Where can middle and high school students land after school?
The Landing — where they will be treated to a free warm dinner, homework help, mentorship, games and activities, and now, thematic clubs.
Mike Phay, who is the lead pastor at First Baptist Church, started The Landing in 2011 as a safe place for teens to gather after school and get tutoring and a warm meal.
"Now, we're bringing in curriculum," said Steve Pine, the new executive director of Central Oregon Youth Development Inc.
This school year, The Landing has expanded its hours from three days a week to four days a week, allowing for more educational programs. The first is Drone Camp, scheduled for early October.
The free after-school program is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday on school days upstairs at First Baptist Church. The church allows the program to use an activity room and adjoining kitchen and dining room practically free of charge.
Central Oregon Youth Development Inc. operates the program along with After the Bell, an after-school program for elementary students that is located in a modular building at Pioneer Complex.
Grants, donations and fundraising supports The Landing as well, as do the many volunteers.
Onsite Coordinator Jamey Lambert and support staff Cayden Quinn are the two staff members who oversee the students and activities. Each day, a team of volunteers come in and prepare and serve dinner to the teens.
During the 2017-18 school year, The Landing served 150 students. More than 75 volunteers put in 1,200 hours, and between the two after-school programs, more than 8,000 meals were served.
Those numbers will go up this year with the extended hours and offerings at The Landing.
Part of Pine's job is to line up some curriculum programs, such as aviation, robotics, health science, environmental studies and culinary arts.
"Cayden, for example, is very interested in culinary arts, and he's a self-proclaimed great cook, so we're going to let him do a culinary club," Pine pointed out.
The first thematic club on the schedule is Drone Camp, set for Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 2, 4, 9 and 11.
Kevin Sivertson, an adjunct professor of unmanned aviation at Central Oregon Community College in Bend, will teach Drone Camp, which is limited to 25 students.
"We are providing the camp to expose students and society to the possibilities and consequences of unmanned technologies," Sivertson said.
"Unmanned technologies are influencing the largest employment sector in the world, transportation. Remotely piloted cars, trains, boats and aircraft will be changing the landscape of the workforce," Sivertson said. "At COCC, we prepare students for life and work in these new and exciting fields."
Drone Camp gives students the opportunity to learn how to fly safely and understand more about what goes on in the sky with airplanes, drones, rockets and helicopters. It helps pique interest in aviation and unmanned aviation careers and pathways to those careers at COCC. The camp will cover pilot decision making and responsibility concerning legality and ethics of new technologies.
"We want to share a positive, fun activity for anyone to enjoy and safely participate in," Sivertson said.
On the first day of Drone Camp, simulator stations will allow student to practice flying skills and have competitions in a virtual world. There will be quizzes and lectures on safe operations as well as vehicle demonstrations.
The second day, they will continue the simulators and also practice basic maneuvers and be introduced to safety features and protocols.
In the next session, students will practice take offs and landings and some more complex drone movements. They'll learn how to handle emergencies and maybe even get to do an obstacle course.
"We will finish the week by learning how to take good video footage from a drone and some additional smart features of the drones to make filming easier," Sivertson said.
In order to afford to put on these thematic camps at The Landing and to support the After the Bell program, Central Oregon Youth Development Inc. is planning a number of activities, the first being the Prineville Invitational Benefit Pickleball Tournament Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30 at the Crook County High School tennis courts.
"We have some beginners and some high-quality players from out of town coming to join our own beginners and high-level players," Pine said.
Free pickleball clinics are set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 12 and 19 and 9 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 15 and 22 at CCHS.
Early registration is underway for the tournament. Cost is $20 for adults and $5 for students through Sept. 21. Late registration is $25 for adults and $7 for students. Challenge teams, where four players challenge another four-player team, costs $15 per adult player and $4 per student player.
The event begins at 9 a.m. Sept. 29, and round robin tournament play starts at noon Sept. 30.
The event will include sponsorship opportunities, food vendors, raffles and prizes.
"If you're a raw beginner, the tournament is just supposed to be fun, a fun and games tournament, really, and then they'll get to see some real pickleball played," Pine said. "Come out and support the students by having fun, contributing to the cause, challenging yourself and your friends."
3-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday at First Baptist Church, 450 SE Fairview St.
For more information or to register for the pickleball tournament, visit www.centraloregonyouth.org