Envisioning a New Youth Room

Beth Jarvis and Gordon Wiersma met to outline, with a broad brush, the requirements for the new Youth Room. We anticipate opportunities for Hope Church’s youth and adult sponsors to lend their voices and vision as we get closer to the interior design phase.

Whether used on Sundays or other days, mornings or evenings, the activities planned for the space are quite similar:

  • Gathering to talk, around a table or not, with or without snacks
  • Watching videos or digital presentations
  • Doing art or writing projects
  • Playing games, which in the ideal world could include the ping pong and foosball tables currently stored away

What this implies is a high level of flexibility, with furniture that can be easily rearranged. Youth activities typically include 8 to 15 people, occasionally with more when, for example, sponsors meet with GIFT classes. Ideally, the room would contain a small area with counter (and cabinet) space for snacks (which will be brought in; no cooking required in room), a small refrigerator for soda, and a double sink for clean-up from snacks or art activities.

Commons and Gathering Area are currently used, for a number of reasons, including proximity to the parking lot entrance; this is important because for some activities, there’s a “ragged start,” meaning members join as they’re able. Having a sight line to the entrance is good; so is having close proximity to another exit (with a bike rack?). A direct connection to the Chapel is not  preferable, so that there’s some physical space and travel to help with the adjustment to worship.

Carpet in the majority of the space is preferable for warmth and lounging (extra padding?); having a hard-surface floor in an area for snacks is practical. Lighting overall is important to setting the mood for events, which calls for some flexibility in zones or dimming. Having display space on walls is good, but a fixed white board has proven not useful (while a portable one is good). Furniture needs to support both casual and structured activities: tables and chairs that are highly portable, and then, for example, a heap of bean bags? We’ll do more development to get specific.

Storage for games, food, markers, paper, and other activity supplies is required.

When we describe the hoped-for character of the new space, we contrast with perceptions of the current Youth Room, which include cold, dirty, hard, heavy (in part communicated by the beams), and dark. The new room, we hope, will be flexible, inviting, desirable, warm, and cool (in the desirable, attractive sense of the word). Durability and cleanability will be important to keep the room attractive over time.

A side note: There’s a piece of stained glass in a lighted display box in the current Washington School Neighbors office for which we’ll want to find a place of honor in the new facility.



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