Time to keep promises


When a community has as many as 150 kids going to a youth center on a Friday afternoon, many just looking for something to eat, the community has an issue that needs attention.

When the director of that youth center announces the closing of the center, the problem grows exponentially.

This isn’t the first time a center with the purpose of serving this community’s youth has closed.

Guch Yamaguchi started the first teen center in Pagosa Springs. He also organized teen dances at the local VFW.

Survey results in 1996 by the University of Colorado’s Office of Community Service showed Pagosa Springs needed more recreation facilities, especially for kids, and a teen center, among other things.

In March of 2001, results from a parks and recreation survey indicated there were several needs in the community, including a teen center and after-school programs.

“We’re in the process of planning more teen events and an after-school program,” said Douglas Call, then director of parks and recreation. He indicated that the Community Center project, with a completion date set sometime in 2002, would include a teen center.

Donors were promised there would be a teen center housed in the Community Center when it was constructed. Many gave generously to the cause, knowing the importance of having such a center for our youth. Businesses and families donated $345,000 and 5,672 hours of work; Colorado foundations gave close to $500,000; the private land value donation came to about $600,000.