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Kids in Bozeman Youth Initiative create fun, safe community events

GALLATIN COUNTY

Kids in Bozeman Youth Initiative create fun, safe community events 7-30-12

BOZEMAN, Mont. - A group of teenagers is planning a community clothing swap, and during their weekly Monday meeting they brainstormed the details.

"Can we do like a certain amount of clothes equals a certain amount of tickets?" said Bozeman High junior Rylea Rubright.

They're in the Bozeman Youth Initiative (BYI), an organization funded by the Turner Foundation that hosts events for kids, planned entirely by kids.

"I think it's really cool seeing them kind of brainstorm. I came in and I said, 'What do you guys want to do?'" said Program Coordinator E.J. Porth. "And they just thought out loud- you know, 'I think it'd be really cool if we could do this.' Alright, let's do it."

Porth helps the high school kids plan the events- which range from September's clothing swap, to art shows at the Friday Art Walks, to DJ battles and open mic nights.

"We mostly just do any kind event that brings the youth together with the community" said high school junior Claire Titus-Ieronimo.

Their goal is to do that in a safe and fun way.

"As teenagers, we can see what we need in Bozeman" said Bozeman High junior Sarah Nagy.

In addition to hosting events, BYI runs another program- BOB.

The Bozone Ozone Bus is a traveling greenhouse that BYI uses to show kids in the community how to grow and sustain a garden.

"By the end of the summer, probably 10,000 kids that have gone through the program" BYI Executive Director Greg Owens said. "An idea that started really with a small group of kids has grown into something that has impacted a lot of young people in Bozeman."

Owens said their projects make an impact that potentially reaches thousands, and the group said it's empowering to see the results of their very own ideas.

"It's a good opportunity to get involved in the community" Rubright said.

Nagy agreed. "It's really fun being a part of something bigger than just me" she said, adding "and I get a lot of good experience out of it."

A good experience that builds leadership skills for their next idea, and community project.

BYI's next event is a free art show at Soroptomist Park on during the Art Walk on Friday, August 10th. The clothing swap is planned for late September.

Click here to learn more about the Bozeman Youth Initiative.


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