Now that school is back in session, teenagers may be looking for some new after-school activities to unleash their athletic and creative energies after a long day. Tumbleweed Recreation Center offers a few action-packed venues that can satisfy teens' craving for interactive games and pickup sports.
First there is the Game Pod, a wall-to-wall arcade of video games and "exergaming" opportunities ranging from Nintendo Wii's Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games to the ever-popular Dance Dance Revolution to the classic basketball "pop-a-shot" timed competition. The Pod's diverse collection of Play Station 2 and Wii games can accommodate a variety of interests. Dance Dance Revolution is also used during family night activities on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There is a schedule at www.chandleraz.gov/tumbleweed.
Next door is the Hay Loft, the ultimate teen lounge complete with air hockey, foosball, Play Station 3, featuring Rock Band, Guitar Hero, NBA Live or NCAA Football, a computer lab and an assortment of magazines. There is a stage for karaoke during youth birthday parties on the weekends. Teens can use the Internet or do homework on the computer with a Chandler Public Library card. A source of pride for local youth are the Chandler Unified School District junior high and high school logo murals on the walls.
TRC has a new program called "Points 4 Pizza," a monthlong competition among three Chandler junior high schools - San Tan, Willis and Andersen. Each week, there is a designated game, and every day that teens play and earn the highest score, they earn points for their school. Teens also receive points for participating in the games. On the first Friday of the following month, the TRC provides a pizza party for the participants of the winning school during their lunch hour.
Teens and youth 8 years and older can also head into the West Gymnasium for open sports, including volleyball, basketball and dodgeball, that run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. All three teen areas are open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a $3 drop-in fee ($4 for nonresidents; 480-782-2900).
Teen rec sites
Chandler Recreation teen satellite sites - Andersen, Willis and Santan junior high schools - are also back in action with activities, sports, music and field trips Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Each site has a Teen Council that helps plan the activities, and they are always looking for new members. There also is open gym on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Teens don't have to attend one of these schools to participate in the programs. For more information, call (480) 782-2727 or visit www.chandleraz.gov/teens.
Green teens at EEC
The Environmental Education Center can help teens learn more about the great outdoors by planning and implementing their own nature-based community service projects. There are volunteer opportunities for teens at EEC special events and classes as well as options to complete science projects or Boy Scouts Eagle badge requirements. The EEC and Santan recreation site are hosting a "Teens Take a Hike," a three-mile outing in the Superstition Mountains on Nov. 21 from 7 a.m. to noon for $5. Call (480) 782-2890 or visit www.chandleraz.gov/veterans-oasis for more details.
Mayor's Youth Commission
At last week's Day of Play event at Tumbleweed Park, the Chandler Mayor's Youth Commission sold concessions to raise funds for its community outreach programs, including its annual holiday "Adopt-A-Family" project. The youth commission is an advisory group to the mayor and City Council. Its main objectives are to provide service to the community, develop personal leadership skills and give a voice to the youth of Chandler. High school students interested in applying can visit www.chandleraz.gov/teens or call (480) 782-2906.
Teens on 'Come Out & Play'
The next episode of Chandler Channel 11's "Come Out & Play" is scheduled to begin airing on Nov. 6 and will feature the new Boys & Girls Club, Unitown Camp and teen recreation programs. You can also view the show online at www.chandleraz.gov by clicking on the Channel 11 section.
Unitown camp recap
The Chandler Recreation staff thanks the 68 teens who attended this year's Unitown Camp in Prescott during the fall school intersession break. They did a great job learning new leadership skills, making new friends and developing diversity understanding and respect for each other.
Winter Break Time available
To prepare for the excitement of the holiday season, the winter Break Time outlining all classes, activities and events is now available at city facilities, libraries and recreation centers and at www.chandleraz.gov/breaktime. Resident registration starts Nov. 7 (nonresident starts Nov. 13).
The Halloween Spooktacular will be at the Downtown Chandler Library Courtyard on Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Join in on the costume party for a safe and fun trick-or-treating atmosphere that includes a costume contest, haunted house and games. There is a $2 admission for everyone younger than 15. For more information, call (480) 782-2727.
Chandler Golf Challenge
There are still individual and team openings for the Chandler Golf Challenge at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at Bear Creek Golf Complex. The tournament benefits people with disabilities in Chandler by offering educational scholarships and supporting Special Olympics programs. For an application, visit www.chandleraz.gov/therapeutic or call (480) 782-2709.
For latest information
The Recreation Division distributes a monthly e-newsletter available for opt-in registration at www.chandleraz.gov/listserv.html. You can also follow @ChandlerRec on Twitter for the latest program and event information. For more information, call (480) 782-2727.
Liam O'Mahony is an information specialist with Chandler's Community Services Department. His recreation column is published Sundays in the Chandler Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.