On May 18th the Matlacha Community Center hosted the first Youth Meeting. In attendance were 12 young people, 6 parents, 2 residents with grown kids and 3 county employees plus Tonya Player the organizer of this session.
Tonya started off by asking them how old they were. The ages seemed to range from 13 to 20 years old. Tonya then asked, “What do you and your friends do on Pine Island after school?” They all said in unison, “There is nothing to do.” They said they mostly stay home and sit in front of their computers or play computer games. Some of the boys said they use to play basketball in front of the fire station at the center until they were asked to leave because of liability issues. The boys said, “The only other Basketball court is located at Pine Island Elementary School." One young man said, “They have a beautiful court, which is in locked down when school is not in session and during the summer months. There is also a nice court at the Matlacha Park, which most kids cannot get to."
Joe DeBacker, Senior Supervisor from Lee County Parks and Rec said He is trying to get a hoop setup at the center park, in the pool parking lot. In addition he said he will try to have it up by the time the kids get out of school. This would not be a full court just a pole and hoop, but it is a start. All the young people thought that would be a great idea and look forward to being able to play basketball again. A commitment was made that maybe by next year they could add another hoop so they could play a real game of basketball.
The kids talked about other activities they would like to do or see on Pine Island. Some suggestions were, maybe a monthly movie trip, bowling and skating trip anything.
Parks & Rec offered to host an Open Recreation Night at Matlacha Community Center on June 17th, from 6:00-10:00. There will be drinks and pizza for all who attend.
The group had talked about having a dance at the Matlacha Community Center, which opened the floor up for a lot of discussion because during the summer months they offer summer camp so the building will not be available for other activities. In addition they would have to have the Lee County Parks and Rec approve the music played at the center. All activities on county property have to be approved by the county before approval is given.
The group is meeting next Thursday May 27th, at 6:30 under the pavilion at Phillips Park. Anyone interested (teens or concerned adults) should attend