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Adults, groups provide alternatives to drinking

 

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Havre teens have long complained that they drink because there's nothing to do.

The opening of the Girls and Boys Club by the HELP Committee has helped fill that void for many young people.

Other adults also have brainstormed to provide activities for teens, with mixed results.

Two years ago, the Eagles Club established a pool league for high school students on Monday nights from January to April. This year, 36 students competed.

For about $5 games cost a quarter students can play pool all evening. A separate room offers them arcade games and dart boards.

"I've seen it picking up," said Tom Farnham, manager of the Eagle's Club. "There's a lot of them getting their own pool sticks and getting involved. It's nice to see them getting a hobby."

The Hi-Line Lanes bowling alley on Mondays offers karaoke for college students in its bar area, while providing open bowling for $1 a game. Underagers get their hands marked with a black permanent marker in order to separate them from the legal drinking crowd.

On Friday nights, the bowling alley offers Rock-n-Bowl for high school children. For the $5 cover charge, students can bowl and get free sodas.

"We realize there is not a whole lot for the kids to do," said Gary Hillson, manager of Hi-Line Lanes.

On these nights, Hillson employs two uniformed doormen and several non-uniformed bouncers in the bar to ensure that alcohol does not get into the wrong hands.

"Because we're offering the service, they know that if they mess up, it's going to be gone," Hillson said. "But every once in a while, we'll have somebody that tries to (get served)."

In the last couple of years, Shamrock's owner Modesty Caven has sponsored a "Teen Night" three times. She charged $2 at the door and $1 for sodas, and underagers were given the opportunity to socialize in a bar atmosphere.

Caven advertised with fliers, newspaper advertisements and by word of mouth. But the end result didn't seem worth the trouble.

"I just didn't get a big turnout," she said.

In December, MSU-N opened the dance club at the Student Union Building, alternating on Tuesdays and Thursdays with karaoke music and a disc jockey. On a $28,000 budget, Northern student activities coordinator Denise Brewer also brought in musical acts, comedians and hypnotists. Along with the dance club, she organized the Pin & Cue, a bowling alley and pool hall in the basement of the SUB.

When the nonalcoholic club first opened it served "mocktails," such as virgin daiquiris about 50 students were attending. By the end of March, only three students showed up at one karaoke night.

"We just need to spark some life in this building," Brewer said. "It's more like a morgue."

Due to a lack of student turnout, Northern closed the dance club in April.

"It's just not worth the time and effort if no one is going to come out," Brewer said.

 

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