Kane County Chronicle

St. Charles Park District: From study nights to game nights, teens head underground

Photography, video game contests and field trips are some of the offerings on the calendar at the STC Underground, a place for middle and high school students.

The St. Charles Park District aims to offer programming for all ages, from classes for tots to events for seniors and this includes its own teen center in the heart of the community.

The STC Underground at 101 S. Second St. is in the lower level of the Baker Community Center. Middle and high school students ages 11-19 who reside in School District 303 are eligible for free membership to STC Underground, where they can drop in or take classes.

This spring the staff at STC Underground are offering a new class, Spring Photo Walk, inviting tweens and teens to try their hand at framing up nature in their camera or phone lens. The single day class is offered 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 31, and will give the participants a chance to build their photography skills, explained Dan Procaccio, teen recreation supervisor for the STC Underground.

Need a place to study? The next STC Underground Study Night will be from 6-7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14. Bring homework, study materials and the staff will supply pizza and beverages thanks to support from the St. Charles Noon Kiwanis Club.

“Study Nights are a great place to come and study for finals,” Procaccio said. “You can do homework and when you’re done, play some games.”

Study Nights are for members, so be sure to register in advance for membership, which is free to students of District 303.

In the summer, STC Underground is the location for the park district’s Teen Camp, weekdays from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those entering sixth to eighth grades. In addition to the camp activities each day, there is at least one field trip per week, explained Abby Fleming, recreation supervisor for teens/tweens.

“It’s been really fun to play and see how excited the kids are for the activities,” Fleming said.

This summer she has a calendar full of activities from trips to Raging Waves Waterpark, Starved Rock, Medieval Times and a visit to Chicago for the Shedd Aquarium.

Teen Camp still has limited space in its summer enrollment, see the website for availability.

The STC Underground is open to members in the evenings after camp and is a great place to meet up with friends to check out the gaming computers or join a video game competition. There’s still time to register for the next STC Underground game tournament from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, May 17, featuring Super Smash Bros.

“There games are made to be played together. There’s great energy when playing together,” Procaccio said. “You feel more of the competition when you play together in person.”

See the stcunderground.com website for a full calendar of events and to register. There are weekly drop-in activities that include a chance to meet new friends playing ping pong, board games or try a new craft.

Fleming said, “This is a really great place to make friends.”