Loud hip-hop blasted as teens of all ages stood in line to enter the Teen Dive-In at the Carl Levin Park pool last Friday night.
The annual event, hosted by the city of Harker Heights, drew about 40 teens for a night of fun, dancing and splashing under the guidance of Rose Ramon, Stewart C. Meyer Library clerk.
With free food, a DJ and an entrance fee of $3 for non-residents and $2 for residents, Teen Dive In was the place to be. The library even offered programs to help with the entrance fee.
“We had a teen end-of-the-school-year party where 254 teens came ... we handed out pool passes and if those teens brought the passes tonight, they got in free,” Ramon said, noting that 12 passes were redeemed Friday.
Nichole Broemer, recreation events coordinator, said the Dive In and the pool provide kids with “a safe environment for them to enjoy the summer with their friends.”
Lifeguard James Mataska, 19, has worked at the pool for two summers. While he enjoys the relaxed atmosphere of Teen Dive-In, where everyone seems to know the rules, he thinks more could be done to improve the event.
In the future, he’d like to see the pool area enhanced with glow sticks and disco lights for a fun atmosphere. He also suggested ways to draw a larger crowd.
“Advertise it a lot more so more people will come. ... Like on social media,” Mataska said.
Harker Heights High School students Christopher Flowers, 15, Javier Teague, 15, and their friend Ryan Middleton, 13, from Union Grove Middle School, agreed that social media could be utilized more.
Ramon said she welcomes feedback from teens. Ideas to improve and enhance city-sponsored activities can be called in to the library or submitted in person during normal business hours.
“We need ideas on what the teens want to do: Feedback, participation, where their other interests lie,” she said.
Broehmer said suggestions are often successful.
“The Harker Heights High School ‘Music in the Park’ program started as a volunteer suggestion,” she said.
For more information or to send suggestions and ideas, call the library at (254) 953-5491.