David Roudybush, deputy to the garrison commander, and several teenage volunteers cut the ribbon Sept. 17 at the new Bastogne Teen Center to officially welcome the public to the new facility at 1232 Bastogne Ave. The new facility is equipped with a theater, small gymnasium, computer lab and gaming room, a tech room, art studio and music room, as well as a homework and snack area. The wide variety of activities available to teens and the exposure to different potential interests at the facility are an important part of youth development, Roudybush said.
David Roudybush, deputy to the garrison commander, and several teenage volunteers cut the ribbon Sept. 17 at the new Bastogne Teen Center to officially welcome the public to the new facility at 1232 Bastogne Ave. The new facility is equipped with a theater, small gymnasium, computer lab and gaming room, a tech room, art studio and music room, as well as a homework and snack area. The wide variety of activities available to teens and the exposure to different potential interests at the facility are an important part of youth development, Roudybush said. (Photo Credit: Sirena Clark) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – September 17 marked the first day of operations for the new Bastogne Teen Center as David Roudybush, deputy to the garrison commander, and several teens celebrating the grand opening cut the red ribbon together to officially welcome the public to the new facility at 1232 Bastogne Ave.

Teenagers now have a space solely for their age group with activities and programming tailored to their interests and needs that focuses on five areas – education support and career development, character and leadership development, health, wellness and life skills, the arts, and leisure and recreation activities.

Meeting a need

Channon Ray, Child and Youth Services assistant director, said activities are planned by teens for teens and include social activities, volunteer opportunities and job preparation as well as referral, and community service opportunities.

The need in the community for a separate facility dedicated specifically to teens prompted the opening, Ray said, because teens on Fort Campbell needed a place to call their own, rather than sharing a facility like Taylor Youth Center with younger age groups.

“The surrounding communities have had trouble with runaways and youth unsupervised after school,” Ray said. “They get bored and youth tend to get into more trouble when bored.”

The new center gives teens something to do instead of spending time alone at home, and the interaction with friends the center provides has a positive impact on their behavior and development, she said.

“Being here at the teen center gives them a chance to mingle with their friends and just have fun until they are picked up by their parents,” Ray said.

Versatile facility

The new facility is equipped with a theater, small gymnasium, computer lab and gaming room, a tech room, art studio and music room as well as a homework and snack area.

Many teens expressed their favorite rooms were the gaming area and tech rooms. Xavier Branch, 16, said he is looking forward to using the new space.

“I think it has more potential for the rooms to be individual and separate so you can pick and choose what you really want to do,” Branch said, adding his favorite spaces are the gaming and homework area.

“The homework area is pretty quiet so I can focus more on the work I want to do,” Branch said.

Jaiden Soto, 11, said he enjoys the center because he is allowed more privileges at the new facility than the previous one.

“My favorite part is probably the game room, it’s got all types of consoles,” Soto said.

Branch and Soto look forward to learning more about all parts of the facility to explore new interests.

The wide variety of activities available to teens and the exposure to different potential interests at the facility are an important part of youth development, said Roudybush, who is particularly impressed with the tech room because the setup was close to what one would need to produce YouTube videos.

“They’ve almost got that here,” he said. “They have the green screen, they have the picture area, they can do video, but more importantly something cool that most places don’t have that they do here is the audio booth. So, it will allow the youth to go in there to experiment with and learn how to do audio. The great thing about that is if you’re into that thing and you like it, you can go into music, the gaming industry, television, you name it, sound is important.”

Michelle Taylor, supervisory program specialist at CYS, said she is impressed with the facility because in addition to the variety of rooms and different purposes, there are clubs youth can participate in.

“We have lots of clubs, we have keystone, we have military youth of the year, the gardening club, a journalism club, a photography club. We have all of these here,” Taylor said. “I really like this place because it encompasses a safe place for kids. I wish I’d had something like this growing up.”

If you go

Programming at the new Bastogne Teen Center is free, and is open to youth attending middle school through grade 12 who are registered with Parent Central Services. Snacks are provided after school and dinner is served at 5 p.m. It is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday during the regular school year, with youth being able to enter the facility at 2:30 p.m. on regular school days, and 1 p.m. on days school is not in session.

Parents can register their military affiliated youth at Parent Central Services. Once registration is completed, youth must attend an orientation at the teen center.