Our View: Craig, teens and options

"There's nothing to do in Craig."

The City Council should consider adopting this as the town motto, considering how often it's used to describe the lack of activities for young people.

But is it true?

The closing of the Frontlines coffee shop seems to confirm that a gathering place for teens is sorely needed. The New Creation Church, which ran the popular hangout, became overwhelmed trying to staff the weekend get-togethers.

Frontlines organizers and police officers say the throngs of teens who gathered there created a few problems. Neighboring businesses and passers-by complained about the crowds and litter, including drug paraphernalia.

Jason Haskell, pastor of the church that ran Frontlines, said more and more troublemakers were ruining everybody else's good time.

Police Chief Walt Vanatta said he was disappointed with the shop's closing because it provided a valuable service to youths who were looking for something to do.

We agree that providing a safe place for teens to congregate is a good idea. Young people don't seem to be looking for "something to do" as much as they want a place to socialize and interact with their peers.

Unfortunately, in the absence of a safe haven, they often mill about in parking lots or in fields. Alcohol often is a factor. In a recent letter to the editor, Deputy Sgt. Rick Holford of the Moffat County Sheriff's Office was amazed to discover no alcohol while investigating one of these rural parties during graduation weekend.

There is hope that the Boys and Girls Club of Craig can fill part of the void left by the Frontlines closure. But we remind readers that the responsibility for the safety and well-being of Craig's young people lies with parents, not with community service groups, churches or the police.

Instead of asking whether Craig's young people need a place to hang out, we should be asking, why are so many young people out at questionable hours doing questionable things?

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