Workshops held weekly through early August will teach bike repair and safety, cooking, self-defense and more

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JILL BONANNO - Empowering Youth Bicycle Program will once again teach teens about bike safety and bike repair.

Local teens can learn how to cook, repair their bicycle, or create objects through the use of science and math this summer.

The Crook County Juvenile Department is partnering with multiple agencies throughout Central Oregon to provide weekly workshops to kids grades 7-10. The Prineville Teen Summer Program partners include Oregon State University Open Campus, Crook County, Better Together, Crook County Library, Camp Fire Central Oregon, Crook County High School and Empowering Youth Bicycle Program.

"We just all got together," said Jill Bonanno with the Juvenile Department. "We were all working our individual programs, and we decided to make it bigger and better and to offer it to teens in our community."

The intent of the workshops is to give teens something to do while school is out and learn some new skills. They kick off next week with a weeklong course on Bicycle and Workshop Safety. The course will take place at the pump track at the community bike park.

"The goal is for them to show that they are proficient in changing a flat tire, working on gears and changing brakes," Bonanno said of the course.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participating teens are given a free bike, therefore the course is limited to just 18 participants.

Later in the summer, teens can participate in The Joy of Cooking, a workshop that explores basic recipes, culinary techniques and even outdoor cooking. Participants in the course will be invited to take their creations home for friends and family to enjoy.

The cooking workshop, like many others, will take place at Crook County High School.

"The goal of that was to get middle-schoolers used to coming to the high school and navigating their way around it," Bonanno explained.

Two other workshops scheduled for the Prineville Teen Summer Program will invite kids to perform for an audience. The Peter and the Wolf Puppetry workshop examines what puppets and music can create, and students will be encouraged to become part of a puppet troupe that brings the Peter and the Wolf story to life.

The next week, Teen Theater will be offered, where youth are invited to explore their dramatic side with the Ochoco Players, a local theater group. Kids will participate in performance and improvisation exercises, make use of props and learn stage presence, direction and more.

"That is just a fun time for teens to get together," Bonanno said, "and get to know new people."

Workshops will also focus on technology and science. Creative Coding with Robotics will enable teens to use Sphero robots to mimic the solar system, swim across the water or have a dance party. Students will learn programming code while enjoying hands-on activities. STEM Horizons, another workshop, is intended to teach teens about the careers and possibilities in science, technology, engineering and math.

The workshop series concludes with a weeklong course in self-defense, a course that Bonanno stresses is coed.

"Girls shy away from self-defense, but we will have two females and one male teaching it," she said. "The goal is to empower youth to feel safe and confident in the community."

During the weekly workshops, kids will also be provided a morning activity that varies by day of the week. The Top Dog program will provide teens the opportunity to walk and socialize with dogs. The Fun and Fitness program will feature a variety of games that are intended to keep students active without making it feel like an ordinary exercise routine.

"We are making it really fun and engaging for youth, and they will want to come back for more," Bonanno said. "We will be going out to the wetland and gong on some hikes. We are doing a wide variety of things."

Teens interested in participating in the Prineville Teen Summer Program can either register online or stop by the Juvenile Department to sign up for workshops. The cost of the courses vary by subject, and prices are on a sliding scale.

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