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Youth take over Bemidji City Park

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 Pioneer1 / 3
High school senior Gwenfrewin Burger sings and plays the piano Saturday at the June 7 Youth Rally in the Bemidji City Park. Malachi Petersen | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 3
Marley Lofthus (left) and Marshall Petrie (center) rush to the net to stop Joseph Jackson (right) frrom scoring during a volleyball game Saturday at the June 7 Youth Rally held in the Bemidji City Park. Malachi Petersen | Bemidji Pioneer3 / 3

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.

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.