10 Fun, Local Activities for Teens

Finding something fun for teenagers to do in their spare time can be a challenge. We took a look around Kingsport to find some exciting activities for teens to check out, no matter what they’re interested in! Here are our top 10 suggestions:

1. Take a Cooking Class

Justin and Corrinne Carrabello combined their backgrounds in the restaurant industry and education to open Atlas Culinary Concepts, where they teach a variety of cooking classes for all ages. In April, Atlas is offering several classes specifically geared toward teens ages 12-17, including Hand Pies, Fresh Pasta, Ravioli, and Stromboli. Teens can also take classes with their parents or guardians in family classes for all ages. April’s family classes include Sushi, Pizza, Baked Donuts, Cinnamon Rolls, and Apple Pie. Atlas even offers a class focused on one of the most essential cooking tricks of the trade – knife skills. In this class, teens learn how to safely use knives in the kitchen while making salsa or bruschetta to practice different techniques. Sign up for classes on Atlas Culinary Concepts’ website.

Atlas Culinary Concepts
325 Clinchfield St.

2.  Become a Lifeguard

Being a lifeguard is a great way to make friends, earn some cash, learn job skills for the future, and contribute to your community. American Red Cross Lifeguard Training courses are offered at the Kingsport Aquatic Center, teaching teens 15 and up how to prevent, recognize, and respond to water-related emergencies and to provide care for victims of injuries and sudden illness until EMS personnel can take over. Sign up by May 6 to participate in the May session. Students must be 15 years old by the last day of class and be able to complete a few swimming prerequisites to take the course. Earning certification is a big step toward getting a great job as a lifeguard in a variety of settings!

Kingsport Aquatic Center
1820 Meadowview Pkwy.

3.  Try Out Law Enforcement

Teens who think they may be interested in a career in law enforcement can get a taste of what it’s like by joining Kingsport’s Explorer Program. Open to ages 14-21, the Explorer Program is a branch of the Boy Scouts of America. During weekly meetings, Explorers have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers with different areas of expertise in law enforcement, discussing topics like handcuffing procedures, basic firearms familiarization, crime scene investigation, radio communications, self-defense, and much more. To apply, fill out the application packet, and if approved, applicants will undergo a background investigation. Other requirements apply – see more details here, or contact the program coordinator, Sgt. Justin McConnell, at 423-229-9300 for more information.

Kingsport Police Department
200 Shelby St.

4. Get Involved in STEM

For teens with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Kingsport’s STREAMWORKS program is ideal. STREAMWORKS serves as a way for kids and teens to have fun in project-based STEM activities while getting them excited about opportunities in higher education and technical fields. Described as “the hardest fun you will ever have,” STREAMWORKS programs include the Robot Drone League and Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) competitions, which challenge students in K-12, community colleges, and universities from all over the world to design and build remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) to tackle missions modeled after scenarios from the ocean workplace. STREAMWORKS also offers summer camps in June and July where teens can learn computer-aided design (CAD), electronics and circuitry, coding, and mechanics.

ETSU/Valleybrook Campus
122 Pickens Road

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people while providing a much-needed service in the community. It also looks fantastic on a resume! Organizations all over Kingsport need volunteers – here are a few opportunities for teens: 

  • Packing food boxes: Second Harvest Food Bank needs volunteers ages 10 and up to pack food to be distributed to residents of eight local counties. Shifts are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Deliver meals: Meals on Wheels volunteers pick up meals between 10 and 10:30 a.m. on weekdays once or twice a month and deliver them to Kingsport residents. Drivers must be at least 16 years old. Delivering or cooking for Meals on Wheels counts toward required volunteer hours for TN Promise and Hope Scholarships.
  • Help with landscaping: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport is looking for volunteers to do weekly landscaping tasks at their location at 1 Positive Place off Stone Drive. This is a great activity for a small team of people or a family. Ages 16+ with adult supervision.

See more volunteer opportunities at the United Way of Greater Kingsport’s website or click the links above to learn more.

6. Learn About Nature

Bays Mountain Park offers several nature programs on a variety of topics during the spring and summer. These include:

  • Frog Talk – Spend the evening listening to the natural symphony of the frogs that call Bays Mountain home and learn how to identify a frog by its call.

  • Mushroom Hike – Get down and dirty identifying these interesting organisms found throughout the park.

  • Wildflower Hikes – Enjoy the bright colors of spring viewing wildflowers while hiking around Laurel Run Park, Exchange Place, or Bays Mountain Park.

  • Raptor Tour – Learn how these high-flying carnivores use their keen eyesight and talons to catch their prey.

  • Turtle Talk – Get to know these reptiles by seeing them up close and learn the secrets to their long lives.

  • Bear Aware – Figure out what to look for and what to do if you encounter a bear.

  • Pond Life – Catch and observe critters that live in the shallow water of the Bays Mountain reservoir.

  • Wolf Howling – Hear the chilling chorus of the wolf pack. 

  • Snakes Alive! Learn about the different species of snakes that call Bays Mountain Park home.

Nature programs are $3 per person unless otherwise stated. Group rates of $2 per person are available if 15 or more tickets are purchased at one time. 

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can get help earning merit badges at Bays Mountain as well – call 423-229-9447 for more information.

Bays Mountain Park
853 Bays Mountain Park Road

7. Play a Sport

Kingsport Parks & Recreation offers lots of fun ways for teens to get active and make new friends. Some are even free! 

  • Basketball: Teens 18 and under can play basketball for free at the V.O. Dobbins Sr. Complex at 301 Louis St. and Lynn View Community Center at 257 Walker St. Basketball open gym hours are Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Volleyball: For just a $15 registration fee, teens 13 to 14 years old can join the Parks & Recreation 14U volleyball team. Leagues begin in mid-May and end in early July, so be sure to register by the end of April. Call 423-229-9460 for more information.

  • Disc Golf: Borden Park, 901 Lamont St., features the Eagle’s Nest, a novice-level 18-hole disc golf course that meanders through flat, wooded terrain throughout the park. Another 22-hole disc golf course is located at Warriors’ Path State Park. 

Kingsport Parks & Recreation

8. Take an Art Class

Teens with an interest in art will enjoy honing their skills in drawing, painting, and sculpture at Impressions Fine Art. After-school drawing and painting classes are available once a week as well as home school art classes for teens 16 and under; and for ages 14 and under, the gallery offers Saturday sculpture classes. From July 14-19, the gallery will host its annual Summer Art Camp. Taught by Kingsport artists and educators Patti Lawrence and Anne Gurney Thwaites, “Artapalooza” gives kids 14 and under a chance to learn about art history, elements and principles of design, and famous artists while creating with a multitude of art mediums including paint, pastels, clay, cardboard, recyclables, markers, paper, glue, and more. Participants will also get to host their own opening reception at the gallery on Friday afternoon. Cost is $175 per person. For more information or to register, email the gallery at email@impressionsfineart.org. 

Impressions Fine Art
246 Broad St.

9. Give Skateboarding a Try

Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park, which is expected to open its new location in Brickyard Park in late April 2022, welcomes skateboarders of all ages. The 10,000-square-foot concrete skate park features two bowls, one of which is 12 feet deep; a streetscape course with a grinding rail and steps; dirt moguls; and spectator bleachers. Admission is free and the park is built to accommodate bicyclists in addition to skateboarders. Make sure to follow This is Kingsport on social media so you don’t miss out on the park’s grand opening date, expected to be announced very soon. 

For newbies to skateboarding, Surfer Today offers these tips for having fun and staying safe: 

  • Visit a skate shop to get the best board for your weight and height
  • Wear thick socks that cover your shins
  • Wear a helmet and knee pads
  • Get comfortable riding your board before trying to learn tricks
  • Learn to fall safely
  • Ask for advice from fellow skateboarders

Scott Adams Memorial Skate Park
Brickyard Park
717 W. Center St.

10. Get Into Gaming

A tabletop role playing game (RPG) can be defined as a fun, structured, cooperative activity with predictable rules and unpredictable outcomes. RPGs are enjoyed around a table where each person plays as a character in an interactive world facilitated by a game master. Dungeons & Dragons may be the most well-known RPG, played by millions of people around the world. At Goforth Gaming Shoppe, players gather to enjoy games like D&D as well as Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, Pioneer, Warhammer 40K, and more with a likeminded community of gamers. Goforth Gaming Shoppe is open evenings starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and afternoons starting at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Goforth Gaming Shoppe
415 E. Sullivan St.

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