MADISON, NJ - After a decade of being isolated in the back of the building, the Madison YMCA opened the brand new Boszhardt Family Teen Center on Thursday, Oct. 18.

It is located immediately upon entering the building on the left side and it has everything a kid could want ranging from comfortable chairs, computers, video games, foosball, pinball, air hockey and really just a place to chill and relax. Youngsters can do their homework there, play games or just socialize.

President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Mann said she is excited about the new location. She said a great deal of credit goes to Andrew Boszhardt who donated the money for the center.  The old space was adequate, but many people didn’t know it was there, she said.  

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“It’s really a tough decision when you take something out of one use for something else,” she said. “Our goal here is to ensure that teens have structured productive time together.”

 The planning started last year when one of the members of the Family Center of Management Committee saw a need to create a new space for the teens, she said.

They decided the center would provide a greater need than a racquetball court, which was previously there.  So, the room was opened up, the door was fixed and it was accessorized for kids.  

“We were really finding that the growing need for teens to have places really warranted us doing this,” Mann said. “Part of what we were trying to do is make it clear to teens in the community that we’re here and we’re here for you.”

Many families are thrilled about the new center, she said. Not only does it provide kids with a place to hang out, but also somewhere to go after school when parents aren’t home.

Emily Galbraith, the youth and teen director said the location is amazing because it makes her job a lot easier. Her office is in the center, so not only will she be interacting with the youngsters, but she will be supervising them as well. Now kids can be as loud as they want and have fun, Galbraith said.

One of those kids is Tyler Bongo, who is a member of the YMCA team leaders program. Bongo, who is a senior at Oratory Prep in Summit, said he is thrilled about the teen center because he is always at the “Y” for meetings and it’s a place to afterwards.

“I think it’s great,” Bongo said.