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Its a Lovely time for local teen programs

Erin Lovely is joining the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation department as its new Teen Program Coordinator and is doing so at an exciting time.

Not only is the department's after school program, Friday ASAP, starting up, but plans for the Safeco building, recently purchased by the city, could open up a world of opportunities for teen-agers in Lake Oswego.

Lovely grew up in Boulder, Colo. and received her bachelor of arts degree in therapeutic recreation from Metropolitan State University in Denver. She spent time at a number of different jobs but, after moving to the Portland area roughly a year ago, she was hoping to land a job with a parks and recreation department.

'I enjoy the creativity that comes with the job. I think parks and recreation is kind of the backbone of a city,' Lovely said.

And Love-ly is excited for the opportunities that come with the new job.

'It's been great. I'm still getting familiar with the area but people are very friendly. It's been an easy transition,' she said.

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation officials are also pleased with where the future of its teen programming is headed.

'We were looking for someone with a diverse background who could connect well with teens. A lot of this job has to do with relationship building,' said Terri Fackrell, recreation supervisor at the parks and recreation department.

One of the things that Lovely will be overseeing is the Friday after school program, Friday ASAP. Every Friday, alternating between Lake Oswego and Walgua junior high schools, the department has activities for junior high students until 9 p.m. including movies, games, crafts and dinner for only $5.

A Youth Action Council has also been formed, consisting of 10 high school-age students who will meet with Lovely and provide information about the needs of local teen-agers.

Lovely will also oversee the popular Java Jam event, which will be held at the US Bank building this fall. Java Jam gives young musicians in the Portland area an opportunity to play in front of a live audience and showcase their talents.

The department is looking to set up a youth service corps as well to give teens an opportunity to help out in the community.

'There's a need right now for activities for young teens in those empty hours between three and six. Studies have shown that teens like service projects and things where they can make a difference,' Fackrell said.

In the future, Lovely would like to implement some more outdoor adventure activities and hopes to promote more inclusion activities that appeal to individuals with special needs.

Preliminary plans for the new Safeco building have also included a number of additions meant to appeal to teen-agers.

'It's a new area for advancement. It's going to provide a lot of growth so this is a great time to be here,' Lovely said.

In the coming weeks, Lovely will make the rounds at a number of back to school nights where informational tables will be set up.

The Friday ASAP program starts up on Friday at Lake Oswego Junior High and more information on any of the department's programs can be found at www.lakeoswegoparks.org.