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Youth group organizes New Year's party


For the second year in a row, Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth is sponsoring a New Year's Eve party to help middle school and high school students stay safe.

"The goal of the New Year's Eve party is to present a healthy, alcohol-free night for middle school and high school kids," said the Rev. Brad Ulgenes, who is pastor of First Lutheran Church and chairs the Havre group. The faith asset committee of Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth, which includes representatives from several local churches, is organizing the party.

This year's party, which will be held in the gymnasium at St. Jude Thaddeus School from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., will feature karaoke, basketball and volleyball tournaments, various other games and door prizes including a portable DVD player, Ulgenes said. Students can bring their own board games as well.

The admission price is $2.

Pizza will be served at the event, and St. Jude parents will run a concession stand selling popcorn and other snacks, he said.

Once students leave, they will not be able to re-enter the party.

Titus Bergren, associate pastor at the Havre Assembly of God church and chair of the New Year's Eve party, said the party will have a short religious component that will include singing, and possibly a student or two sharing the meaning of God in their lives.

Bergren said his goal for the party is "to meet students who aren't plugged into a church yet and just to give them God's message." He said students who attend the party can opt out of the religious portion, which he said will probably last about 45 minutes.

About 280 students attended the party last year, Ulgenes said. Middle school students formed the majority, but there were still about 120 high school students, he said.

Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth is an advisory group of about 20 people that formed last year in response to a survey of high school and middle school students in Havre, Ulgenes said. The survey revealed that many students didn't feel valued by their community.

"The students didn't feel appreciated by the community, so this is a way to say, 'Hey kids, you're a great part of our community. Come on down. This is for you,'" Ulgenes said.

Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth also sponsored a Halloween party this fall, and may sponsor an event this spring as well.

The group is still needs more chaperones, Ulgenes said. Anyone who is interested can contact Bergren at 265-5803. They can also drop off cookies or snacks for the party at St. Jude's.


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