If you’re looking for something to keep your teens and tweens busy and learning this summer, Georgetown County has the answer. The Waccamaw Library Teen Room is the perfect place for older kids to create things, problem solve, and have fun – all in a safe environment. And there are lots of exciting, educational programs scheduled for this summer.
The Teen Room is home to countless games, 3D printers, laser cutters and more. Donald Dennis, the library’s BYTES project manager, spends much of his time in the Teen Room rotating through and teaching different games and skills.
“One of the reasons gaming is so great is because it’s so multidisciplinary. It’s storytelling, it’s crafting, it’s math, it is everything,” said Dennis. “We use this as a way to find something that kids are excited to learn about.”
The Teen Room also goes beyond the library’s plethora of games. In early June, kids were able to assemble and launch their very own model rockets as part of Aerospace Week at the library.
“It is interesting because folks who have never expressed an interest in such a thing will show up for rocket week and then they will be super excited about it,” said Dennis. “The big one that was popular last year and that is also coming up next week are our laser activities, but the kids love everything we do here.”
The Teen Room will cycle through activities weekly to give youth the opportunity to find something that they truly have an interest in doing. The lineup for the rest of June includes Laser Cut and Cricut week going from June 20-23. Participants will have the opportunity to learn laser engraving, glass etching, vector art, and inkscape. During the week of June 26-29, youth will do mold making and casting, creating things such as chocolate candy and dice.
“What we like to do for any of our physical projects is we like to send them home with something that the kids have made,” Dennis said. “It will be sort of a reminder of what the county, the library has to offer, but also be a reminder that they have the ability to make something. It is too easy today to just go and buy something and not put your own creative, personal spin on it. There is some sense of accomplishment when you do something yourself.”
Spaces are very limited in order to provide the best overall experience and safety for everyone. “We try and cut our attendance in this to ten or fewer, but for our role-playing games we usually have about six,” said Dennis. “Because we are teaching them, we try to keep it so that there is enough of us (instructors) here so that we can keep a watchful eye and ensure the kids safety. We are very concerned about safety.”
The Teen Room is equipped with safety measures such as respirators and masks if an activity is “particularly funky.”
Looking into next month’s activities, July 3, 5 and 6 will be tabletop gaming week, which will include card games, board games, and similar. July 10-13 will be Model Crafts Week, in which participants will craft miniature paintings, structures and landscapes. Tabletop roleplaying games including Dungeons and Dragons and similar games will be featured July 17-20. Lastly, the week of July 24-27 is Fiber crafts week. Students will learn to sew, stitch and needle felt.
Dennis and his team make it clear that it is of the utmost importance that each of the kids that walks through the Teen Room doors at the Waccamaw Library has fun while also learning a new skill that will last them a lifetime.
“The most important thing is that these activities are hands-on learning experiences; that kids actually get to do the things that they want to do and learn about,” Dennis said. “They are going to come away with some idea on how to do things and remove the fear of doing something new. We at the library are just providing a space to ask questions and get help.”
For more information, email Donald Dennis at email@example.com or visit the Waccamaw Library at 41 St. Pauls Place, Pawleys Island.