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Youth center envisioned for Warrensburg

Discussing ideas Nov. 19 for a new community-based youth center in Warrensburg — in front of a church building on Smith St. eyed as a site for the venue —  are (left to right): pastors Ron Allen, Nancy Barrow and Stephen Andrews.

Discussing ideas Nov. 19 for a new community-based youth center in Warrensburg — in front of a church building on Smith St. eyed as a site for the venue — are (left to right): pastors Ron Allen, Nancy Barrow and Stephen Andrews. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Allen, pastor of the Sodom Community Church in Sodom, said he had heard from his daughter-in-law Melissa Allen, that a youth center was sorely needed in town. She has children enrolled in Warrensburg’s schools.

“A center like this could keep kids off the streets, and give them someplace to go,” Ron Allen said Nov. 19, gesturing toward the freshly-painted church building.

Nancy Barrow viewed the church property and agreed.

“In today’s world, kids need more organized activities,” she said.

Andrews said the center could be equipped with ping-pong and foos-ball tables, and that the church building’s back yard could host a basketball court perhaps, and a volleyball court. he said he’d be seeking input from local youth — high school and middle school students — about what they’d like to have at the center.

“It’s important to tailor the space and programming to the needs and wants of the youth,” he said. “I want to contact the Warrensburg schools, talk with the students, and go from there.”

For the center to be embraced by teenagers and pre-teens, they should be involved in its formation, he added.

“I’d like to get youth to help steer this center in the right direction,” he said, noting that such a “buy-in” was crucial to a youth center’s success.

The space at the church building is flexible, as there are no pews. It also features a side room and a full kitchen — which Andrews said would be useful for preparing nutritious mid-afternoon snacks. Andrews added that he would be seeking inspection certification of the kitchen by the state Health Department, and that he was contacting the Warren County Building Codes office to have them inspect the structure and obtain the appropriate permit.

Geraghty said he was impressed with the concept as well as the dedication of the pastors to accomplish their vision.

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