DANVERS — Floating in the pool, watching a movie on the big screen with 75 close friends while sipping on a Mountain Dew — Wait a minute, Mountain Dew?
The Danvers Community YMCA in conjunction with Danvers CARES is hosting the first Holten Richmond Middle School Youth Night tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. where students can participate in activities such as dodgeball tournaments or relax in the pool with a nonalcoholic beverage.
The Youth Night is designed to offer students a safe and fun environment to catch up with their friends.
"The kids are very excited about this event," said Jason Verhoosky, community liaison and youth program coordinator for Danvers Cares.
The youth leadership board of middle school students, started recently by the Danvers Cares initiative, were on a mission to develop a way to have fun with their friends after school that was substance-free and age-appropriate.
About 60 students initially participated in a focus group to throw around ideas for the project.
"The most popular idea was Flick and Float, where a movie is projected on the wall of the swimming pool area and students can watch while floating in the pool," Verhoosky said. "The Rock Band Tournament was also a hit."
Verhoosky wanted the project to be completely youth-driven. Meeting with the student council and student government, Verhoosky was able to get a sense of how the students wanted to design the youth night — games, abundant snacks and time with their friends.
The event is funded by Danvers Cares, as well as a state and federal grant. The $2 charge to get into the youth night will cover the food cost.
So far, 75 students are expected to participate. To attend, the child must be either a student at Holten Richmond Middle School or come with a student and be middle school age. Also, for safety reasons, all students will be signed in and out of the event by a parent.
Though the youth night is just a pilot event, Verhoosky hopes that it will be successful enough to offer on a monthly basis and possibly weekly.