By Jack Mayne At least a couple of Burien teens credit a city-sponsored youth program with helping them make friends which one said was much better than spending time with a smart phone. At a special meeting Monday night (July 25), the Burien City Council heard about the city-sponsored program from Patricia Meijia, Burien teen program assistant. The city has three youth-led summer programs it runs each year. One is an after school program and a late night program, both at Sylvester Middle School, and an intercity basketball program with Tukwila and with people at a Skyway apartment complex. The after school program offers a number of free craft classes, including wood burning and oil painting, Meijia said. The late night program is open to all youth, including high school age. ‘Cool to see’ The basketball program has evolved into youth from Tukwila, Skyway and Burien all playing on spontaneous teams where Meijia said it was “cool to see” friendships developing. She said these participating teens are not able to be on regular school teams, but they want to play on teams and to travel to play other teams and they wanted more support and resources. Two participants in the youth program told the Council about their participation: [embed]https://youtu.be/UKGeFMS9ARA[/embed] Steve Roemer, Parks, Arts, Recreation and Cultural Services Director, said he would bring to the next Council meeting an “early action item” that would duplicate the Sylvester after school model and extend the city programs to high school age teens at Highline High School. “What’s been happening at Sylvester is phenomenal, we have been connecting with so many kids out there and I keep hearing these kind of stories,” Roemer said. “These guys wrote their own speeches tonight, we had nothing to do with that and they just nailed on the head of what these programs are and it’s real impressive and something we need to invest in.”]]>