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Afterschool to the extreme

Teen center offers Rocklin youth an outlet for their afternoon energy
By: Susan Belknap, Placer Herald Editor
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Finding a fun place for teens to hang out after school is a challenge. Kids want to be entertained and be where their friends are. Parents want them to be safe. Enter Station Xtreme, the city of Rocklin’s answer to afternoon doldrums for the teenage set. “This program has been so successful, we now have about 500 Rocklin junior high school kids registered,” said Bill McEnroe, one of the program’s founders. According to McEnroe, the idea to form a teen center came about 10 years ago with a discussion McEnroe had with a few friends. “We decided to make it a partnership between the city and the school district,” McEnroe said. “We have doubled its size since we began in a double-wide trailer unit. I think it’s because of this program that Rocklin doesn’t have severe gang problems.” McEnroe said he believes the success of the two teen centers, located on the campuses of Granite Oaks and Spring View middle schools, is due to the fact that the people running the centers on a day-to-day basis are able to communicate with the kids. “As founders, we raise the money they need to run things and we leave the actual running of the centers with the city,” McEnroe said. “They have found people who work there in their twenties who can identify with the younger crowd.” Those people include coordinator Chris Myer and assistant coordinators Ryan Burns and Kevin Huntzinger. Huntzinger works at the Spring View location where he said 15-40 kids show up on any given day. “There’s lots to do here,” Huntzinger said. “We’ve got a game room with a video arcade and we recently received a full drum set and two guitars so kids can play music.” Seventh-grader Matt Munoz was doing just that on a recent Tuesday afternoon. Munoz said he is trying to learn the bass guitar. “I like to play music that is high pitched,” he said. “Anything with an echo sound.” Tyler Nutt, 13, prefers to spend his time at the Spring View Center watching a movie or playing games at the PlayStation console. But not all activities take place inside the center. Huntzinger said when the weather is nice, there’s always a group outside playing a variety of games and sports. Funds for the center come from donations as well as fundraising events such as Toast of the Town, an annual wine tasting and art show sponsored by the city that recently took place at Rocklin’s Sunset Center. “The Toast of the Town was a big success,” said Mark Riemer, city of Rocklin Parks and Recreation director. “In these tough economic times, I have to say we were very pleased with the big turnout. The community did come to support this important fundraiser.” According to Linda Arcuri, marketing specialist with the city, Toast of the Town raised $15,000 for the city of Rocklin’s teen trust fund. Arcuri said 21 wineries and 30 chefs participated along with every Rocklin City Council member. “We had about 300 people in attendance and were 95 percent sold out,” Arcuri said. The Station Xtreme centers are open throughout the school year from 3:15-5:30 p.m. Rocklin teens in grades 7 and 8 can participate in the center’s activities, which include pool, video games, sports, snacks and mentoring. A $30 fee is required at the time of registration and is good for the whole year. In addition to the activities that take place at the two centers, Huntzinger said there are also organized activities such as field trips taken in the summer months and five dances each year that are held at the Rocklin Sunset Center. “We try to do these extra things,” Huntzinger said. “I think the centers are important to have for the kids because they provide a safe place to the teens to go. They’re here doing safe things and not getting into trouble. They seem to always have a good time.” For more information call 625-5200.