A Virtual Clubhouse
Teen Scene—an online community for Monterey youth—looks for ambitious kids (and a new name).
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Sarah Glassett, a computer programming student at CSUMB, has a plan—and a prototype—for a Peninsula-wide, teen-oriented Web site.
“I want to give them the resources they need to deal with everyday pressures,” she says, “like how to survive your freshman year, where to find college scholarships, and how to get your driver’s license. I want to include what’s hot right now—like music—plus volunteer opportunities, activities, church youth group meetings, and a map of teen-friendly places.”
Now all she needs is a few dedicated teens.
“That has been my biggest challenge,” Glassett says, “to find teens who really want to be involved in this and aren’t being pushed into it by parents, or other groups.”
Glassett’s trying to recruit a core group of eight to 10 teens who have the time and the commitment to meet about once a week between now and October to further develop the site.
“Our main goal is to get a wide range of teens from different backgrounds and ethnicities,” she says, “A core group who will be active participants. Maybe help with the how to’s.” And to think of a new name.
It seems everyone agrees that the Web site’s working title, “Teen Scene,” is a little lacking in hipness.
I met Glassett at Starbucks in downtown Monterey. She’s about to begin her summer job as a tech ranger at the Naval Postgraduate School, where she’ll work on bringing NPS classes online. She’ll graduate from CSUMB in December. She’s 22, and originally from Santa Rosa.
“This is why I wanted to do this,” she says about the teen Web site. “I’m not a local resident. I wanted to make it something useful. I wanted to leave a footprint.
“As far as what there is to do around here, teens really don’t have a way to find it all in one place.”
Glassett says she first got the idea about a year ago in a Web design class, where each student worked with the city of Monterey to develop a teen Web site.
“Out of the class, they chose my site,” Glassett says. “But I wanted to take it further. From then on, I’ve been trying to get teens involved.”
“Sarah’s project was chosen because it was very dynamic,” says community resources coordinator Tish Sammon.
Part of Sammon’s job involves running a volunteer program for the city, open to youth ages 13 and up, aptly named “Volunteens.” About two years ago, the group created a Web site for the program. Sammon’s hoping some of the same students will help out with the new Teen Scene Web site.
“Honestly, every teen hates the name,” she says. “But again, it has been primarily non-teens who came up with this. If it’s for them, we need to engage them.”
The site prototype tells visitors: “There’s a lot to do on the Peninsula! Click away!” and includes links to museums, youth centers, the farmers’ market, movie times, plays and special events, as well as links to hotlines, jobs, and volunteer opportunities.
Soon, Glassett hopes to see the “speak up” page on the site evolve to include original poetry, music, photos and art by local teens. “But that would require maintenance and screening for content—that’s something I would hand over to a teen, to work with and maintain,” she says. “The photography, the clip art—I would like all of that to be teen-generated.”
Mack Zalin, who’s 16 and will be a senior at York School in the fall, volunteers for the city during his summer vacation, and is one of two high schoolers who designed the Volunteen site. He says he recently learned about the prototype designed by Glassett.
“I’m really excited about it,” he says. “I’d really like to follow though with this project.”
He says he’d like to see more how to’s on the site: “How to survive high school, how to get a job, how to become part of a professional field, and following through on the process of getting a job, which I know can be really hard. People encourage you to get a job, but it’s a lot more difficult than that.”
Glassett is also incorporating the Web site into her Capstone, a senior project required for graduation at CSUMB. In December, she’ll present the finished Web site, along with a Flash-animated, computer-generated story about how it came to be, “so that the teens can get some recognition for their involvement.”
Now if only she can find a few good teens.
To get involved with the Monterey Teen Scene Web site project, e-mail Sarah Glassett at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Tish Sammon at 646-3719.