A comprehensive vision to develop a culture of teen mentorship in Cascade, Idaho
com·pre·hen·sive [käm-pri-ˈhen(t)-siv]
covering completely or broadly
vi·sion [vi-zhən]
the act or power of seeing
cul·ture [kəlCHər]
the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.
men·tor·ship [men-ˌtȯr-ˌship]
The influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor.
I remember my teen years well. Now, I’m as old as you can get and still be considered a millennial, so I have a different view of my teen years than many younger people or teens today do. We didn’t have smart phones. We didn’t have endless options for streaming shows on our phones or TVs. We didn’t have games or “social” media that locked us in our rooms to engage in relationships from afar. But, we still had some phrases in common: “I’m bored”, “There is nothing to do around here”, “I’m hungry”, and “What do you want to do?”

Do you remember your teen years? Did you ever utter those phrases? Normally, when I did I was told that I could find something to do or my parents would “find something for me to do”. I always found something else to do it seemed.

Whatever your teen years were like, we all had something in common that can’t be overlooked: We needed to engage with people around us. We needed older teenagers to teach us what they knew or were learning. We needed adults to teach us how to do the odds and ends jobs that really got us started in life. Some of us had parents who worked dawn to dusk and we needed adults to supervise us, keep us busy, engage with us on a deeper level than “Hey, how are you?” Teens today are the same way.

In Cascade, we are presented with some unique circumstances. It is a rural mountain community, so many teens live miles from other teens once they go home. Many parents are working those dawn to dusk jobs as Cascade figures out how to re-invent itself after losing the lumber mill. Teens don’t find other teens in churches or other social gathering places like they used to. Largely, teens don’t have many people to speak into their lives. This leads teens to do what teens do: Go find someone to hang out with and something to do. When snow sticks around for over half the year, for many kids this leaves them to find respite in social media and games. For others, the path darkens towards alcohol, drugs, and teen pregnancy.

This is where the Game Changer comes in. Imagine a place that is the place to “hang out with something to do.” Because, that is what teens want. But, it provides something more: A place for teens to connect and engage each other in larger social settings, to learn how to have a conversation, how to resolve disputes, how to find a job, all with the help of other teens and adults in mentoring relationships.

Imagine the change that could come from having a place like this. Imagine the influence you could have in shaping a community, not just the next generation, but for generations to come. Imagine creating a culture of adults mentoring teens who mentor teens who become adults that mentor teens. What could Cascade’s teen culture look like in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years from now?

Will you join us in this monumental effort?

Josh Hurley
Horizons’ Game Changer - Committee Chair
We are currently in our fundraising effort. This is a likely reason you are reading this right now! We believe we will find government or private grants to also help support this effort. And, we also believe that for this effort to truly succeed we need people who care to put their treasure where their heart is. We know you work hard for the money and resources we may be asking from you. We aren’t looking for a handout. We are looking for an investment. We want you to invest enough that you care to ask about how it is going. We want you to drop in and see your investment at work. If we just wanted money, we could work at finding it and we would start the teen center. But, we also want your investment. We want your commitment so the teen center can not just start, but thrive and continue as a staple of the Cascade community.
A defining factor to a successful teen center is “fun!” A successful teen center is one that is fun enough to be at that it doesn’t matter what other segment of teens is there.
 So, with that in mind, on the following pages we will outline the facility we are dreaming towards.
Bowling Lanes
Seriously, we don’t mess around. If you were thinking we wanted some couches and PlayStations, hang in there, because we’ll get to that, but first, the bowling lanes.

Why bowling lanes?
As Josh has been teaching at the school again and again he has heard teens express they wished they had someplace to go hang out or go on a date, inevitably they name bowling lanes in the next sentence.
Doesn’t that take a lot of room, maintenance and special equipment?
Traditional bowling lanes take a lot of room. They also take specialized equipment like shoes, various bowling ball sizes, etc. And, many bowling alley’s across the nation are shutting down due to lack of interest. This is why we will be using the latest trend in America to make sure we have a low-maintenance, low-overhead activity for years to come: Social Duckbill Bowling. These lanes are shorter. The balls and pins are smaller. And, a perfect game has never been bowled! All of these factors unite for the perfect fit for Cascade buildings, economy and families.
What will it cost? Is it only for teens?
Teen pricing will follow the pricing structure we address later in this packet. There will be open times available to the public and rental times available for corporate retreat use to help fund the center.

How will you manage lane times?
See 'The App' section!
Games Lounge
We heard you mention some couches and some PlayStations on that last page, or was that us? Well, either way, we think it is a great idea! We have a large area designed for teens to come just hang out and play some games together.
Why do we need a gaming lounge?
Only so many teens can bowl at once. What are the rest going to do? We think providing a safe space in the same building to just hang out is an incredible plan. This means we can buy some board games to have laying around, but we also can have some screen time with some awesome playstation games.
What kind of resources will the gaming lounge take?
We need to buy 3 flatscreen TVs and their brackets. We will need to get our hands on at least 3 PlayStations, a couple couches, and some beanbag chairs. Additionally, we need enough gaming chairs to create 3 gaming areas as pictured above. We aren’t so concerned that all this stuff be brand new, it just needs to function well and leave the absolute impression that we are invested!
What will it cost? Is it only for teens?
Cost for teens is admission based and pricing will follow the pricing structure we address later in this packet. There will be open times available to the public and rental times available for corporate retreat use to help fund the center.
How will you manage playing times on the PlayStations?
See ‘The App’ section!
Tech Bar
There sure seems to be a lot of lounging going on around here, doesn’t there? Since the whole point of the Game Changer is to provide a place to go, it seems to make sense to have a lot of lounging opportunities. We think the ability to have a place to connect to the internet, while in a healthy environment, is a great resource for our teens.
What kind of resources will this take?
Stools, an internet connection, and lots of electrical outlets for charging laptops and phones.
Should kids really be online all the time?
Nope. They shouldn’t. But, most of them are! We’d prefer to provide a social space for them to hang out in where maybe somebody can pull them away, rather than sitting at home engaging in potentially dangerous behavior.
How can you guarantee a safe internet connection?
We will use OpenDNS to filter our internet. OpenDNS is free and, run by Cisco, one of the most well-established names in network security. OpenDNS allows organizations such as ours to filter ALL traffic through their Domain Name Servers which filters domain names for harmful content before it is delivered.
Won't an internet with a bunch of people on it become worthless?
See "The App" section for how we will secure the internet to people in the building for that day. Additionally, we will use QOS standards to limit downloads so everyone is able to use the internet connections equally.
Will this area cost anything?
Cost for teens is admission based and pricing will follow the pricing structure we address later in this packet. This area can be used by the public in off-times to help support the center.
Who doesn't love some popcorn, a drink, or some snacks while you are bowling, playing games, or reading a good book?
Are we getting into stuff we don’t need to be?
These types of snacks don’t require any type of special food permits to have around. Additionally, if we find somebody passionate about healthy eating choices that can manage promotion of such things, this is a great place to do it! It’s a win-win. We all love to eat.
What else can be done with a good snack bar?
We envision creating a type of economy around town that allows the school staff, local businesses, community leaders, or other influential leaders to dole out rewards with the concessions. We could give out a certain number of free items to these different leaders each month that they can award kids with for character development. See 'The App' for how we can track the freebies and some other neat ways of celebrating these teens who receive them.
What will the cost be for concessions?
We haven’t established a specific pricing structure yet. This is the type of thing we hope to hand off to the teen advisory board for them to consider. Much like the movie industry, the possibility exists for concessions to be a big part of revenue to offset the costs of the center. We would like to see concession have a discounted rate for teens who have the app and are currently enrolled in the local school or have been certified as homeschooled.
We don't have every detail of pricing sorted out, yet. However, we have thought through a model for pricing that we think will be highly impactful at offsetting costs and providing equal access to all teens. Here is a rough shot at what it should look like:
Admission Based
$30 / month or current enrollment in teen mentoring program
General Public
$20.00 an hour
Game Lounge Area
$20.00 an hour
Corporate Use
Building Use for 3 Hours
$25 per person / minimum 10 people
Includes Soda and Popcorn
Use of TV screens, gaming consoles, bowling alley, and wi-fi.
Teen Mentoring Program
One of our strategies in creating a true mentorship program in Cascade is to prevent highly qualified High Schoolers from leaving the area without first getting them to invest in the next generation of High School students.

To do this, our pricing model for teens will create scarcity (it costs them something to get in!) and also solve that scarcity by directing them towards mentoring relationships.

Each month High Schoolers will be sent a list of questions to meet with the junior high student (of the same gender, not a family member) that they are mentoring and to go through the questions with them. The High School student will recap the mentoring conversation and turn it in. At the beginning of each month, each Junior High student will be asked to validate they have met with their mentor and will be asked to give a brief overview of the conversation. Once both of these are connected to each other, both students receive free entry for the next month to the Game Changer! Students who can't find someone to mentor or to be mentored by will check in with the Game Changer and be connected.

The community will be asked to sponsor x number of students they would like to support for the mentorship program and can pay recurring and monthly through the website or in person and can receive updates that include the types of mentoring conversations taking place.

How are we going to keep track of all this? Technology! Members of our team specialize in writing apps and websites that integrate. See 'The App' section for more details.
Hours of Operation
To plan for accompanying Cascade School's mission of engaging students in character development and rigorous education, we plan to have 5 sections of hours spelled out for use of the Game Changer:

All Student Use: Schoolwork Time
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday School Dismissal - 4:30 PM
Tuesday School Dismissal - 3:30 PM
This is a time where only students are allowed, but gaming will not be turned on, the pool and foos balls will be put away, and bowling is shut down. Social media accounts will be blocked for students using the wi-fi. The goal of this time is to provide an environment where rigorous education is continued as part of a regular way of life even after leaving the school. This time also will provide a time for background-checked adults to be in the building helping with tutoring.
High School Students Only
Monday, Wednesday 4:30 - 7:00 PM
Tuesday 3:30 - 7:00 PM
These game times are intentionally reserved for High-School students only (9-12). Junior-High students (6-8) are allowed to come during these times if accompanying their mentor and playing games with their mentor while on the premises.
High School Students Only
Friday School Dismissal - 7:00 PM
Junior High Students Only
Thursday 4:30 - 7:00 PM
These game times are intentionally reserved for Junior-High schoolers only (6-8). High-School Students (9-10) are allowed to come during these times if accompanying the Junior-Higher they are mentoring and playing games with them while on the premises.
General Public
Monday - Friday 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Saturday 2:00 - 10:00 PM
The general public will take precedence in their reservations over teens during these times if their reservations are made in advance. A teen with a reserved lane will not give way to a member of the general public showing up first-come, first-served. Bowling and game times may be reserved up to 1 week in advance by the general public.
To launch the center, we have 2 full-time volunteers to oversee day-to-day operations. Other volunteers may be a part of staffing and supervision.

We will have a full camera system installed for accountability for employees, volunteers, the general public, and students. Review of this camera system would be as needed to address issues that occur.
The App
You have heard a lot about "The App" in this document. We really view this app as the technological part that helps hold the Game Changer together. For students who don't have a phone, there will be offline options for every function. Here is, in brief, what we plan to have the app do:
Each gaming lounge area has a QR code that a student must physically scan with the app to "get in line" for it. Each bowling lane has a QR code that a student must physically scan with the app to "get in line" for it. A reservation is good for a one hour slot for the requesting students. A notification will be sent to each student 10 minutes before their activity is available. If they do not check in within 5 minutes of receiving the notification, it will move to the next student(s) in line.
Influential people who spot students doing good will have a monthly list of codes they can give out that represent free concessions. They can put one of these codes into a students app to 'give' that student the free item. The student needs to simply scan their app at the concessions to redeem their free item.
Mentorship Surveys:
Each month a mentorship survey is sent out to high school students to nudge them to engage in the conversation starters sent to them. When they, and their junior high student being mentored complete the survey, both of them unlock their free month.
The app will allow us to communicate with the students. We will celebrate students who received rewards, announce upcoming special events, etc.
Jobs Mentoring
One of the biggest difficulties facing teens in Cascade also happens to correlate with one of the biggest difficulties for employers in Cascade: Jobs.

We recognize that teens gathering in a common place will become a target for recruitment for those employers and individuals in Cascade who need employees.

Once again, this is where the Game Changer will come in to create a culture of mentorship in our teens and employers. This will also help meet another need in Cascade which is a dependable service-level work force.

The Game Changer will use its capital, beyond operation expenses, to incentivize teens to engage in our jobs mentoring program. Incentives are based on a points system, with each point representing a $1 an hour incentive that encourages healthy school and workplace behaviors. A well-employed teen could earn up to $5 more per hour than a teen who doesn't want to engage in mentoring.

Interested students will follow an application process, receive guardian approval, and volunteer to have certain records available to the Game Changer for the incentive program.
Game Changer Points System
Enrolled in dual-credit college course 1 point
Perfect school attendance in prior quarter 1 point
Perfect work attendance in prior quarter 1 point
No school/work disciplinary action in prior quarter 1 point
Engaged in weekly jobs mentoring 1 point
Game Changer Referral Certificate
Students enrolled in the jobs mentoring program for at least a year will be able to apply for a referral certificate to present to potential employers that they have successfully engaged in the Game Changer jobs mentoring program. This will increase their value in the job market wherever they go next!
Age Range
Students aged 14 - 19 will be eligible for the jobs mentoring program.
Employer Benefit
Beyond creating a culture of membership for the teens, the jobs mentoring program will also create a culture of excellence for employers. Employers who partner with or recruit through the Game Changer will have the peace of mind of hiring teens who have something to gain through positively re-enforced proper workforce behaviors. If a teen shows up late, has an argument, or shows up improperly dressed, for instance, they have recourse through the mentoring program to encourage the teen to grow.
We'd love to roll all of this out in one summer. However, we know that it is not practical or the best approach to a healthy Teen Center.

We have broken the effort into 3 different phases that will be used in our communications so our stakeholders and teens will know the progress we are making.
Phase One - Startup
In Phase One we will meet the following objectives:
Phase One Requirements:
To begin Phase One, we will need to raise approximately $24,000. If we can 
 secure a donated building, this number will drop to approximately $8,000.
Pledged donations and/or grants should equal $24,000 a year.
To begin Phase One, we will need to recruit a teen advisory board and at 
 least 3 volunteers.
Phase One Target Timeline:
We'd love to be entering Phase One in September of 2021.
Phase Two - Transition
Phase Two is where we will move into a self-funded business model. Our primary sources of income will be the bowling lanes. In Phase Two we will meet the following objectives:
Phase Two Requirements:
To begin Phase Two, we will need to raise approximately $165,000. This will pay for electrical setup, lane and equipment purchase, lane installation and 
 additional insurance. If a different building is needed, we will need to raise 
 an approximate additional $5,000 for the first year. We will need to recruit at least 2 more volunteers to help with lane management and supervision. Ideally, these would be responsible teens who 
 catch the vision of 'owning' their teen center.
Phase Two Target Timeline:
We'd love to be entering Phase Two in March of 2023
Phase Three - Capital Returns
Phase Three is where it all comes together. The bowling center will be up and running providing a consistent source of income. The teen mentorship sponsors will be experiencing returns through reports and the number of sponsors and other donors will be increasing. In Phase Three we will meet the following objectives:
Phase Three Requirements:
Beyond completing Phases 1 and 2, to begin Phase Three, we will need to have reached a working capital of approximately $6,500 a month. To ensure stability and longevity throughout the program, we should have approximately $39,000 on hand before we launch the program.
Phase Three Target Timeline:
We'd love to be entering Phase Three in March of 2024.