A new youth center currently in the planning stages will aim to provide recreation and socializing activities for Key Peninsula’s young people. The center, which has been in the works for nearly two years, is being planned at the Key Center complex that is also home to Communities in School of Peninsula.

Known to many as the “red barn,” the three-building center once housed a manufacturing facility for disposable cameras. CIS-P is located in one building, and the group appropriately calling itself the Red Barn plans to lease the other two. The facility has been undergoing extensive remodeling and is in the process of obtaining necessary permits from Pierce County.

The Red Barn group is operating under the auspices of the Vaughn Community Church, but as a separate entity. The facility will be intended to attract all youth, regardless of religious affiliation, said Pete Hedin, the chair of the Red Barn Committee, which has six officers currently. “It’s more of a community building, not just spiritual,” Hedin said.

The theme of the center is a coffee lounge, where young people could drop by (or be dropped in) during open hours, usually after school. Organized activities will be planned, but the kids could simply hang out, do homework or socialize. Other groups will be able to utilize the facility for their events, and while youth activities are the primary focus, that will not be the exclusive use.

“Some of us were talking about the lack of things to do for youth on the peninsula,” Hedin said. “There are all sorts of ideas floating around. We’ll start out slowly and expand with time.”

Some of the ideas discussed include a stage, an indoor gymnasium for sports like basketball, computer facilities and a coffee shop.

According to the Red Barn Committee vision statement, “The Red Barn is a response to the limited opportunities for socializing and indoor constructive recreation on the Key Peninsula… The goal is a safe and desirable location for Key Peninsula residents to mingle and recreate.”

A steering committee helped get the project off the ground, and a variety of volunteers have stepped up to the plate to staff the facility. Hedin said all the positions needed to open the center, including a program coordinator, have been filled with part-time volunteers. Funding has been provided through organizations such as the Angel Guild and private donors, and much of the renovation is being done by volunteers to keep the costs low.

The Red Barn group hopes to see the center open by fall 2007, and plans to have more details available by next spring.

The Red Barn Committee may be contacted via mail at P.O. Box 1032, Vaughn, WA 98394.

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