As One Door Closes, Another Opens: Los Alamos Teen Center Moves Into New Facility Next Week

Los Alamos Teen Center Director Sylvan Argo and Assistant Director Gearge Marsden gleefully accept keys Monday to the new Teen Center. Courtesy photo

 

By SYLVAN ARGO, Director
Los Alamos Teen Center

LATC Director Sylvan Argo and Assistant Director Gearge Marsden jump for joy Monday when receiving the keys to the new Teen Center. Courtesy photo

Life is full of transition, changes, and new experiences that offer opportunities for growth. Thursday many of our kids had their first day of school – facebook has been flooded with proud parents sharing “first day” photos of shy kindergarteners, or excited 5th graders reuniting with friends.

Other kids changed schools, transitioning to middle or high school. Our seniors began their last year in high school. And for some teens, it was their first day of school without their college-bound friends at their side.

For Los Alamos Teen Center, yesterday was a bittersweet reunion with our teen members in a space that has been our home since 2011 – and the countdown has begun to today, when we close our doors for good in that facility at 11 p.m. This coming week is a period of growth, transition, and new beginnings as we prepare to open our doors to our new facility in the remodeled Community Building in the heart of Los Alamos’ downtown. Our doors officially open in our new space at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 at 475 20th St.

“I came to the Teen Center as a freshman back in one of the first years it was open,” recalls Eric Larson, recent Los Alamos High School graduate, as he spoke Aug. 5 at a farewell concert to the current space. “When I first came here I was dragged with friends, and I wasn’t expecting this to be as much of an impact as it has been on my life,” Larson said. “Throughout the years it was one of the places I could depend on to be there for me. I have a lot of great memories here, and as sad as it is for us to be leaving this place, it is happy that we are finally moving to a place we talked about when I was a freshman.”

This past week has been a flurry of moving, with teens and adult volunteers stepping up to the challenges of packing up boxes of supplies and equipment in our old space, and helping move an eclectic assortment of stuff in multiple truckloads over a whirlwind two days, in addition to assembling furniture in our new space.

A few of the older teens that helped us move are recent grads from the past couple years that were a part of the early stages in the planning and development process; they kept shaking their heads in amazement at the expansive new, purpose-built rooms and program spaces, asking “Can I just come back and be a teen again?”

The awe and anticipation in the faces and exclamations of the younger teen volunteers is heartening, and we look forward to sharing the excitement and joy of the new space with all of our teen members this coming week.

Some upcoming dates to remember:

  • Monday Aug. 17 – Wednesday Aug. 19: Teen Center is CLOSED to finalize move to new space.
  • Thursday Aug. 20 – New Teen Center opens 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 475 20th St.
  • Friday Aug. 21 New Teen Center opens 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. with public tours 5-8 p.m. for adults and kids. Teens will hold a concert/jam session 5-7 p.m. in the music performance space. 
  • Week of Aug. 24 Taste-testers of all Teen Center programs and clubs. Check out the Teen Center website or Facebook page for the most up-to-date event and program information. Lots of games, prizes and special activities to come!
  • Ongoing through September – we’ll be holding special opening events in afternoons, evenings and weekends. Activities and events include: 5th Quarters, Waffle-palooza, a multi-cultural movie night (hosted by our Global Teens program), BBQs, lawn games, welcome concerts, jam sessions and open mic nights, Safe Homecoming pre/post dance activities, and more.
  • Oct. 2, 4 p.m. – Los Alamos Teen Center GRAND OPENING. More info to come!

As the Teen Center gears up for the big move to the new facility, program planning for new offerings as well as current program expansions are underway. If you’d like to be a part of the ongoing conversation or want to share your ideas for teen programs, contact Teen Center Director Sylvan Argo at sargo@laymca.org. We are still in process with setting up our phone lines at the new facility, and will be posting those new numbers soon.

LATC is operationally funded by Los Alamos County and is FREE and open to youth attending Los Alamos High School and home schoolers. Additionally, we have a myriad other project partners and donors that help make our programs possible.

Hours: Monday-Thursday  10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Saturday 1-11 p.m.

LATC has various enrichment programs, activities, events and trainings offered free to teens, in addition to youth-led projects with opportunities for teens to receive stipends.

Los Alamos County Project Manager Wayne Kohlrust for the LATC project. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman

Reception area in the new Los Alamos Teen Center. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman

Main room of the new Los Alamos Teen Center. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman

Kitchen area of new Los Alamos Teen Center. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman

New cupboards, sink and counter in the new Los Alamos Teen Center. Photo by Jocelyn Chapman

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