San Carlos Youth Center spreads joy at their monthly dance


Camran Hitchcock

Students gather around the DJ set to request a song.

Camran Hitchcock, Staff Writer

On April 19, local middle school students gathered at the San Carlos Youth Center, where a fun-filled night of dancing, socializing, and eating awaited them.

Every month, the San Carlos Youth Center hosts a dance catered to the students of the San Carlos middle schools such as Tierra Linda and Central. The dances typically take place on a Friday and last from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m..

“The dance is a safe thing for kids to do on Friday nights,” said Caitlyn Matoso, the San Carlos Youth Center’s Recreation Coordinator of Youth Development. “It’s also super important for their social development to go back to events like this.”

Each dance features a different theme in order to keep the activities and decorations new and exciting. This month’s theme, “Hollywood,” featured a photo backdrop with props for pictures along with a chocolate fondue station and an assortment of sweets for dipping.

A ticket raffle with a chance to win a set of AirPods was also set up in addition to the other activities. In the gym, multi-colored lights and a DJ entertained the students with music and dancing.

In order to keep up with the monthly dance schedule, the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), which is made up of local students, helps the Youth Center staff coordinate and set up the event.

“The YAC represents the youth of San Carlos, whether it’s concerning city council meetings, traffic or transportation. For the dances, the YAC typically advises us on themes and pricing,” Matoso said. “They’ll also do the coat check and help us supervise the dance.”

Many YAC members found that helping out at the dances was not only enjoyable, but also rewarding in many ways.

“I thought volunteering at the dance was a really good leadership idea,” said Lora Simakova, a Carlmont freshman and volunteer. “I was also given the idea by other people who are part of YAC.”

Once the event was coordinated and scheduled, the Youth Center relied on announcements at schools, flyers, posters, and word of mouth to promote the dance.

“I heard about the dance on the speaker at my school during morning announcements,” said Joanna Nelson, another dance attendee.

Throughout the duration of the dance, many students enjoyed the various activities set up for attendees while hanging out with their friends.

“The best moment I had tonight was the chocolate fountain and taking pictures with my friends. I would come again, as the dance was a lot of fun with all my friends,” said Elia Maxey, a student at the dance.

Although the dance was a lively experience for many, some students found that the dance could have been improved with a few changes.

“I would put in more lights in the gym because it’s really dark during the dance. I had to bring my phone flashlight out in order to see,” Nelson said.

Other students would have liked to see more activities and games seen at past dances.

“I would’ve added more games to the photo area or face painting,” Maxey said.

Despite their occasional faults, the San Carlos Youth Center dances continue to promote friendship and new experiences among attendees.

“We have a lot of new kids come every time and they all get to meet each other and become friends. It’s a really good experience, especially when you’re not allowed to go to the older dances designed for high schoolers,” Simakova said.