It’s been almost three months since Clint Rosson took over as executive director for the Red Barn Youth Center in Key Center, and the months have been busy ones.
Rosson has been working to expand the Red Barn to offer both more space and more opportunities for the youth that frequent the facility.
“I would like to double or even triple our capacity to help the kids,” Rosson said. “I think if you build it, they will come.”
Rosson comes to the position with 20 years experience teaching technology and STEM classes to high school students in the University Place and South Kitsap school districts. In addition to his master’s degrees in educational administration and counseling, Rosson also has the benefit of having helped with the launch of the Red Barn when the facility first opened.
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I would like to double or even triple our capacity to help the kids. I think if you build it, they will come.
Clint Rosson, executive director of the Red Barn Youth Center
His current goal is to raise funds to finish off the multi-purpose room, providing more space for the kids along with an indoor basketball half-court and room for classes.
“Once we get that (room) finished it’ll more than triple our space,” Rosson said. “We’ve been packed lately.”
With 30 to 40 children stopping by the Red Barn every day after school, having enough space for everyone becomes even more important as colder and wetter weather moves in and limits outside time.
Rosson’s next goal is to offer a range of job skills classes, taught by volunteer community members, to give the Red Barn kids an opportunity to learn skills that they can put on a resume and get a job after high school.
“(The subjects will cover) anything we can find somebody to teach,” Rosson explained. “There’s a lot of support from the community out here.”
I think the Red Barn is a great example of what can happen in a community when everbody comes together for our youth.
Already there’s a list of parents and community members volunteering to teach classes as soon as the Red Barn has space for them.
“I think the Red Barn is a great example of what can happen in a community when everybody comes together for our youth,” Rosson said.
The Red Barn Youth Center provides a safe place for middle and high school Key Peninsula students to spend time after school socializing, doing homework and connecting with adult volunteers. Most of the students come from Key Peninsula Middle School and Peninsula High School, heading to the Red Barn directly from school to receive a snack and an opportunity to socialize.
“I’ve heard more than one kid say the Red Barn is the highlight of their day,” Rosson said. “We just want to help kids to be successful. We want to do anything and everything we can to meet the emotional, mental and hunger needs of the kids.”
As executive director, Rosson leads a team of three staff members and adult volunteers to provide guidance and positive role models for the kids who attend the Red Barn.
I’ve heard more than one kid say the Red Barn is the highlight of their day. We just want to help kids to be successful. We want to do anything and everything we can to meet the emotional, mental and hunger needs of the kids.
“I think all kids want an adult to notice them,” he said. “I like to come out and be a part of the kids daily experience.”
Community support is strong for the Red Barn and Rosson is working to increase community partnerships to provide more opportunities for Key Peninsula teens. In reaching his goals for expanded programming, Rosson is hoping to partner with Peninsula School District to offer students school credits for Red Barn classes and has been talking with Superintendent Robert Manahan, who has been supportive of Rosson’s vision.
“He’s a great supporter of the Red Barn,” Rosson said of Manahan. “He’s interested in the kids being successful. I think that’s a hallmark of a good superintendent.”
The ultimate goal of the Red Barn, and for Rosson, is to help every student be successful.
“I think every kid deserves a chance,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for. To make sure every kid gets that chance to be successful.”
The Red Barn Youth Center can be reached at 253-884-1594 and is located at 15921 84th Street KPN in Lakebay.