Icky’s celebrates reopening today

Center will now be open for two days a week this summer

A center that provides a place for young people to play games and socialize will

reopen after donations came in to help

fund it.

Icky’s Youth Center, 125 N. 27th St., had been open until early June, when a lack of funding caused it to close, according to Caleb Carlson, director of the facility.

But recently, people have stepped up to donate money and allow the center to continue operating.

“We closed the last day of school to rebuild the funds, to just bring more awareness to the community,” Carlson said.

He said one donor came forward with a $7,500 matching gift, which will allow Icky’s to open two days a week.

Its reopening celebration will be from 6 to 9 p.m today.

“We were open at that time four days a week, and we will reopen, but not to the same capacity yet,” Carlson said. “It’ll be two days a week, and on Saturdays we’ll be opening a little later in the evening, from 6 to 9 p.m., and then we’re also going to be open on Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 (p.m.). Each day we’re open three hours.”

Icky’s is a collaborative effort between seven local churches to provide a place for students to gather after school and during the summer, where they can play games and meet friends.

Carlson called it a “safe haven.”

“It’s a place for parents to feel comfortable with their kids hanging out somewhere besides home,” he said. “It’s not real big, but we have quite a bit of kids come by, especially during the school year.”

Icky’s is open to children between fifth grade through high school seniors.

“We see mainly middle-schoolers, but some high schoolers here and there,” he said. “And we have a variety of activities planned that they can be a part of.”

A favorite of the youth that come to Icky’s is gaga ball, which Carlson described as a game in a pit where the kids kick and hit the ball back and forth.

While Icky’s is able to reopen for part of the time, Carlson said the ultimate goal is to build up funds so the center can be open for more hours.

He said Icky’s is very popular among the children who frequent it.

“A lot of them, it’s their second home,” he said, adding some of the children spend as much time at Icky’s as they do their own homes.

“They kind of create a little bit of a family and have their friends that they’re able to hang out with on a daily basis,” he said.

Carlson added that Icky’s is accepting donations for those who are interested in helping to fund it.

Those who are interested in donating are asked to make checks out to Icky’s Youth Center and send them to 125 N. 27th St.

And parents who are interested in sending their children to Icky’s are asked to register for it.

“We want their parents to come in so they can meet the parents,” he said. “It’s completely free for kids to come. You don’t have to be from a specific school or a specific church. It’s a gift to the community from the churches, and we just want people to know this is available to them on a regular basis, and it’s a place they can feel comfortable dropping off their kids.”