Amid all the talk about closing Long Creek Youth Development Center is another view on why it should remain open. 

I recently retired from there after a 31-year career. During that time, I was proud of the work that went on at the facility on a day-to-day basis.  There probably was not one juvenile who was happy about having been sent there initially. They arrived with many chips on shoulders that had to be dealt with, and it did not happen overnight. In my opinion the majority of those not only lost the chip, but also gained something positive from their time there. Taking responsibility for their own actions was a huge step and, unfortunately, not everyone does that. 

Recently, at a local restaurant, a man came up to me and asked if I worked at Long Creek. He introduced himself to me and stated he was a former resident. We started talking and reminiscing about when he was there. He recalled how he had a big chip on his shoulder and fought the system for most of his stay. However, before we parted ways, he told me that he was sure that if he had not gone to the Youth Center, he would be dead now due to the path he was on. 

My point is that many juveniles who spent time there are better off for having done so. The mission has always been for rehabilitation, and it is sad that not everyone takes advantage of the opportunities. 

Thomas Whitcomb
Cape Elizabeth

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