Tagging activity for youths | SteamboatToday.com

Tagging activity for youths

Oak Creek puts focus on its younger residents

Doug Crowl

— Though their lives can be inundated with hi-tech video game systems, flashy dirt bikes, millions of compact discs and thousands of channels on television and just plain hanging out, teenagers tend to repeat the same five words through the summer: “There is nothing to do.”

However, this summer young people in South Routt are having a little less time to say those five words, as the Oak Creek community pulls together to provide youth some, positive and fun activities.

One of the most successful activities of the summer was the South Routt Youth Council’s fishing tournament at Stagecoach Reservoir last month.

Oak Creek Police Officer Dave Miller, who volunteers for the youth council, helped organize the event, which featured prizes such as a Play Station II video game system and a mountain bike.

Thirty-eight boys and girls signed up for the week-long tournament won by Sam Wisecup.

“It went real well,” Miller said.

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Now Miller and the Youth Council, which is made up of teenagers from South Routt, are organizing a night tag game with similar prizes.

“We are really trying to get a lot more done,” Miller said of the work the council has been doing.

Night tag is all the rave in South Routt, Miller said. Everyone meets at Decker Park in Oak Creek around sundown to play a modified version of capture the flag or capture the ring.

Representatives from the youth council go in front of the Oak Creek Town Board to request a permit for use the park. It also allows the youth to stay out past the town’s curfew of 11 p.m for children 15 years of age and younger and midnight for 16-to-18-year-olds.

“They are getting pretty good at that,” Miller said of the official town actions that the children request.

Friday’s game will be a little bit different than games in the past. Members of the Oak Creek Police Department and the Oak Creek Fire District are volunteering to be the taggers, while the runners will collect glow sticks and run them to a base for points.

“There are really some nice prices for the winners,” Miller said.

Grand Futures, in Steamboat Springs, has donated about $1,000 to pay for prizes for the night tag game and the past fishing tournament, Miller said.

“It’s amazing, we’ve been able to take $1,000 and do such great activities with it,” Miller said.

He said he expects about 100 young people to show up at Decker Park for the game.

Meanwhile, activities at Oak Creek’s ice rink have been increasing, too.

Oak Creek resident Joni Blankenship organized a couple dances at the rink through the summer. The first one wasn’t well attended and last week’s dance brought about 15 people, she said.

“They were pretty content with rollerblading and riding their bikes,” she said, adding that no one really danced.

Blankenship organizes the dances by herself, using her own personal stereo. She said she would like to see more people come.

“I have talked to tons of teenagers and they say it’s cool,” she said. “But no one really has showed up.”

Blankenship advertises in the Happenings section of the Steamboat Today for the dances.

Along with allowing Blankenship to use the rink, this summer the town of Oak Creek also got into the act of providing some activity for the local children.

Last month Public Works Director Chuck Wisecup and his crew finished building a bicycle dirt track right behind the ice rink.

“It’s cool,” 14-year-old Raymond Trout said after riding his bike around the track. “There are kids down here everyday.”

Officer Miller said the track helps keep the bike riders off Colorado 131, running right through Oak Creek.

The town also recently received a land donation from Russ and Clay Garrity, which is estimated to be about nine acres just north of town. One of the conditions in the donation was that it had to be used for a non motorized recreational use.

Town Manager Ray Leibensperger said the Oak Creek Board of Trustees may find a way to use the land to provide some activity for young people.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206

or e-mail dcrowl@steamboatpilot.com.

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