A group of Dublin teens will have its say on the city's historic district.

A group of Dublin teens will have its say on the city's historic district.

This year's Dublin Teen Corps will meet with Historic Dublin Business Association president Eric Leslie next week to discuss what kind of activities could bring teens to the area.

Dublin volunteer coordinator Christine Nardecchia said she came up with the idea for Leslie and the teens to meet when the teen corps attended the State of the City address in March.

"Eric was talking to them. He said it was so refreshing to talk to teens about Historic Dublin. That's when the idea hit me," said Nardecchia, who is in charge of the teen corps.

The Dublin Teen Corps, in its third year, is a free program offered to 20 sophomores, juniors and seniors in Dublin City Schools who are "interested in learning about local government," Nardecchia said. "We look at it as a way for kids to be inspired about what the local government does for them and how they can be involved."

The program hosts five classes during the summer, gives the teens journaling assignments and requires community service.

"They have to volunteer at least once a week," Nardecchia said. "They volunteer in communications, the tax department, at the (Dublin Entrepreneurial Center), for most of the summer camps, and they volunteer as a group at different special events. At the Fourth of July parade they'll be carrying a balloon. They'll volunteer at the Dublin Irish Festival and the Can-Am (Police-Fire) Games."

Volunteering and learning about different aspects of the community are core goals for the teen corps, so offering their opinions on Historic Dublin seemed like a natural fit, Nardecchia said.

Leslie said he's happy to receive the input.

"It's been a goal to connect with the younger demographic. We have those sweet shops that draw them, but what else does that demographic need? One group we want to fully understand is the high schoolers," he said.

The Dublin Teen Corps will take a tour of Historic Dublin on July 7. Leslie said he'll find out what kind of programming the students would like to see.

"We'll walk up and down High Street and talk about what's here," he said. "What are the gaps missing? There are all these little subcultures and sub-communities. What are we missing? What needs to be here that can create that dynamic?"

With the recent release of preliminary findings from the Bridge Street corridor study, Leslie said the discussion is timely because today's teens will be greatly affected by the study that will guide development over the next 20 to 30 years.

"They're our future. We shouldn't push them to the side," he said. "They matter and we need to show them they matter. It's not a sales pitch. I don't have anything to sell besides community. I want to implement their perspective and their ideals."

"These kids are 15 to 18. Some are college-bound. Many of them tell us they want to return to Dublin after college to start careers and families," Nardecchia said. "So why not get a slice of their brains and what they're thinking now?"

Leslie said he'll take the teens' opinions to members of Historic Dublin Business Association.

"Sharing that with the membership is first priority, and reshaping some of the scheduling we do for events down here," he said. "Their opinions weigh heavily."