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Youth center opening in Copley

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Light Teen Center will include a 20-by-18-foot patio area with a fire pit that a local Boy Scout constructed as part of his Eagle project.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Smith
COPLEY — A group of local churches headed up by St. Luke’s Ministries have responded to a call for a place for teenagers to gather.

The Light Teen Center is a new teen recreation site located in a 4,000-square-foot building on 5 acres behind St. Luke’s at 3810 Ridgewood Road.

Youth Pastor Jerry Smith said the center will host a Fifth Quarter Party following the Nov. 1 Copley-Revere high schools football game until 11:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes refreshments and entertainment from bands and a DJ.

St. Luke’s, Montrose Zion United Methodist Church, West Hill Baptist Church, Lakeside Christian Church and The Vine Fellowship are hosting the event, which Smith said is a preview for what he hopes will be regular events at the center starting after the first of the year.

Work toward opening the site has been happening for about 10 months, he added.

Several months ago, Smith attended a meeting with other local church representatives and Copley township and Copley-Fairlawn City Schools officials. Reaction to the plans for the youth center were positive, he said.

“At the end of the meeting in a Q and A, it was brought up so many times that we need more for the youth,” he said.

Smith said the center is a project of St. Luke’s, but the senior pastor and youth pastor from The Vine Fellowship have also assisted in construction. In the future, other church groups may be able to use the site for their youth programming, he said.

For now, Smith is hoping to start regular programming one or two nights a week in the new year and eventually host activities five or six nights a week.

The center will have a half-court gymnasium, a “garage band” area with a stage and garage doors that open to the outside and a café area. Outside is a 20-by-18-foot patio area with a fire pit that a local Boy Scout constructed as part of his Eagle project.

The building also will have a large game room with pool tables, air hockey and foosball, with the eventual addition of flat-screen TVs with video game systems. An area called The Big Room will have enough seating for 75 people and will allow the center to use one wall to project movies or sports events.

In addition, there will be an art lounge featuring a wall covered in chalkboard paint that will allow young artists to get creative. The room also will have drawing tables and cork strips so artists can pin their work up.

“Everywhere else will be wild and crazy, but this will be a place for kids to relax,” Smith said of the room.

The center will be open to youths ages 13 to 18 and still in high school from throughout the Akron area, not just Copley, Smith said.

“Anyone can come,” he said.

The next big event he’s hoping to host is a Super Bowl party, Smith added.

For more information, call St. Luke’s at 330-665-2227 or go to The Light Teen Center on Facebook.

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