Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum:

Teenagers Challenge Community

A bold 21-point program, posing a significant challenge to parents and the community as a whole, was proposed last night by 14 representatives of Clark County youth speaking at the First Annual SUN Youth Forum Banquet.

Addressing a crowd of over 600 adults and youths at the Royal Nevada hotel, panelist speaking for the 315 Youth Forum delegates, made a plea for adult understanding and guidance and governmental improvements to help youth meet its problem in the community. At the same time, the young junior and senior high school student representatives reminded youth that it has its responsibilities in the community and must meet them.

The large audience was held in rapt attention by the 10 boys and four girls from five of the county’s high schools as they ably presented ideas of their panels with clarity and sincerity before KLAS-TV camera which broadcast the hour-long program.

This was the first opportunity Clark County youth has had to view its opinion on juvenile problems and the teenagers admirably rose to the occasion. Educators from all over the county had nothing but praise for the results of the youth forum which they pointed out gave local teenagers the feeling that their ideas are important.

Governor Charles Russell was present on the speakers dias along with acting Mayor Reid Whipple, Harvey Dondero, assistant school superintendent, Emmet Daly, juvenile director Bureau of Crime Prevention, California, together with Hank Greenspun, SUN publisher and the panel speakers.

Here is the 21 point program:

  1. 1. A full-time juvenile judge is needed in Clark County to replace the present system in which juvenile offenders are handled by the district court judges. This man, according to the recommendation, must be well versed in teenager problems and adolescent psychology.
  2. 2. Better-trained officers for handling of juvenile problems should be acquired by law enforcement agencies. The panelists agreed that there are many fine law enforcement officers in our area today but their effectiveness in dealing with youth could be enhanced by better training.
  3. 3. Well-supervised drag strips should be provided for youths who are mechanically minded. The hot rod expert of today may well be the rocket ship designer of tomorrow, it was pointed out.
  4. 4. As the result of the panel on rock’n'roll music the recommendation was made that adults make a better attempt to understand teenage fads for what they are. Parents are reminded that they too once were teenagers and dance the Black Bottom and Charleston or did the Lambeth Walk. A little more understanding in regard to such matters would be a great help in improving relationships between teenagers and parents, it was agreed.
  5. 5. Pointing out the direct relationship between improper use of leisure time in juvenile delinquency, a plea was made for adult direction in juvenile development of skills in order to make use of leisure time. Although recreational facilities are a definite need they are not the full solution to the problem, it was pointed out proper direction in the use of these facilities is a must. Just taking a teenager off the street and giving him a place to play basketball or dance is not enough unless he has developed skills in these activities, it was agreed.
  6. 6. Greater use of workshops and athletic facilities “we already possess” was advocated. Not only should such facilities be open to youth during the school day and school year, but they should be in year-round and weekend operation, it was agreed.
  7. 7. Parents should take a move active role in school functions. This is one way parents can show their “love”, it was pointed out. The teenager should encourage parent participation in these affairs, it was added.
  8. 8. Panelists agree that “mother’s place is in the home.” The recommendation was made that if a mother must work to provide monetary help, the job should be in the daytime and not at night. The working mother should schedule her time and activities so that enough time is allowed for promotion of moral and educational welfare of her children, according to the panelists.
  9. 9. Both Adults and teenager leaders must encourage more teenager participation in such community projects as Community Fairs, Community Chest Drives, Red Cross Drives, etc. Good examples set by adults would be one of the finest methods of encouragement, it was agreed.
  10. 10. Some thought should be given to the lowering of the liquor age to 19. Panelist of this problem were split 21 for and 15 against. The thought expressed by the proponents was that because youths from 19 to 21 are forbidden to buy liquor, they do it as a “novelty.” Changing the law might result in less heavy drinking among this group, it was agreed.
  11. 11. An exchange student plan was proposed whereby high school students would attend a neighboring high school for one day. It was felt that this type program would result in better understanding.
  12. 12. A proposal was made for “an Olympic type meet” between high schools of Clark County. This it was stated, it would included as many as possible of the two f the sports not stressed on schools at the present time. This would also result in better inter-school understanding it was pointed out.
  13. 13. Better adult behavior at high school sporting events was called for. Much of the rowdiness at such events begins in the adult rooting section, it was stated.
  14. 14. A request for more respect from parents was made as a possible solution for parents gaining more respect from teenagers.
  15. 15. Adult lack of guidance was cited for failure of various youth organizations, and more leadership and guidance was requested. Specifically, a plea was made for an establishment of “vocational clubs” whereby adults would give leadership and direction in programs which would result in youths gaining knowledge pertaining to their future occupation.
  16. 16. Inadequacy of the present curfew law was cited. Relaxation as a law was needed for special occasions (dances) and in summer time, it was pointed out.
  17. 17. The Nevada State Employment Bureau should extend its system to provide a branch for high school and college age employment. This branch could deal only with youth. Aptitude tests should be a part of this program. (Gov. Russell was observed making notes when his proposal was presented.)
  18. 18. More adult supervision of school dances is needed. If teenagers are unsupervised at rock’n'roll dances, the results could be disastrous, as one speaker pointed out.
  19. 19. A monthly county high school paper was proposed as a means of better understanding and knowledge.
  20. 20. Less sensationalism in the press concerning juvenile crimes was called for. A “terrible injustice” has been done to the youth by sensationalism, it was pointed out. More constructive youth stories should be printed, it was advised.
  21. 21. There should be “teeth” put in the law which forbids the names of juveniles in news stories. Although that is illegal under Nevada law, the state statutes provide no penalty for violation. In other realms, the panelists agreed that teenagers should not marry while in school, and that “rock and roll” is not immoral.

Following are the finalist who presented the above recommendations: Ray Ware (Basic); Jim Gilliam (Basic); Paul Savage (Gorman-; Julie Moran (Gorman); Barbara Bates (Boulder City); Mike Prince (Rancho); Jim Pitts (Basic); Phil Cook (Las Vegas); Laurie Perry (Las Vegas); Harry Reid (Basic); Phil Cook (Las Vegas); Larry Coleman (Basic); Bernie Cannon (Basic); and Ron Baker (Las Vegas).

Entertainment was provided gratis by Henny Youngman (New Frontier), Liberace and George (Riviera), Connie Moore (New Frontier), and Dick Contino (Flamingo). Bill Willard, publicist, ably acted as m.c.

Liberace, just returned from a tour of the Continent and Britain speaking about the SUN Youth Forum, stated: “This is an example many of the youth from Europe could learn from.”

Emmet Daly, guest speaker, told the audience that juvenile delinquency is more extant among boys than girls by six-to-one. He made a plea to the teenage boys in the audience to help the younger boys. There is no class distinction in juvenile delinquency, according to Daly, who said that it is the environment in the home that is important.