Teenager's Role

From Away: Teenager's Role

By Bill Roesing | Dec 13, 2010
Mallory Farley, Lexi Doudera, Amanda Walker, Hana Berk

Those of us who are “from away” can rather quickly fall prey to an oft expressed feeling  that the Camden area, and downtown in particular, has an arms-length relationship with the body of citizens known, with mixed affection, as “the teenagers.”

One parent of a local teenager explained the situation this way:  For many years, the high school was in town and the students were a familiar part of the local scene. Then the school moved out to Route 90 and most of the students essentially disappeared from Main and Elm streets. The ones who remained were frequently seen around the library or in parking lots round town. The group that was removed, particularly in the afternoons, included the athletes who were at practice, performers who were in rehearsals or lessons, and those students who sought extra tutoring.

It is hardly surprising that the image of high schoolers changed.

But lately, I hear of developments around town that create a different perception. Most of what is happening connects to two 2010 initiatives that should themselves be celebrated in this holiday season. If we keep an eye out for evidence of a blooming era of good feelings, we may see it all about us.

The first initiative is the Rig, the storefront clubhouse at 62 Elm initiated by a civic leader and a student who was recently celebrated by the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. It opened last spring after a trial run during the holidays last year.

The second is a high school group sponsored by the Camden and West Bay rotaries.  Several dozen students joined the Rotary International and locally sponsored service program called Interact.

I hope  that  Camdenites will find that evidence of a restored relationship among the generations can put all of us in quite a good holiday mood. For example, Zoots owner, Sandra Hamilton, welcomes middle school and high school students to her coffee shop as guests, or to hold informal meetings.

Consider these scenes along the Christmas by the Sea parade route of Friday evening:  The Rig hosted a reception for folks at the club house with music and food; in front of the Rig, the MidCoast Interact Club was building its float for the parade and getting ready to sell starfish ornaments in front of a local store along the route; and at the West Bay Rotary tree sale to help families in need, Camden Rockport Middle School Chorus were singing and selling its CD Simple Gifts to raise funds for their music programs.  The swim team was selling really good cookies to raise money for their program. The Maine Coast Skaters Association were offering raffle tickets for their program. The CHRHS Brass Quintet offered information about its availability to offer holiday music.

Sales seemed brisk with no threat to the real retailers.

As a fellow from away, I am thankful for Camden’s many contributions to my holiday spirit and the clearly growing role of teenagers throughout the town.

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