Keeping the youth busy this summer

The local Juvenile Department hosts Youth DIY & Craft, giving kids an outlet for creative energy

Searching for a way to keep your artistic middle or high schoolers busy this summer?

The Crook County Juvenile Department has planned the Youth DIY & Craft Summer Program 2016 as a way to keep local youths active this summer with several free do-it-yourself events.

Jill Bonanno, a counselor for the Crook County Juvenile Department, said they’re pulling hands-on art project ideas off of Pinterest and from other sources. Additionally, the program will offer teamwork skills and outdoor skills as youth design, create and are challenged in self-confidence and leadership.

Youth DIY & Craft Summer Program 2016 and activities are offered at no-cost to middle and high school-aged youth.

Bonanno has found that in working with youth and families, parents often desire to enroll their children in fun, summer program opportunities that are safe and healthy outlets, but many families just don’t have money set aside for youth summer recreation that has fees.

“What we are offering are free craft activities, hands-on, in the air-conditioned meeting room of the Juvenile Department and in the scenic park environment,” she said. “We’re giving youth healthy ways to interact by giving them something productive to do to get out there and socialize, learn new skills, and enjoy summer.”

Plus, they’ll have some really neat things to take home, she added.

The budding artists will create Sharpie coasters and other art during the debut session from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 27. The group meets Monday and Friday afternoons throughout the summer at the Juvenile Department and will meet in the park as youth participation increases.

Other projects include dream catchers, DIY canvas painting, string art, marbling paper, upcycling and recycling projects.

Youth also have the option of entering their projects in open class at the Crook County Fair later this summer, where they could earn ribbons and small premiums.

Bonanno’s daughter, Tatiano Bonanno, is helping put this program together. She is an Oregon State University student majoring in tourism and outdoor leadership and works as a summer intern with the Crook County Juvenile Department.

The mother-daughter duo will lead the craft sessions and activities throughout the summer. Their department sponsors and funds the program.

Registration is ongoing at the Juvenile Department, 541-447-5161, and youth may join any time.

Bonanno says the program encourages youth to embrace creativity, dive into a world of art and learn ways to better boost their health and confidence as they enjoy summer together.

The purpose, she said, is “giving youth in our community something valuable and enjoyable to do — all at no cost to the youth.”