Teen Center is ‘positive force’ in the community
Tucked into the basement of the Baker Community Center is a dedicated space for teens to socialize, to play games and to have fun, but most importantly: to be themselves.
Known as the STC Underground, teens have been flocking to this space since its inception in 2001. With more than 1,400 members and averaging 5,500 visits per year, teens enjoy the variety of programs tailored to their age group.
From in-house Minecraft and Smash Bros tournaments and trips to local arcades, to study nights, movie marathons, anime events and more, staff provide teens with a variety of activities to participate in a relaxed space, free of bullying and peer pressure. Even when there aren’t scheduled activities, teens are welcome to stop by to shoot pool, surf the internet or just catch up while lounging on comfy couches.
“The STC Underground is a safe environment and a dynamic space where teens can enjoy the company of their peers and feel like they are part of the community,” said Chris Holling, the newest Teen Recreation Supervisor.
The teen center offers free memberships to students ages 11-19 in middle or high school residing within the boundaries of St. Charles Community Unit School District 303.
The teen years can be tough, Holling said, as kids are trying to figure out where they belong and what they want to pursue in life.
“The STC Underground can be that guiding entity to nurture those interests and help them succeed. Through multiple opportunities and engagement, they learn respect and integrity while having fun,” he added.
Popular activities that bring teens together include regular gaming tournaments. This winter, they can look forward to Super Smash Bros tourneys from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.
Video game events will always be part of the regular programming, but Holling said it’s important that the teen center be more than a gaming destination. “We want our offerings to be diverse, catering to all interests and demographics,” he said.
“We strive to also incorporate the theatre and cultural arts into our programming, to engage the different areas of the brain to bring out creativity and imagination,” said Holling, who has a degree and working experience in the theatre arts.
This winter, the teen center is hosting a Bob Ross Painting Party on December 11 from 6-7pm, where teens will learn to create a masterpiece step-by-step. Fee to participate is only $30. Also in December, teens will enjoy holiday classics during the free month-long Holiday Movie Marathon program on Wednesday nights. Advance registration is required for both activities.
Throughout the school year, the center also holds study nights every Tuesday from 6-7:45 p.m. This is a dedicated time where teens can focus on their studies and then break for pizza and drinks.
Other regular programs include the weekly drop-in activities: Tasty Tuesdays from 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Bingo from 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays; Teen Trivia from 5-7 p.m. Thursdays; and karaoke from 7-9 p.m. Fridays.
“STC Underground is a positive force in the community, and I encourage all teens to take advantage of the welcoming space and programs to socialize and have fun with their friends,” Holling said.
To help continue teen center programs and maintenance of the facility, as well as provide supplies used by members, tax deductible donations are welcome.
STC Underground staff is adhering to CDC guidelines during the current pandemic.
For more information on teen center hours and programs, visit: https://stcunderground.com/