One of our primary goals at H15 is to keep the teens safe. The first line of defense is to make sure our volunteers and staff are upstanding, law abiding citizens who love God and care about teens. Their job is to do their best to guard and protect the teens while they are with us!
The second line is to keep the teens safe from the effects and influence of bad behvior so we have a list of rules that are pretty much common sense but need to be reinforced. Signs like the one you see above are posted in multiple areas around the center.
Here they all are with a little more detail:
- No weapons of any kind
We ask the teens as well as the staff to not bring weapons into the Teen Center. If a weapon is seen it will be confiscated and then depending on what it is, it will either be returned to the person when they are ready to leave or reported to the appropriate authorities.
- No drugs, alchohol, tobacco, tobacco alternatives, or vapes of any kind in any form
We take the drug and alchohol problem among our teens very seriously. If we catch any of the teens with any of these items, all of which are ilegal for a teen to posess, we will take appropriate action. We have already had to get the police involved in matters of this nature and while we hate to do it, there are times that we have no choice. The safety of the teens comes first!
Sometimes the teens like to bring this stuff with them but go walk around the block or something while they use it. If we catch a teen using any of these products during a session even if it isn’t on our property, they will not be allowed to stay at H15 for the rest of that session and other action will be taken as needed.
- Respect others – no fighting, bullying, etc.
We absolutely love when we see teens getting to know one another here. We often see teens with different personalities and interests interacting so it isn’t out of the question that conflicts arrise but we place a lot of importance on settling differences properly. Bullying is something we absolutley don’t tolerate. Whether it is outright being mean to someone or something sneaky, if we find out about it, something will be done to take care of it!
- Respect this facility – no profanity, PDA, ETC.
We want to see everyone enjoying their time here without having to be subjected to awkward, uncomfortable, or inappropriate things. We also provide the facility for free so we ask the teens to clean up after themselves and be careful with the equipment we have here. We do our best to help the teens have a feeling of ownership so that they will want to take care of the center. When accidents do happen, we ask the teens to just let us know and help to take care of things in whatever way they can.
- No gambling
Believe it or not, this has come up more than once over a game of pool, hand of cards, or anything that can be bet on. We most definitely don’t want to see the teens heading down that path so we are not going to allow it to happen on our watch!
- No inappropriate of offensive materials of any kind
We do not tolerate inappropriate materials to be brought in or looked at. Things like porn, racism, and hate are not allowed. Whether it is in print or something they look at online we are determined to keep those things out of H15 and protect the teens from it while they are here.
- No hanging out in the alleys or parking lots
There is easy access to the alley behind the center and that is the primary way the teens come in. However, we can’t keep an eye on things if groups of teens gather in the alley or any of the nearby parking lots. Maybe they are just talking to their friends but if they have come to be here at H15, then those areas are not where they need to be. Teens are free to go to their cars to get things or take a walk around town but they need to not gather outside of our property. Not only is this a safety concern but it also raises issues with the community many of whom really don’t want to see a bunch of teens loitering around town. If there is an issue, we may get the police involved to disperse the group, however, most of the teens are pretty respectful and it normally doesn’t come to that.
- Respect and obey our staff and volunteers
First of all, our volunteers are here to help ensure the safety of the teens and to help make H15 a pleasant and enjoyable place for all. All of the volunteers have the authority to ask a teen to do something whether it is to stop a bad behavior or take care of something they need to do. We expect the teens to have respect for the staff and obey their requests. Secondly, H15 wouldn’t be able to even be open without the faithful volunteers that come every week. Respecting them is not only a way to make sure they want to keep coming but is a wonderful way to show appreciation for them.
Unfortunately there are times that the rules get broken. There really isn’t a lot we can do in the way of discipline other than making them leave. If we can find a different solution to an issue we take it including having them apologize and ask for forgiveness from the person they wronged. However, there are times when the issue requires us to ask a teen to leave. Normally the teen is welcome back for the next session but occasionally we will have them stay away for more than one. Only in the very worst of situations would we ban a teen from coming completely. Even then, the door is always open for reconciliation but they would have to earn the right to come back.
We often don’t have access to contact information for the teen’s families but when we do, we will let the parents or guardians know what has happened if needed. In the most serious situations, we will also involve the police.
These rules are all in place for the safety of the teens and to help everyone be able to enjoy the teen center.
It might seem like we are a little harsh sometimes but we only do it when it is absolutely necessary!
Our goal in all of this is to make this a great place where the teens want to be so our final and normally easiest rule to follow is: