Teen-Themed Summer Activities, Venues in Detroit

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There's a lot of fun for families with children in Detroit this summer. But what if you have teens? Most adolescents would rather have a root canal than do "kiddie" activities. Happily, there's lots of teen-themed fun in the Motor City, too. Most activities are cheap. Some are even free.

Hip-Hop Rap Video Contest

Have teens who love rap or hip-hop? Detroit One wants to hear from and see them. Sign teens up to make violence prevention music videos to raise awareness about community safety. Videos will be entered in a competition that happens Saturday, June 8, at the Detroit School of Arts (123 Seldon, Detroit). Activities begin at noon. Special guest will be DJBJ of 107.5, the Detroit Youth Choir, City Council President Charles Pugh, and others. Get entries in by June 1 to Detroitone@gmail.com. If you can't get an entry ready in time, come and cheer others! Did I mention prizes? Yep -- there are $200 Foot Locker gift cards, among others.

Orion Music Festival

This is one music festival especially suited to older adolescents. Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, Belle Isle will host a lineup of electronic rock and metal music, including grunge, thrasher, punk, indie, experimental -- all the genres dear to a teen's heart. The Dankles lists bands: Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Dropkick Murphys, FLAG, Bassnectar, Destroid, Gogol Bordello, Rise Above -- over 25 bands will perform. Along with music, guests get a traveling Metallica sideshow, featuring band member shticks: Hetfield's custom cars and bikes, a house of horrors courtesy of Hammett, a Trujillo-style skateboard show, and more. Orion Fest is actually pretty affordable, with tickets starting at $150 (that's like $6 per concert). Music begins at noon and goes all day.

Detroit Public Library H.Y.P.E

As an educator, I can't "hype" this one enough. The DPL hosts a summer of hands-on activities for teens ages 13-18. There is something for everyone. The H.Y.P.E. summer kicks off June 18. There's textile designing, crafting, bike maintenance and customizing, readers' theater, print-making, multimedia art, robotics, technology, inventions, sewing, reading clubs, and lots more. Check the blog for dates and times. These activities are provided free, courtesy of different nonprofits.

Detroit Institute of Arts Drop-In Workshops

Workshops are free with museum admission, which is free to residents of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties. Kids over 12 don't need adult supervision. Summer workshops are held Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. In July and August, drop-in workshops are held Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Theoretically, your teen could get free art lessons all summer long. And what a globe-trotting selection of media -- clay, beading, textiles, paint, paper, mosaics, musical instruments, origami, sculpture, and more. It's travel, history, art, science, math, religion, and culture rolled into one. Plus, there are free concerts, traveling exhibits, and permanent collections to get lost in. Extend experiences by giving her a journal and assigning her to write up project directions and teach to younger siblings. Provide a sketch book for drawing pieces and a camera to photograph. Have her pack lunch, eat in the cafeteria (enjoying free Wi-Fi), and you have a summer of no-cost educational adventure, compliments of the DIA.

An educator, arts geek, social activist, mom, and Michigan native, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about events in her state's most pivotal city of Detroit.

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