Saturday, April 24, 2010

No place to go, nothing to do

From Facebook:
I live in North Platte Noww. Im only 13 and its boring there is nothing to do.. Whats up with all the drugs people say we do.. Yeah we do hang out at the park but so does everyone else. Its a community we know each other its not a big exciting city, but its a great town to live. We have fun in our own ways. You make friends that you will probably have for a lifetime. I love North Platte.

Kid, everybody thinks the grass is greener somewhere else, but usually it's not.

In Omaha, which is about 20 times the size of North Platte, kids hang out at the park, or at the mall, or in the Old Market and complain that Omaha is boring and there's nothing to do.

You're right, North Platte is a great place. When I lived there nearly 30 years ago, I grew to love the place. I met people who are friends to this day.

Most importantly, I met my wife.

BASICALLY, North Platte took a kid from the Deep South seeing how far away from home he could land a job, and it turned him into a Nebraskan.

For that, I will be forever grateful.

But here's the beauty of a small city like North Platte -- it's big enough to offer opportunities but small enough for a 13-year-old and her friends to make a real difference and accomplish great things.

For example, it's small enough for you and your friends, and maybe your parents, too, to find an underused property -- or maybe an old, rundown building the city would like to tear down or fix up -- and offer your free labor and enthusiasm to fix it up for, say, a youth center. Which would give kids something to do.

Or maybe you could start your own low-power radio station. Or your own North Platte youth-oriented website. Or organize summer showcases for local bands.

Or maybe kids could all get together to volunteer helping the poor or the homeless.

Or maybe you could just ask the Union Pacific whether you could have a paper-airplane flying contest atop the Golden Spike monument.

Actually, that sounds like fun. Even to a 49-year-old.

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