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Nahant’s Youth Commission

Nahant Youth Commission Slates Basketball Tourney at End of Month
Originally published on Monday, March 26, 2012; by Cyrus Moulton, The Daily Item

Without a car and with school, most sports and many friends in Swampscott, hometown life can seem pretty boring for Nahant teens. So a group of high school students has decided to do something about it, forming the Nahant Youth Commission and holding their first event, a March Madness Basketball Tournament. “We had a lot of cool ideas I think we could get going,” said Shea Nugent, 14, a Junior Member of the Nahant Youth Commission. “I feel like [Nahant is] a little boring for some people, there’s not a lot to do. I feel like they go to Swampscott.”

The Town of Nahant bylaws call for a five-member Youth Commission “for the purpose of carrying out programs, which may be designated or established to meet the opportunities, challenges and problems of the youth of the Town of Nahant.” But Chairperson of the Board of Selectmen Lainey Titus has noted that nobody had ever seemed to be appointed to the commission.

Now Nugent, Charlie Arena, Olivia Aswad and Matt Gooding have stepped up to be Junior Members — Titus noted that official members of the commission must be of voting age — and started the commission. Their first event will be a March Madness basketball tournament on March 30 at 6:30 p.m., at the Spring Road Basketball Court. The youth commissioners — and parents Lisa Arena and Lori Nugent, who are official Commission Members — said that many different people in town are working to ensure a special event.

The Department of Public Works will donate lights to illuminate the court and Nahant Youth Basketball will donate pinnies and a scoreboard for the event, organizers said. Shea Nugent said that boys and girls of all skill levels are welcome, and teams of five will be formed once players have all arrived. The first game of full-court ball begins at 7 p.m. and spectators are also welcome. The final four teams will be named after their counterparts in the NCAA tournament. The Tides Restaurant will provide pizza.

Both adult and junior members of the commission emphasized collaboration as key to planning the event. “We were dropping them off and then started to stay for some of the meetings,” said Lori Nugent when asked how she got recruited to join the commission. “But they’ve been doing all the work.”

The junior members wrote e-mails, letters and made calls to make all the necessary arrangements, Shea Nugent said. They met with the Recreation Committee and Community Preservation Committee to seek advice and to brainstorm ideas.

Shea Nugent said he’d like the commission to have about four regular big events a year, and possibly a regular time set aside for drop-in basketball at the school or on the courts. “A consistent event where kids could hang out and have a consistent place to go.”

Charlie Arena and Aswad both said they’d like to see more younger kids get involved. “I’d like to see it get more popular and stuff and have younger kids to step up when we leave,” said Charlie Arena. Aswad predicted that would happen. “I think it’s a great idea — organizing events for kids by kids, it’s cool,” she said. And she invited all kids — including friends from Swampscott and Marblehead — to come and watch the March 30 event in Nahant.

“Show up if you have nothing to do, are bored,” she said. “All your friends will be here.”