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Jaden Hazelton, 11, skates at the skatepark in the Bemidji City Park while Eric Bankey, 13, follows on his bike Saturday at the June 7 Youth Rally. Malachi Petersen | Bemidji Pioneer

Youth take over Bemidji City Park

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BEMIDJI -- Area youth descended on Bemidji City Park on Saturday for fun and games at the 14th annual June 7th Youth Rally.

The rally, otherwise known as J7 for the June 7 date, brings together hundreds of teenagers every year to kick off the summer.

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Joe Czapiewski, an adult advisor for the Bemidji Youth Advisory Commission, said the event hosts numerous activities such as a Fear Factor contest, a skating tournament, a volleyball tournament and singing from local youth artists.

"It's a fun day. It's kind of the way that kids can kind of kick off the summer in a nice, safe environment," Czapiewski said.

Hannah Sorenson, a senior at TrekNorth and president of the BYAC, said the event gives youth a way to have fun while being safe. "We're trying to have a day to give youth the opportunity to have safe, sober, great fun," she said.

According to BYAC member Hope Hickman, J7 gives her fellow teenagers a way to get to know each other better.

"It's fun to get together with people from different schools who you don't usually interact with," she said.

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