St. Petersburg, FL
A positive youth activity program which offers development opportunities for teens, grades 6-12, through entertainment and special events.
TASCO, which stands for Teen Arts, Sports & Cultural Opportunities, offers youth development opportunities and activities for teenagers in grades 6-12 in St. Petersburg, Florida. TASCO is run by the St. Petersburg Recreation Department and is an award-winning national model for positive activity programs for teens - an at-risk age group. In contrast to other youth programs in other areas, the TASCO program takes innovative steps to allow teens to plan and coordinate their own activities. TASCO’s programming ranges from athletic activities, to educational and job skills opportunities, and entertainment and special events.
Nuts and Bolts:
- One of the most notable programs run by TASCO is the Impressions Teen Magazine, a multicultural quarterly written and produced completely by teens that is distributed to 120,000 middle and high school students countywide. Impressions allows youth to develop journalism and graphic design skills, as well giving them an outlet for self-expression.
- TASCO also offers a Website Design course through collaboration with 4H, a digital audio production class through the St. Petersburg Police Department Front Porch Initiative Grant.
- TASCO receives additional support from the Junior Leader program, which provides youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience under the direct supervision of recreation personnel. TASCO is funded jointly by the city ($600,000 annually) and the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County ($960,000).
- TASCO also has sports and social programming for youths. TASCO coordinates quarterly sports leagues, annual skateboard competitions, and mini-tournaments.
- The group also runs Club Saturday, a weekly entertainment program for grades 6 through 8, and Summer Extreme, a program that offers weekly city-wide indoor and outdoor activities for teens who are entering grades seven through twelve. Summer Extreme is co-sponsored by local business pledges and donations.
- The group also provides mentoring and drug education, and coordinates ‘Scrubbin’ da Burg,’ a city-wide clean- up event.
- All of these activities encourage youth to develop valuable skills, further their education, maintain healthy and active lifestyles, and participate in their communities.
- Though TASCO is characterized by meeting the specific demands of the St. Petersburg region, it shows success as a youth development organization which innovatively allows youths to design and run their own programs.