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Youth Needs in Shelton

As with many other towns and cities across the nation, the needs of Shelton’s youth do not receive top priority in Shelton. The city does not have a Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, or Big Brothers–Big Sisters organization here.

A small skateboard park regularly struggles to stay open near a WalMart parking lot, dependent upon private donations. Youth recreation programs, public libraries, and most county and city parks are all struggling with cuts in staffing and funding––or facing closure altogether.


SOCK an exception from 1997 - 2012

From its downtown Shelton location, SOCK’s youth programs enabled children and teens to find a connection––as well as a safe place––to channel their energy through sports and recreation activities, and learn ethics and skills that would serve them throughout their lives and careers.

Area families in poverty, stress

Mason County ranks near the bottom of Washington’s 39 counties in terms of per-capita income. In some sections of the county, particularly rural areas where separate families and small communities subsist, conditions of extreme economic deprivation exist.

Struggling families can make poor choices in attempting to solve economic and family problems. Negative family behavior (substance abuse, poor parenting skills, lack of employment) contributes to truancy, delinquency, failing grades, battering, and child abuse.

Youth stats at a glance

According to the 2009 Northwest Area Foundation Indicators, Mason County had 16.2% of its youth ages 16-19 currently not attending school and not working. This figure was twice as high as the Washington State average of 8.1%. The poverty rate of youth under 18 was 25% higher in our county than the state average (19% vs. 15%).

Mason County carried a 69% higher dropout rate (9.8% vs. 5.8%) than the state average. Our county’s teens were having babies at a 37% higher rate with juvenile arrests ranking 16% higher than elsewhere in Washington State.

SOCK targeted those at highest risk

SOCK targeted the young adults connected to Mason County’s struggling families—the special population at highest risk in our county—the teens who are transient, delinquent, truant or high school dropouts.

Utilizing an “All Welcome Here” nonjudgmental approach, SOCK provided the safe, supervised place that Mason County’s at-risk youth needed and truly wanted. The overall goal of SOCK was stated in its name––to Save Our County’s Kids––from a bleak future of unemployment, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, gangs, violence, and other aspects of downward social spiral.


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SOCK. PO Box 1013. Shelton WA 98584.
Contact us at (360) 427-3119 or email us at sock@sock.org