but Painter is adding social and serious elements, too.

“A typical night will feature a group activity to get everybody talking to each other,” he said. “Then a 10-15 minute discussion about tobacco use and prevention, leadership, etc. We want to talk about life issues with these kids.”

According to Painter, the room is in its final stages, thanks to donations. He credited anonymous and identified donors, including Stockman Bank, with funding the project. Painter is grateful; he believes the teen room will be a boon to the teen program.

“Teens need to feel like they’re welcomed, like they belong to something,” he said.

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