Councilwoman Encourages Teen Input


Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

Council woman Kathe Nelson acknowledges the problem Moraga has been facing for years: A lack of activities for teenagers. Though council member Dave Trotter has suggested the construction of a gym across from Moraga Commons park, Nelson believes that the city should implement something more appropriate for all teenagers and their interests.

“Kids are really busy and need something fun and relaxing. They need something to break away from [stress related activities],” Nelson said. “If there was something like organized events, hikes, movies, it would be one thing a month that everyone looks forward to.”

A few years ago, Rheem Theatre held a monthly youth dance, but due to financial floundering, the dances were cut. However, Nelson believes that Moraga youth should make their voices heard and request funding for community improvements that directly benefit teens. “The town budget is tight and Moraga is proud of the balance. With the increase of sales tax, the town is raising more money than anticipated and are using it for roads, sewage, et cetera. If there was a possible increase in money, kids could go to council and propose a budget for what they want,” Nelson said.

Nelson is hopeful that parents will rally in support of their teens as they have done in the past. “Campolindo choir was almost canceled a few years ago, and parents and students went to council, where they proposed money and saved the program,” Nelson said. “Parents behind [a proposition] will make the council more willing.”

According to Nelson, “Studies show that providing activities for teens helps prevent violence.” Nelson believes that an event for teenagers “is not for the welfare of the youth, but for the community.”

“NGO’s [Non-Governmental Organizations] are tough. There is supplement money for the school system. From the beginning, people need to start at a grass group level with parents, and kids involved,” Nelson said.

Though Dave Trotter advocates the construction of a community gym, Nelson said that another sport and fitness venue is not necessary. “We have gyms. You can use gyms that we have on weekends,” she explained.

“I want something that is not just dedicated to one thing. Something more varied and more attracted by teenagers,” Nelson said. “Something more to squeeze in better attractions. Personally, I don’t like video games but it should be used in a controlled environment with a limited amount of time for kids to play on. There needs to be something to get more people out and generate more activity.”

Nelson is considering the proposal of an amphitheater under the Painted Rocks. “If they built a facility under the Painted Rocks like an amphitheater it would be a place for high school drama plays and bands.  It’s not one thing that happens all the time and would be a big success.”

“If [kids] put together a suggestion box, we could find out what’s most important to them, what do people want and make it work,” Nelson stated, but also said that the town would still be limited by money and other factors.

“It’s called ‘Boraga’ for a reason,” said Nelson.