The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center has come up with a way to be in the in-crowd with local teenagers.
Through its new Teen Club the center plans on offering dances, field trips and other events to give local middle school students a new way to spend their weekends.
The club kicked off with a big Hawaiian luau last Friday night.
"We think of it as creating a full program to try and keep sixth, seventh and eighth graders active in the community," said Pete McArthur, community center program director.
As the community center's target age range is usually kindergarten through fourth grade, the staff members felt that the teen group wasn't getting enough attention, McArthur said.
More in works
In addition to the dance they are also doing a Wii Olympic tournament, a Halloween trip to downtown's Haunted Hotel, and speed and agility training classes for athletes.
"We're trying to bring all the constituents of our community to the center for various activities," said McArthur, noting that they are hoping to shore up adult programs as well by adding a computer class.
They already offer yoga, circuit training, basketball, volleyball and social gatherings for adults.
Before Friday's Hawaiian-themed dance, McArthur was saying it was the "talk of the town, which turned out to be true as a large crowd showed up - some in grass skirts and leis - ready to party.
Checking it out
Teens waited to check in outside the community center as The Jonas Brothers and Kanye West could be heard pumping inside.
Seventh grader Dustin Salka had so many flowers around his neck that only his eyes were visible. He had to pull down his lei layers to say that he planned on "dancing a lot."
Seventh grader Karaline Berger sat with friends surveying the scene. She had just arrived and was seeing how everything was going before hitting the dance floor. She gave the dance her stamp of approval, saying it was a great idea to keep local teens entertained.
"It's very cool," she said.
Rancho Santa Fe Community Center Executive Director Pamela Meistrell was also surveying the scene.
"This is a fantastic turn-out for the first teen dance of the year," Meistrell said.
Meistrell said this could be a new trend at the center. Already a holiday dance is scheduled for Dec. 12.
McArthur said she is very excited about the teen club's next event, the Wii Olympics on Friday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Using the popular interactive gaming system Nintendo Wii, students will pair in teams of two to do battle in three to four sports like tennis, boxing or bowling. The event costs $25 and registration is going on now.
Teens can also register for the upcoming Haunted Hotel trip and dinner on Oct. 24. The trip will cost $75 and includes a chartered bus to the Gaslamp District for dinner and a tour.
For more information on Teen Club events, go to
or call (858) 756-2461.
Rancho Santa Fe Community Center Wii Olympics
- Sept. 19
- 6:30-8:30 p.m.
- Registration is $25
- For more information, visit