Teen Center gets high-tech outdoor game
“It feels like a video game but it takes so much physical exertion,” said El Dorado Hills Community Services District Youth Development Coordinator Whitney Kahn of the NEOS 360, a deluxe piece of electronic play equipment installed behind the Teen Center earlier this month. “This is the perfect bridge between electronics and being outside enjoying nature.”
“The NEOS 360 comes full circle with 360 degrees of head-spinning, body-twisting, heart-pounding competitive fun. Its circular design builds peripheral vision, auditory and spatial awareness skills,” the structure’s description reads, “NEOS 360 features eight games, one and two-player options and one freestanding user control panel with player instructions on the back.”
With names like Ninja, Firefighter and Marathon each game lasts about 45 seconds.
“They (the kids at the Teen Center) love it,” said staff recreation leader Jeff “Shortcake” Morrow. “They’ve been back there non-stop. It’s tiring.”
The Teen Center is for sixth graders and older. Though it’s comparable to Kyd Zone, the CSD’s after school and summer program for elementary school-age kids, Kahn is hesitant to say they’re the same. “We give them more freedom and opportunities to make their own choices,” she said.
Kahn hopes the NEOS 360 might draw more teens to the center and highlight their facility rental for parties, which includes the Teen Center, as well as a large deck and grassy area where the NEOS is.
The purchase was made after much consideration. “Years ago when Wayne Lowry was the general manager, he saw a NEOS at a California Park and Rec Society Conference and really wanted to bring one here to the CSD but couldn’t stomach the price tag,” Kahn explained. But when one was offered for a fraction of its $28,000 retail price at $7,260 they bought it.
“In the summer of 2012 a rep from the NEOS company called Wayne directly to let him know they could give him an amazing deal on a floor model and he brought the item to then assistant GM (Sandi Kukkola) and she waited until the new GM (Brent Dennis) was hired,” Kahn explained. “He proposed to the Board that the CSD purchase the NEOS 360 under the condition that he would do a master plan of the Teen Center and skatepark along with the Teen Center staff. After a year of master planning, we finally completed the master plan (November 2014) and the plans for installation began Now it’s installed and we’re ready to play!”