By ROY HALES and MICHAEL QUIGLEY
Last week we exploited the word “hippie” to get your attention. In doing this we underestimated the power of the “hot” terms “hippie” and “drugs”. The people who congregate around the Cenotaph are not “hippies”, even though some of them have to use this term for themselves. As a group they do not stand for anything, but rather they represent the frustration of today’s disillusioned young idealists.
As we tried to say last week, there is a lack of communication in the home life of many young people today. But even more so, the general apathy of the community towards young people has helped to widen this communication gap.
Action against this community apathy has been rare. A few years ago, Pastor [Duane] Emberg attacked the “guiding institutions” of our community (parents, community leaders, and church people) as being “gutless” for their lack of concern with young people, but in the process alienated the young people by trying to overemphasize Maple Ridge as a community with excessive juvenile delinquency problems.
It is rather interesting to note that in 1966, 41% of Maple Ridge’s population was under the age 21, 32% under 14. As well, most of the facilities which could be used by young people are used by only a few. The new million-dollar “Community Centre” (an ironic term) is seldom used by young people, but rather designed for large scale events and selective ones as hockey games. As well, the rentage of these facilities is so high that most people cannot afford to rent them for their own purposes. There is also potential space in the curling rink which is privately owned and used during only a part of the year. This lack of facilities for a near-majority of Maple Ridge’s population gives cause for concern, especially when we read in the Maple Ridge Study that “the next decade will see a pressure on facilities for persons in the teenage years — secondary schools, major parks, and so on.”
We believe that people should take an interest in the issues concerning the community in which they live and in which their children are being brought up. Instead of merely complaining about the young people in the community, something should be done to improve the lack of facilities for them. For example, why not a centre for young people? We have recently started to establish such a centre, and will elaborate on this in the next issue of The Gazette.
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