A new layer has been added to the Key Peninsula Civic Center’s traditional Friday Night Skate program. It’s called “Club Cosmic” and, its creative leader, Troy Milles, describes it as “a program for teens that gives them a place at least once a month to dance and hang out with friends.”
It’s not just for Key Peninsula kids, Milles said.
“We’d love to have teenagers from everywhere join and enjoy!”
At the moment, that translates to the last Friday of the month.
“Motivation behind this program is to simply provide older teens a place to hang out and have fun,” Milles said.
It’s a safe, clean, well-directed and monitored place.
Volunteer student “referees” are available to help and, where advisable, direct the kids. Smoking or alcohol are strictly forbidden. No one is permitted to leave the facility. Should they leave, they may not re-enter.
The price is $5 for three hours, from 9 p.m. until midnight. It’s the same cost as the Friday Night Skate program which precedes it and hosts kids from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Initially, the “Club Cosmic” program was designed to be a continuation of the skating program for older kids after the younger ones had departed. It involved blocking off a portion of the gym floor to accommodate dancers.
But the older youngsters requested that the skating aspect be dropped.
DJ Kip Miller, provided all the equipment, music and timing the kids love, as well as swirling and flashing lights.
I felt like a kid again. I gotta tell you, though: I kept my hearing aids in and turned them off to serve as ear plugs. The music the kids love is LOUD!
In both programs, the Whitmore room adjacent the gym is filled with a plethora of electronic and other games, all included in the admission fee. Food, juice and soft drinks are available at reasonable cost.
Kitchen manager Jennifer Miller has been with the program for 14 years.
“I’ve been here with my two children and am very passionate about it,” she said. “It’s a great place for kids to hang out with their friends; a safe place for them to be on a Friday night. I started coming when my kids were babies and have been supportive ever since.”
Volunteer referee Cole Martin, a Peninsula High School senior, started working Friday Skate Night during his freshman year.
“It’s fun!” he declared.
Classmate Michelle Parker works in the kitchen and also serves on the Civic Center’s board of directors.
“I’ve been working skate night for four years, and there is never a dull moment,” Parker said. “I got started when a friend wanted to come to work here, so I tagged along. It’s been very fun and worthwhile.
“The world needs to know that Skate Night is THE place to be as a kid on Friday nights,” she added. “Upbeat music is played, and you make new friends.”
Gina Cabiddu, a senior Running Start student at Olympic College, acts as a referee.
“I love the energy of the environment,” she said. “I originally started to gain community service hours for high school, but this is my second year because the staff is so close-knit, it’s like being around a second family.”
PHS sophomore Jocelyn Schirmer likes said she likes the lights and music.
Joseph Andrada, also a sophomore, said, “Cosmic is a great place for teens to get together and be social with each other.”
“I like ‘Cosmic’ because you get to hang out with your friends and have a good time,” added PHS junior Samantha Sorrels. “Oh! Let’s not forget glow-in-the-dark dodge ball. It’s a blast!”
PHS senior Jessie Bauer has gone to Skate Night for four years.
“When I was in the eighth grade, my sister brought me, and I fell in love with the program immediately,” Bauer said. “The sense of safety and the way kids are having fun drew me straight in.
Bauer also is a member of the KPCC board as a teen representative to help give a younger person’s input on issues.
“I work as a leader filling in whenever a staff member is needed,” Bauer said.
PHS junior Joshua Easter said he’s gone to Skate Night since he was in seventh grade.
“Every week, Troy (Milles) would ask how I was doing,” he said. “When I became a freshman, (Milles) asked if I wanted to be on the staff. I have been working here ever since and love it. It changed my view of helping people.”
Hope Jones said she’s been going for eight years and loves the music and a chance to see her friends.
Brice Miller has, “been coming since I was born 11 years ago.”
To Anne Karamatic, “it’s something cool to do on a Friday night.”
Emily Parker walks around and asks if any staff members or kids need help.
“You can meet new people here and make new friends,” she said.
And that’s the truth!
For more information, email Milles at firstname.lastname@example.org.Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at email@example.com.