Teenagers with too much idle time can find themselves getting into trouble. Excess free time, especially during the summer when school is out, can lead to temptations, like alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sex. To keep your teenager busy, you can get him involved in some of the free teen programs found within the city of Phoenix, Arizona.
The Phoenix Public Library (phoenixpubliclibrary.org) is an ideal resource for free teen programs. There are 17 library branches throughout the city of Phoenix. Some of the free teen programs include art and photography contests, writer's workshops, game times, movie times and book clubs. These programs take place throughout the year at various branches of the library. During the summer, your teen can join the summer reading program, with small prizes for reading books and drawings for larger prizes, just for participating.
The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department offers some free outdoor activities in which your teen can participate. She can go on the Petroglyph Discovery Hike at Beverly Canyon Javelina South Mountain Park (no website; 10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix; 602-262-7393). Hikers join an experienced Pueblo Grande Museum guide on a three-hour interpretive hike. Some teens can participate in some of the free programs at Arizona Camp Sunrise (azcampsunrise.org). This camp offers programs to kids who have or have had cancer, along with their brothers and sisters. Eligible teens can go to Teen Jams, a five-day river rafting trip. Other free programs include Camp Sunrise, Camp Sunrise Sidekicks and the CIT program.
There are some after-school programs that teens can participate in, to give them something constructive to do each day after school lets out. Teens can drop by the Thunderbird Teen Center (no website; 1106 E. Grovers Ave., Phoenix; 602-953-2944) for free after-school programs during the school year and through the summer. There is a game room, dance room, recreation classes, job and college prep programs and even field trips. Your teen could also take part in programs at the South Phoenix Youth Center (no website; 5245 S. Seventh St., Phoenix; 602-256-3230), when school lets out for the day. Programs include nutrition, tutoring, fitness and computer activities.
A fantastic way to keep your teen busy and teach her about compassion and service to others is through volunteering. The Kids Health website suggests finding a volunteer program that involves something your teen cares about and that fits well with your teen's schedule. Phoenix has an assortment of volunteer opportunities for teenagers. At the Desert Botanical Garden (dbg.org), teens can get involved in the Teen Environmentalists Exploring Nature program, volunteering time at the garden. Your teen can also volunteer at the Center Eastlake Park Community Center (no website; 1545 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix; 602-262-6759). Volunteer Phoenix (myvolunteerphoenix.org) lists more volunteer opportunities that might interest you and your teenager, such as helping out at the Japanese Friendship Garden.