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Take a break from winter or spring break

February 20, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Kayla Latouf and Matt Schira, both 15 and of Rochester Hills, play pool at the First Congregational Church UCC in Rochester this past summer at a weekly event sponsored by the church, Rochester/Auburn Hills Community Coalition and Rochester America’s Pride for youth in grades six through 12.

Nancy Morrison, executive director for the Troy Community Coalition, knows a thing or two about finding activities that teens and tweens enjoy.

Since 2005, the coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a lifestyle free from abuse of alcohol and drugs, has teamed up with businesses to offer teens and pre-teens who are in town over spring break safe and fun activities at discounted rates. 

In addition to gauging the popularity of events from attendance, each year the group asks the kids what they liked and what they didn’t like.

“Laser tag is a hit,” Morrison said. The coalition sponsors an overnight event at Laser Quest on John R in Madison Heights, and the venue will offer an overnighter open to all on Feb. 23. For information, call (248) 616-9292.

“Basketball and dodge ball at the Troy Community Center is also popular with boys and girls,” Morrison added.

Taking the teens’ suggestions, the group added a coupon for Painted Pot in Rochester to the array of activities, which Morrison said was also a hit.

However, a cooking class offered at a local church — not so much, Morrison said.

“Look for group activities the kids can bring their friends or cousins to,” Morrison said. She said many local churches offer sponsor activities for youth, not with the thought to recruit new parishioners but to offer teens and tweens a safe environment where they can have fun.

Staff at the Painted Pot at 421 Walnut in Rochester are there to help at the paint-it-yourself studio as much or as little as needed, owner Gina Homant said. The staff will offer first-timers ideas how to paint the items.

“No reservations are needed, but we do ask that that you give us a call in advance for groups larger than six,” Homant said. Call (248) 652-8255 for information.

Also many libraries, community centers and Boys & Girls Clubs will offer programs geared toward teens and tweens during school breaks. It’s best to check in advance to see if membership or reservations are needed to participate.

Cultural venues, such as the Detroit Historical Museum, at 5401 Woodward in Detroit’s Cultural Center, which reopened to the public this past November, offer another way for youth to have fun during the break. Bob Sadler, director of public relations for the Detroit Historical Museum, said that the Allesee Gallery of Culture and the Kid Rock Music Lab have been very popular.

The Allesee Gallery features iconic artifacts from the Detroit area, such as a set of letters from Tiger Stadium, a giant statue of Little Caesar, a sweater from Detroit Red Wings hockey great Gordie Howe, a guitar from Bob Seger and other items that span local culture from 1900 to 2000.

“The Kid Rock Music Lab is a new musical exhibit that explores a century of musical history in Detroit,” Sadler said. The interactive exhibit spans Detroit music, from gospel to Motown, to all things in between.

“Bring the kids down. It’s free all the time,” Sadler said. For information on the Detroit Historical Museum, visit www.detroit or call (313) 833-1805.

Tweens crazy for Legos may enjoy dropping in on the Robot Garage at 637 Eton in Birmingham. In addition, the Robot Garage offers a robust robotics program and camps.

“We tend to be a great resource for families to stay in town for spring and winter break,” Robot Garage owner Sarah Jacobs said.  For information about the Robot Garage, visit or call (248) 346-3399.

About the author

Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.


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