• Lower Paxton Youth Center Lower Paxton Youth Center


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Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a safe place in the community for youth to grow and develop successfully and to provide activities that will enrich their lives by drawing on the resources of the community.


Description of LPYC

Lower Paxton Youth Center is helping fill the gap in the community for healthy, supervised activities that meet the needs of youth ages 12 to 18 in Lower Paxton Township and surrounding communities. The creation of a Lower Paxton Youth Center began in the summer of 2000 when a group of teens began talking about a need for a safe place where they could socialize, play music and have band practices. They approached the then Penn Gardens Community Association and asked to use the Penn Gardens Clubhouse building for their activities. The Penn Gardens Board agreed to let the teens use the building. It was an immediate success. Local teen bands began holding Friday night concerts with over 100 local youth attending.

The teens then formed an organizing committee and started working to create a permanent location for after school and weekend activities. Temple University Harrisburg provided master's students to assist in organizing community discussions about the need for a youth center and in the development of the governing structure. The teens and adults involved were very clear that they wanted to create a structure that would include youth being in involved in all levels of decision making.

LPYC is governed by a Board of Directors and a Youth Advisory Committee. A combination of adult and youth volunteers was envisioned from the beginning to operate the facility and programs. There is no paid staff. .

The Need for the Lower Paxton Youth Center. Lower Paxton Township and the surrounding communities have undergone a dramatic period of growth and changes over the past two decades. As the community has changed, concerns for our young people has also grown. Safe, supportive activities are essential to a healthy community and need to be available to all youth regardless of a family's income. To sustain growing neighborhoods it is important that the bonds of community participation, support for our children and opportunities for recreational and artistic expression be supported.

Lower Paxton is the fastest growing community in Dauphin County. It is home to over 10,000 youth under the age of 18. Services have not kept up with the changing demographics of the community. With an expanding population Lower Paxton is experiencing an increasing need for services for young people and their families. Although still a small percentage of the total youth population, there has been an increase in the number of youth involved with illegal activity and families experiencing problems.

Youth Center Activities

Weekend Events -

  • Concerts : At least twice per month local teen bands are invited to play at the Youth Center from 6-10:30pm. Refreshments are available in the concession stand. These events are attended by 100-150 youth each time. Local teen bands are supplemented by bands from other areas that ask to play. All bands donate their time. An entrance fee is changed.
  • Poetry nights : Poets are invited to share their work with youth including poetry written by local youth but also adults in the community. Poetry nights sometimes include music and attract a wide range of material.
  • Movie nights : Once per month a movie is shown, popcorn and snacks are available. The movies are selected by the Youth Advisory Council. The movies range from films produced by local students to commercial movies.
  • Dinner/discussion : Monthly there are vegan meals cooked by members of the Youth Advisory Council followed by an informal discussion of a political or social topic. Speakers/topics have included animal rights, domestic violence, substance abuse, politics/elections, free speech, etc.

Art Program - The Youth Center encourages local youth artists byholding art shows at the Center to display youth art work. This provides an outlet of artistic expression beyond what the local schools can provide. Receptions are held during the displays and families and other teens are encouraged to come and share in the experience. In addition art classes have been held including a series offered by a a senior Girl Scout to younger youth toward earning her Gold Award.

Food Pantry - The Penn Gardens Food Pantry provides food monthly to families in need. Food is donated local churches, schools and organizations. The number of families that come for assistance range from 30 a month to sometimes over 100 families per month.

Softball program - The Youth Center operates the softball program, Lower Paxton Fast Pitch Softball. It provides recreational softball in the spring/summer and fall for girls between the ages of 6 to 16. It varies from year to year but generally serves 30 to 50 girls per season.



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