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The Spot

By Eddie West

Staff Writer

In order to be successful in life, an individual must make proper decisions as well as build positive relationships with others.

Guidance for our county’s junior and senior high age youth in this area happens at The Spot.

The Spot’s goal is simple “build skills for healthy relationships through evidence-based programs to help junior and senior high teens make good choices, establish a solid foundation for life and positively impact their schools and community”.

While the goal may appear simple, navigating the complex social and economical obstacles youth face in today’s culture can prove to be overwhelming, even for those of adult age.

Located on Ward Avenue in Carthage, The Spot is open to all youth in grades five through 12, basically middle and high school age youth.

Each week day after school, youth congregate at The Spot for activities, lessons on decision making and an after school meal.

The Spot evolved from the former Campus Life program which Carthage resident Barbara Kannapel formed in the 1990s.

Now, Kannapel is director at The Spot which is an outreach program of Youth and Family Resource Network, a non-profit, faith-based organization.

“We want to be a source of motivation. Our goal is to reach youth,” relates Kannapel, who relies heavily on husband Don Kannapel, one of the community’s more talented musicians.

In addition to the Kannapels, The Spot’s staffs five part-time mentors who assist in presenting lessons pertaining to  making proper decision, building positive relationships, supervise activities as well as provide encouragement to the community’s youth.

In addition to life skills, inside The Spot, youth will find various popular games such as air hockey and pool. 

There’s also outdoor activities for those who visit The Spot, including basketball at the nearby Spring Street city basketball court.

For the more adventurous, activities can include a kayaking trip during the summer months.

Also, inside The Spot, Don Kannapel teaches free music lessons. Musical equipment, including an array of instruments, has been donated to The Spot.

In addition, part of The Spot’s life skills program is to teach youth to become involved in volunteering—to do their part in building a better community.

Each year, The Spot participates in a county clean up day picking up trash along roadways or in a public park.

“It teaches youth to be responsible, gives values and teaches them they can make a difference in their community,” explains Barbara Kannapel. “Our goal is to build strong families for the future through positive youth development.”

“We want to empower these youth so they become health parents for the next generations. Everyone is accepted here,” relates  Kannapel, who says the program is about inclusion and learning to respect differences of others. 

The Spot’s programs may also include camps or retreats designed to build leadership skills.


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