Kids Today: A ‘Soup’ and play show strengths of our youth

Hmmm ... these young people today.

They’re up to plenty of good.

See for yourself and support two creative and cooperative community projects this week.

We refer to Kids’ Gorge Soup, and “The Kid Next Door” musical (details on page A1) opening Friday.

Both have a word in common and the emphasis is on the hard work of youth, but the beauty of both events is that they are collaborations of kids and adults: In one case, a dinner where kids get a real-life taste of what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and the other a theatrical production involving people of all ages.

If you ever wanted to find a way to support kids doing good things, this is the week to do so.

Tickets for the HRMS production are only $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and what you will see is at least three layers of community connections: on-stage youth and adult talent directed by Rebecca Nederhiser doing dialog and music written by Mark Steighner of Hood River Valley High School, on and around sets built by the engineering class.

It’s a real conjoining of talent, and the musical itself has plenty to say, with the uplifting but edgy blend that Steighner brings to bear so deftly, having worked with youth as musical director for three decades.

Kids’ Gorge Soup, in its third year, gives diners a chance to taste great soup and hear five young people give pitches in hopes of going home with start-up funds taken from the dinner proceeds.

Tickets were reduced to $25 this year and a few are left. The event is at 6:30 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar Winery, and it’s a chance to enjoy a meal and tap into set of community projects at their ground level. Gorge Soup organizers (there’s an adult version later in the year) saw fit, quite rightly, to expand the kids’ version to projects in addition to businesses. This change makes sense because in its first two years, the businesses the kids’ originated had a dominant theme of being nonprofits and doing things for the community, including the 2013 winner, New Leaf Gallery for young people.

Kids Soup and “The Kid Next Door” are prime examples of the way Hood River young people, and supportive adults, combine to help build community, and both deserve support.

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