Designed specifically for and by high schoolers, parents might be more familiar than their younger kids with the Neutral Zone, the hangout spot that puts an emphasis on creativity and leadership. Maybe it’s because the Neutral Zone has been around since 1998, and parents that grew as workshop attendees now have kids of their own.
Just like their parents, kids today need a safe space to hang out, learn, play and make friends, and while the Neutral Zone may have switched locations, it’s still a space where teens can indulge their creativity.
Launch into high school
Of course, it might not be easy for parents to convince their kids that the place where they hung out is still cool — just try forcing a teenager today to listen to Ace of Base and see how that goes. With that in mind, the folks at Neutral Zone have cooked up a special event aimed at eighth graders getting ready to transition into high school, and by extension, to become leaders at Neutral Zone.
At the fifth annual Launch event, eighth graders will participate in meet-and-greet games, tour the Neutral Zone space, meet some of the staffers and try the organization’s most popular programs. Visitors can hang out as late as 7pm to meet friends (the Launch party has had over 100 visitors in the past), explore the space or just get in one more game of ping-pong.
Teens can use the Neutral Zone however they like; record a sound bite for radio, take a class on video-making, write and perform poetry, get free tutoring help or just hang out and talk. While there are set programs led by staffers, the emphasis at the Neutral Zone is on teen participation and leadership.
The Launch event is also the perfect time for tweens to sample some of Neutral Zone’s summer programs. Open in the afternoons during the school year, during the summer, the organization hosts specialized day and week-long programs tailored to specific subjects. The Neutral Zone doesn’t cater to certain school districts either; all tweens and teens are welcome to come to any of Neutral Zone’s programs, not just students from the Ann Arbor School District.
In case there is still some hesitation, there will be pizza and a teen DJ on hand. So parents, take them to the Launch event and show them how the Neutral Zone can help them have fun and grow.
Neutral Zone’s Launch event takes place Wednesday, May 18 | 4:30pm.
Registration is highly encouraged and can be done online or over the phone.
Neutral Zone | 310 E. Washington St.
734-214-9995 | neutral-zone.org | Free