Nothing to do around here.
Too many unsupervised kids running around.
The first is the complaint of young people in Sandusky, just as it has been the complaint of children since time immemorial.
The second is one of the chief complaints of people responding to the most recent survey of Sandusky residents.
And the city is addressing the problem. City Commissioner Dave Waddington is hosting talks with people around town, trying to find things for kids to do.
Good goal, that. Finding ways to make young people want to stick around is a good thing for Sandusky to do.
But let us add to that a challenge.
What was the last supremely successful effort to find kids something to do? Hint: It involved the kids getting involved, on their own, in something they could drive themselves.
It was the skateboard park behind the city building.
We dared them to do it. They did it.
It started with a young person’s offhand comment that it didn’t matter what the city built in the way of a skateboard park, because kids would be bored with it pretty quick. Some folks, including this newspaper, had an issue with that; our editorial wondered, pointedly, what made those kids think the city owed them a play toy, especially with that attitude.
The response? The kids, and a few former kids, got together, raised the money and got a skate park built behind the city building. With some incentive and a little semi-official disapproval (and anyone who was once a kid knows it’s important to unsettle the grownups, just a little), they got the job done.
The irony? When some other kids started practicing with freestyle bicycles on the skate ramps (which, we are given to understand, damages the skate ramps), the kids who got the ramp built took exception. See, there was a sense of ownership involved: I built this, don’t you go wrecking it.
So here’s our challenge: Let’s not only find things for kids to do. Let’s find things (and let’s have the young people find things) in which they can get involved and have a say.
It can be something new, as was the skate park; it can be kids showing up with something to say about what’s already going on in town.
Who knows? We might get some fresh ideas. We need ’em.
And we might convince the best and brightest of tomorrow’s generation it’s worth their while to stick around.