The Youth Center is for any students in grades 5-8 living in the Plymouth School District, including students who attend parochial schools or are homeschooled. Located next to Riverview Middle School, the center is open after school until 5 p.m. on regular school days with at least one adult present at all times. The center is closed on non-school days; many students participate in Fantastic Fridays. The membership fee is $50 per year.
The Youth Center is not childcare, but a safe place for students to be after school with adult supervision. Students check in as they arrive and then are allowed to come and go as they please. Many come sporadically -- after another school activity, on days when they need to stay in town for a practice, etc. -- and some come every day. Some students will walk home on their own at 5 pm. Some go back to Riverview and wait in the foyer for their ride.
We see our role as an assistant to parents and guardians as students venture into a time of more freedom. We emphasize empathy, personal responsibility, acceptance of others and respect. Community Ed & Rec staff and instructors provide a daily enrichment program for interested students, including simple meals, relaxation, recreation, team building and crafts. These activities are optional, and the Youth Center also is a safe place to hang out with friends, or to play games including pool, ping pong and foosball.
Food is often provided as part of the programming, and healthy snacks are available for purchase. We do not have any candy or soda. We also recognize that students have a variety of needs at the end of the school day and we try to provide quiet areas for homework or conversation. We like to end the week with “Movie and Popcorn.”
There are 2 adults and one high school student at the Youth Center until at least 4 p.m. when it is very busy. Denise Roth, the Youth Center coordinator, who teaches in our district and has 20-plus years of experience. She also has taught our Home Alone and Babysitting classes for more than 20 years. Kathryn Murray, Community Ed & Rec director, and Laura Grunwald, garden co-coordinator, also assist at the Youth Center.