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Youth activity center looks for community support to stay open

Noiseland Webtech Factory

A new space for teens and youth is looking for community support to stay afloat. Noiseland-Webtech Factory is a youth activity center complete with games, a pool table and computers.

Cooper Hyde owns Noiseland with his family, and he said they’ve been funding the operation, including renting commercial space, on their own.

“It all started because me and my sister were homeschooled, and we discovered during those years that there really isn't anything to do in Homer for kids or teenagers,” he said.

Parents need for childcare only grew last year with earlier school start times.  The lack of a Boys and Girls Club and other after school programs has left many parents with few options.  

Youth can hang out at Noiseland for free, and Hyde said him and his sister provide supervision.  

“One of the things we do and we've always done is we stay open late on Friday and Saturday night, which is a key time that kids get bored and go do stupid things,” he said. “So we're trying to provide a smarter, safer, better alternative in an attempt to benefit the community as a whole.”

But the family can’t keep it open any longer on their own dime. They’ve fundraised some and have enough money for this month’s rent. But they estimate they need around $8,000 to stay open until the end of the school year.

In the long term, Noiseland may be absorbed by K-Bay Martial Athletics. The athletics organization stepped in to help by offering up an after school program last fall.

Kurt Leffler II is the executive director of the K-Bay Martial Athletics and he said the organization along with Noiseland, which is adjacent to the athletic center, have become Homer’s de-facto youth community center. He wants to take them one-step farther by moving their operations into the Homer Education and Recreation Complex, better known as the HERC.

“Our idea is we want to take the upper portion of the Herc and house our entire organization in there, he said. “So we'll have Noiseland which will be transforming to the Boys and Girls club and a technology learning education site. And of course we'll have the gym, we’ll have our weightlifting and martial combat sports program…”

He also wants to offer space for other programs and community organizations in town and plans to submit a proposal to lease a portion of the HERC. But the dream of moving into the building may be a long way off. Noiseland and K-Bay Athletics have not yet officially joined forces either.

Until then, Noiseland is hoping the community will support their operations until the end of the school year.

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.
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