I grew up in Salida, Colo surrounded by majestic mountains, located only 20 miles from Monarch Ski Area on the Arkansas River with three hot springs swimming pools within a 15 mile radius. It had a bowling alley, movie theater, and stunningly beautiful golf course. We also had an ice skating rink open about three weeks per year.
The only problem with Salida, when I was a teenager, was there was “nothing to do.” Of course, I was discounting the bus taken to ski area by the school with discount passes, and all of the other outdoor activities.
In our deprivation, all we could do is cruise the main street aka F Street. True story. Some teens felt a need to party at Fonzer’s pond. Not me, however, I was upstairs in my bedroom reading my Bible.
My sophomore year, my class had, HAD, HAD to raise funds for a juke box in the study hall. Five years later, my sister’s class had it removed because nobody used it.
By gosh, we wished we could move to Denver where they had fun stuff.
My next stop was York, Neb. Thinking I was in college and would be involved in a whirlwind of activities, I was excited to leave Salida. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do in York, Neb., just ask anybody who went to school there.
My sophomore year, a former York student installed a miniature golf course right below my dorm window for us college students. I saw maybe five people a week use it, but I don’t know for sure as I never went. It was removed a few years later because nobody used it.
My trek included a couple years in Arkansas, Tucson, Ariz., Wichita and finally Great Bend.
It is so sad there is nothing to do in any of those places.
Our new reporter, Veronica Coons, grew up in Denver. She said that all of the teens thought -there was nothing to do in Denver. She’d never been to a concert at Red Rocks, only went to Elitches once per year, nor did she have money to do much. She thought Boston would be cool.
Boston would have intellectuals, plays and concerts that they didn’t have in a cowtown like Denver. Plus, there is usually a long drive to any activity.
So she moved to Boston. She found out that it took money to do all of those things, and she had to work to pay for them.
She eventually moved back to Denver and found some things to do. She had picnics with her friends, got involved in free activities with the library and used her imagination.
In fact, the Hutchinson News carried a story this week about teens in Hutchinson complaining that there was nothing to do.
What is there to do in Great Bend besides running around the discount store and drink? We have a movie theater, golf, miniature golf, bowling alley, parks and zoos, and all kinds of outdoor activities. There are tons and tons of volunteer jobs that need filling to make this a better place, and of course, Cheyenne Bottoms or take the short drive to Lake Wilson.
Aa ha! Perhaps there is an answer to the apparently universal question.
You could cook a creative meal and invited friends over to eat and play cards. You can ride bikes. You definitely can see local plays and concerts for a reasonable price. There are many free programs at the library and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center.
Churches have all kinds of free activities. Plus, there is always cleaning, yard work or gardening.
By the time I moved to Tucson, I realized it was up to me to find things to do. Mostly, we went for picnics in the desert during the winter and had friends over to play cards.
It was too hot in the summer to do much but go for walks after dark. That was always an adventure since there are few to no street lights in Tucson. It is, however, mosquito free.
I have learned that each and every place has its advantages and disadvantages, and the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
By looking closely, you will find something to do-if you use your imagination.