Area teens looking for something free, fun and new to do next Friday night should drop in for a dip at the Juniper Hill Aquatic Center. The facility will host its first-ever High School Swim Bash from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
The event will feature a live DJ, pizza and drinks and is open to the first 600 Frankfort and Franklin County high schoolers — incoming freshmen through seniors.
The swim bash focuses on an age group that can oftentimes be overlooked, according to Alex Cunningham with the Frankfort Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites.
“We provide a lot of activities and programs for families and children; sometimes it’s hard to provide events that interest everyone in the family,” she explained. “We are hoping this event will give our teenage citizens a fun, safe place to be themselves.”
City Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge, who approached City Manager Keith Parker with the idea for a youth event in March and has been figuring out the logistics in the months since, believes in the importance of giving teens a time and place just for them.
“We owe it to our youth to be engaged with them and offer them events in their town just like every other age group in Frankfort,” she told The State Journal Friday. “This also allows the opportunity for all teens from all three high schools and home schools to come together as one community without competition of a sporting event.”
In fact, through her interactions and discussions with Frankfort teens, Waldridge has a few other ideas for activities geared specifically toward high schoolers, including a concert series, a field day complete with inflatables, an Easter egg hunt and music and dance events.
Though not currently scheduled because the aquatic center stays so busy in the summertime, Cunningham said the department hopes to make the swim bash a regular event. She also highlighted some of the many other athletic programs for teens — softball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, disc golf and pickleball — but added that the department is hoping to develop more events and activities in the future.
“A large portion of our summer staff falls in this age group, so we want to find any way we can to support them,” she said.
For Waldridge, who is the mother of a teenager, it’s important to offer high schoolers safe activities and the support they need.
“(We can) make Frankfort a home they will want to return home to when they make their way in the world,” she said.