In the days before classes ended for the summer at Northeast Middle school, seventh-grader Emily Rognrud prepared for one of the most common summertime rituals.
"At the beginning of July, I'm going to drive to Colorado with my family and my brother's friend's family," she said.
When asked whether she liked the prospect of a long car trip, the teenager said, "Not really, I have to sit next to my little brother."
Emily and some of her schoolmates talked about their collective summer plans. Besides car trips there will be camp, classes and other structured activities.
Do they ever want to just do nothing?
A unison response, "YES!"
Apparently sleeping in, watching television and hanging out with friends are highly coveted activities.
However, seventh grader Jasmine Powell says if she's not doing something, her parents will find something for her to do.
"If you're not going to do anything, you're going to have to do chores," she explains.
According to eighth grader Connor Schachtele, idle teenage hands may find more to do than take out the trash. He says bad things can happen when kids get bored.
"Then you go and get in trouble," he explains. "Because that's what happens when kids get in trouble, they just get bored and find something to do and sometimes that's against the law."
For instance, Connor says one time, some kids spray painted on his grandfather's garage and he says it cost $5,000 to fix.
Of course, not every bored teen is looking for trouble. But trouble has been known to find young people with nothing better to do.
So city libraries and parks, like Northeast Park, offer a host of activities. Park director Heidi Miller sits outside the park building, outlining some of the summer plans.
"Well, we're going to have a girls group, ceramics class, an art class. We're starting our two-on-two basketball league next Thursday," Miller says.
Northeast Park is a sprawling, 35-acre green space with basketball courts, tennis courts, a water park, and plenty of room for baseball and soccer.
The park is open from noon until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and Miller says they offer free lunch, and starting this year, free dinner.
"We also serve as a place where kids -- the parents or grandparents, whoever they live with, know that they're at the park, they know they're OK," she says.
Some say city parks and libraries are playing a more prominent role in making sure kids are OK, than in the past. Hennepin County Comm. Gail Dorfman says there are several reasons why.
"Times have changed. Financial pressures on families have changed," Dorfman says. "So in the old days, you often had a parent that was at home -- that you could have this free and easy summer, but you did have a parent around that was monitoring what kids were doing."
Dorfman is a member of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board, and a former chair of the board. The YCB draws its resources from several city and county agencies. Board members are city, county and state-elected officials.
Dorfman says the group not only helps develop youth initiatives, but they receive regular input from the young people they serve.
"The one thing we were hearing from a lot of kids in Minneapolis is, 'Sometimes I don't take advantage of programs, because I don't feel safe walking there,'" Dorfman says.
The Youth Coordinating Board responded by sponsoring a free bus system to safely transport kids in particularly troubled parts of town to and from activities.
Dorfman says the board is trying to provide a counterbalance to the forces competing for teenagers time. But they need help reaching kids and their parents to let them know what's out there.
The problem is, the city's parks, schools and libraries all offer scores of different programs. Dorfman says there needs to be a one-stop shop where parents and kids can find all the information.