THE DEPOT YOUTH CENTER

Youth Programs

OUR AWARD-WINNING PROGRAMS

The Depot offers many programs and opportunities for Darien’s youth, helping them to build a foundation of confidence and a skill set to make healthy choices for life!

In 2019, four programs launched targeting middle school ages for the first-time! The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, endowed by a 3-year grant from The Darien Foundation, brings kids together to learn about social and emotional connections and Friday Night Friends, a drop-in fun, social experience is one of the Depot’s most popular programs for 7th & 8th graders.

In 2020-2021, there continued to be a focus on providing opportunities for youth to forge social and emotional connections with peers in a supervised, safe, non-judgmental, and relaxed environment.

Depot programs strive to provide skill-based opportunities that will increase self-confidence, self-esteem and well-being. And in some instances, act as a portal for youth to explore avenues of growth through service including volunteer opportunities, service projects and/or fundraising/community outreach.

High School Offerings

The Darien Depot is pleased to offer programs, events and activities throughout the year for Darien students entering 9th through 12th grades whether they attend public, private, or homeschool programs. Click on a program to learn more.

High School Events & Activities

The Depot Youth Center offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year for 9th-12th grade students in a judgement-free and safe environment. All public, private, or homeschooled teens are invited to attend.

Events and activities include:

  • 3×3 Basketball Tournaments
  • Band Nights
  • Depot Diner run by SLOD
  • Galentine’s Day
  • Movie Nights
  • Munch-a-thon
  • Open Mic Night
  • Pancake Breakfasts
  • “Teen Talk” Educational Discussions
  • 9th & 10th Grade Dances
  • Gingerbread Decorating
  • Depot Spring/Fall Clean-up

Please visit the Depot’s calendar to find upcoming events happening this month.

Middle School Offerings

As well as for high schoolers, The Depot Youth Center offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year for 6th-8th grade students, whether they attend public, private, or homeschool programs.

Middle School Events & Activities

The Depot offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year for Darien students entering 6th through 8th grades whether they attend public, private, or homeschool programs.

Events and activities include:

  • 6th Grade Ice Cream Social
  • Friday Night Friends
  • Pre-TOPS Mistletoe Magic
  • Pre-Tops Valentine’s Dance with Depot teens
  • Quiz Bowl

Please visit The Depot’s calendar to find upcoming events happening this month.

Middle School Program FAQ’s

Your Title Goes Here
Choose Love FAQ's

How many sessions are offered?

Choose Love is a full year program with 15 classes in total

What Grades is this program for?

5th, 6th & 7th

Who facilitates this program?

Trained Choose Love educators, Laura Emerson and Tina Tramantano (Hindley School Teachers)

How many spots are available?

25 students per session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

The kids are taken through ther Choose Love curriculum each week and do a multitude of activities that help build their core competencies and skills beyond academics. The class is designed to help kids thrive emotionally, mentally, and socially, while teahcing them to cultivate a welcoming and safe environment for all.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Garden Club FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Wednesdays 3pm-4:30pm

How many sessions are offered?

6, 5 week sessions

Session 1 : 9/7-10/12

Session 2 : 10/19-11/16

What Grades is this program for?

6th-8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

Asst Program Director

How many spots are available?

12 Students per session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

In this program for girls the members can expect to learn about empowerment and self care in a tea party style environment

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

8th Grade SADD FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Two Thursdays per month

How many sessions are offered?

Offered First Semester

9/8-12/15

What Grades is this program for?

8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

High School Student Leaders

How many spots are available?

25 Students Per Session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

In this program members can expect to learn about the challenging decisions they may be faced with as a young teen as well as learning to overcome them and make the correct choices. Students will have an opportunity to learn from their high school peers in a safe environment while participating in different projects and activities that help bring awareness of these tough decisions to our students.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs. Program Director John Novak helps monitor this class.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Intro to High School FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Thursdays from 3:30-4:30

How many sessions are offered?

One 5 week sessions

3/30-5/4

What Grades is this program for?

8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

High School Student Leaders

How many spots are available?

20 students per session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

In this program 8th grade students will have the opportunity to work with their High School peers and prepare themselves for their years in high school. Students will be given the opportunity in a table talk like environment to dig through the knowledge of their high school leaders and ask any questions they can think of to ease the stress of transitioning into high school.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Leadership Club FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Two Tuesdays Per Month 3-4pm

How many sessions are offered?

Offered Full Year

9/20-5/9

What Grades is this program for?

7th-8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

Assistant Program Director

How many spots are available?

25 Students Per Session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

In this program members can expect to participate in a multitude of projects that help build leadership skills. Activites will include; Shark Tank, public speaking, team building excersises, critical thinking challenges, and a lot more.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Friday Night Depot & Drop Zone FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Drop Zone: Fridays, 2:45-5:30pm

Friday Night Friends: 6:30-9:30pm

How many sessions are offered?

Offered Full Year

What Grades is this program for?

6th-8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

Program Director John Novak, Asst Program Director Rod Ramirez, Part Time Staff

How many spots are available?

Open Enrollment

What kind of activities do the kids do?

In this program members can expect to experience a laid back fun Friday environment filled with games, food, music, and so much more. FND and Drop Zone are designed to be a fun way for kids to end the week and a safe place where they can destress. Each week will have a different food and milkshake theme as well as new fun games to play.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Weird Science FAQ's

What day and time does the program run?

Thursdays, 3:30-4:30pm

How many sessions are offered?

2, 5 week sessions

Session 1: 1/5-2/2

Session2: 2/9-3/16

What Grades is this program for?

6th-8th Grade

Who facilitates this program?

Program Director John Novak

How many spots are available?

12 Students Per Session

What kind of activities do the kids do?

Weird Science registrants can expect to participate in a variety of activities that will challenge them to think critically as well as put their teamwork and problem-solving skills to the test. This program is filled with fun STEM experiments like building an active volcano to learning about chemical reactions and how to control to create cool new objects.

What is the staff to kid ratio?

1/10 is the state requirement for youth programs.

How much is the program?

$75 dollar membership fee covers your child for the entire year of programs. Once you are a member you can sign up for all programs in your child’s grade level.

Should the kids bring anything with them?

Supplies will be provided by The Depot. The concession stand is always open during program hours so a couple dollars is always welcome for the kids to bring.

Please visit The Depot’s calendar to find upcoming events happening this month.

*Across multiple national surveys and studies from the past five years in the United States, there is evidence that many kids are in crisis and the percentages below are increasing:

%

10th-12th Graders who agree “I often feel left out/lonely”

%

Teens who spend 3+ hours a day on electronics and are 35% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide

%

DHS students who do not finish college in four years

%

Teens who say anxiety or depression is a major problem

*2019 US News Best High School Rankings, Dr. Dan Brenner, Dr. Jean Twenge;  Atlantic Magazine  September 2017; Pew Research Center, February 20, 2018.

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