Youth programs are available

youth programs In the wake of the recent tragic shooting incident that took a young man's life, it is good to see people talking, looking at what is available in the Valley for young people, and sharing ideas.
   It is true we are some distance from Redmond, Bellevue, and Issaquah, which are areas that offer activities for young people, and it is true that the Eastman-Rush Pool is not in our backyard yet. But there are organizations around that for decades have provided recreation, education, and a sense of community for young people.
   The Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts organization offers everything from learning how to build a soapbox derby car to outdoor survival skills. The Explorer Scout program is strong in the Valley with adult mentors supporting youth. The Lower Valley area has a variety of 4-H Clubs which are affiliated with the King or Snohomish County Extensions. 4-H Clubs activity can involve either large or smaller animals.
   There are also a number of programs that do not involve the ownership, care, and expense of an animal. Young people can participate in such programs as needlecraft, photography, natural resources, veterinary science, rockets, computers, and the list goes on. Cedarcrest High School has a long list of special interest clubs including an Art Club, Diversity Club, and organizations such as FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). Music, drama, and athletic programs through the school district provide after-school activities that are important part in the lives of many young people. A number of local churches have well-established youth groups with a variety of supervised activities available.
   While young people are engaged in any of these organizations, they are also learning about fundraising and budgeting money, making contributions for the betterment of the community, participating as a team player in the organization, developing leadership skills; and, they are having fun at the same time.
   I applaud the efforts to improve opportunities in the Valley, but I also think we can all do a better job of supporting the organizations already in place. As parents, we need to help with that fundraising event, agree to be a leader or co-leader, coach that Little League team, share carpooling with other parents, and get involved in the life of a church, all things that will strengthen and enhance our lives as well as our youth.

Kathy Crummer, Carnation