Teens get bum rap at Thursday Night Market | TheUnion.com

Teens get bum rap at Thursday Night Market

In a recent article about Thursday Night Market, the president of the downtown association, Steve Rosenthal, had some negative and false things to say about Thursday Night Market. Rosenthal seems to have a negative outlook on the teens at Thursday Night Market. I assume he does not remember being a teenager.

There are not a lot of activities for young people in Grass Valley, but Thursday Night Market offers a place for young people to go during the summer to hangout with their friends.

I am a proud parent of two young adults, ages 23 and 24. My youngest daughter is the co-founder of the youth group NEO, providing activities for children, teens, and young adults as an alternative to negative peer pressure choices like drugs and alcohol. NEO has its own section at Thursday Night Market where they showcase youth bands, BMX bike riders, DJ’s and artists of all kinds. They plan friendly contests and fashion shows created by youth, among many other activities for young people to enjoy in a smoke- and alcohol-free zone. Their performers are held to a high standard to act as role models for all youth.

When rumors were heard that some people at the downtown association did not want teens to attend Thursday Night Market, there were many upset teens, but one email my daughter received touched me the most.

“… Without the open access and publicity of Thursday Night Markets, the youth of this community will get curious, they will get addicted, and they will need a way out.

The email came from a young man who has been attending NEO events for the past two years. The email reads, “Starting at age 13 I fell into bad habits of smoking weed and drinking. … By my freshman year I had started using heavier substances. … My school work, physical abilities and overall productivity deteriorated exponentially, and I had only a slim thought towards stopping, although I recognized the necessity.

“One summer evening I was wandering around downtown Grass Valley and stumbled upon the music in the NEO section. I started meeting people who knew how to have a fun time without getting high or drunk, and it was a new beginning for me. I gradually started associating with the NEO crowd rather than my friends that enjoyed drug use.

“The NEO section at the downtown music, to be frank, saved my life. I may be a rarity, however I am not one of a kind. I know others that NEO has helped and others that NEO can help, and without the open access and publicity of Thursday Night Markets, the youth of this community will get curious, the will get addicted, and they will need a way out.

“NEO can be their light at the end of the tunnel, just as (it was) for me. Do not retract the helping hand. DO not extinguish the last remaining light in sight for children who have slipped to the void of curiosity.”

Thursday Night Market is part of our great community, so to let someone who has been a part of our community for such a short time, as Rosenthal has, try to take this away from us is disheartening and he should be ashamed of himself.

Tina M.R. Skrukrud lives in Grass Valley.

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