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Dance scheduled for Dickinson teens

After vandalism and underage drinking brought a string of teen dances to a halt at the end of 2005, area adolescents will have the chance to dance once more on Friday, July 2.

With collaboration and donations of a few residents, a dance open to students of Dickinson and Trinity high schools will be held at the Armory during Dickinson's Roughrider Days Fair & Expo.

"I think we are a good community and I think we need to show our kids that we do care about them and that we want to have something for them for these reasons," Safe Communities Coordinator Becky Byzewski said.

Once a person enters the dance, there will be no re-admittance.

On April 22, the Safe Communities Coalition hosted a Town Hall meeting that was slated to last an hour.

"That was a concern that kids are out drinking because they feel that they don't have a lot of activities to do," said Holly Praus, advisor for Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, during a May 3 City Commission meeting at City Hall.

Twenty-nine people, including 12 teenagers, showed up and after three hours of collective thinking about what is available to teenagers in the evenings and during the week, the group decided to move in a proactive direction.

"There really is nothing for them to do," Byzewski said. "Before that, we had done a focus group with youth and college students and a lot of the things that came out was, quite simply, that the kids are bored because there's nothing to do in this community."

During the Town Hall meeting, teens made sure their voices were heard.

"A lot of the teens spoke up and said that they felt that if we had more activities go on that kids would go to more of those functions than be out drinking," Praus said. "We're hoping we get a good turnout and we're hoping kids will enjoy it."

Dickinson residents have stepped forward and paid for rental of the facility as well as three security guards.

"We're hoping that the teenagers will take this dance to heart and it could mean dances in the future to them also," then-City Commissioner Shirley Dukart said at the May 3 meeting.

Past dances left concerns as there was inadequate security, underage drinking and vandalism, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said at the meeting.

"These aren't the same group of kids that were here four years ago," Byzewski said at the meeting. "This is their one-time chance, if it doesn't work, we won't be doing anything like this again."

More than security, volunteers are needed for the event.

"Now our biggest thing is hoping that we have adults in this community that care enough about these kids that can give three hours from 9 p.m. until midnight on July 2 to be there and help us monitor," Byzewski said.

Those interested in volunteering can contact Byzewski at 701-227-0131 or Dukart at 701-290-2283 prior to the event or show up at the Armory by 8:30 p.m., Friday, July 2, to help.

Dance size will be limited due to the size of the facility.

"We want this to be successful and hope that we can offer something for them again in the future," Byzewski said. "We're trying it. That's the best thing that we can do, is try."