Wilton Warrior Words: Connecting with the community

Justin Rosenthal

Justin Rosenthal

Hearst Connecticut Media

Throughout my entire life, I have always enjoyed writing. As someone not particularly skillful at the art of verbal communication, I frequently utilize creative writing as a way of expressing myself; I simply find it easier to communicate thoughts and ideas through stories and poetry. However, at first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much for young people to do with their love for writing besides simply doing it in their own free time. Keeping a passion like this to yourself can feel isolating. Over the years, numerous pieces of mine have piled up, rotting away in notebooks and my Google Drive because I never had anyone with whom to share them. Eventually, I simply accepted the fact that creative writing would always be a personal thing for me. And then Trackside reached out to me.

Trackside is a nonprofit teen center in Wilton, and while it used to be on the receiving side of many jokes from my class, it has drastically evolved in recent years. It is now a hub of social activity among middle schoolers, largely as a result of both the dedication of its directors and the involvement of high school students. This year, Trackside has been offering weekly clubs, many of which are run by high schoolers as staff members. As I was involved with its student board my sophomore and junior year, I was contacted over the summer about whether or not I would be interested in running a club at Trackside during the school year. I was unsure at first, but I soon realized that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to pursue a passion of mine and help younger kids develop a love for it, too: Creative writing.

Wilton’s emphasis on community involvement is truly special. There are so many opportunities for youth to help out the community, and if there is a program someone believes to be missing, then it is incredibly easy to get it started. Now, every week, a close friend of mine and I head to Trackside to run our creative writing club. We develop lessons and activities, go through them with our group of middle schoolers, and have an absolutely phenomenal time each session. While creative writing simply used to be a personal interest, I am now able to fully embrace it by sharing my love for it with Wilton’s community.

To everyone in Wilton who feels alone concerning their passions, I encourage you to seek out a way to start a program in the community. Trackside has gifted me the opportunity to do this myself, and as daunting as it seemed at first to take charge and start something like this from scratch, it ended up being well worth the initial anxiety. During a year abundant with uncertainty, the club I started with my friend has been one of the few things that gives me the motivation to push on through the stress; for I always know that our next meeting is never more than a week away. If there is one thing I have learned this year, it is to never be afraid of pursuing your interests. In a community as tight-knit as Wilton, you are never truly alone.