socially distant activities for teen

Our 14 year old son has been really suffering from the social isolation of COVID combined with already-existing mild social difficulties, and recent crises with depression and anxiety. He loves drama/theatre, biking, gardening, making music (makes beats, plays guitar & piano) and talking politics. He does not want more "virtual" connection in his life and we're looking for socially distant activities with other teens close to Berkeley that would give him some form of social connection. Any ideas? Thanks. 

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Gardening is good. Outside in the sun is safer. And if you have a yard, the teenagers can stay more than 6' apart easily while chatting. I suggest two projects for two different areas in the yard that don't need teamwork. Then he could invite someone over to garden and chat. One prunes the roses, the other weeds the veggies. Or whatever. 

My daughter and three of her friends (the same three every time), have been meeting up at a small neighborhood park once or twice a week for months. They each bring their own lunch and their own towels to sit on at a social distance. Sometimes they will do parallel crafts, sometimes kick a soccer ball. I have been very impressed, they came up with this plan on their own. Does your son have a couple of friends with whom they could set up a similar situation?

Performing Academy (formerly Lamorinda Theatre Academy) has some in person classes (stable cohort of 12).  Specifically on their website, I see a 2 week Broadway Boot Camp for ages 10-15.  It's in Lafayette.  They also are doing virtual productions, which is not idea, but maybe he'd like the interaction.  It's a hard time.

I could have written your post exactly. My 14 year old son is feeling the exact same way. The only in-person activity he's been doing is getting together with his pod of 3 neighborhood friends to go mountain biking in the hills around us. It does a world of good for them to be able to do this. My son also loves music and writes beats and is always looking for people to collaborate with. If you'd like to ask the moderator for my email address, maybe we could connect them.

So sorry he’s going through this! Good for you for reaching out to your community for tips. 

My first thought is to join a social-learning pod. I have saved the info from two families I saw on Nextdoor yesterday (Oct. 4th) looking for teens who like the outdoors and are planning some really neat activities - message me and I can give you that info if you’d like. 
I think this would be a great way to meet his needs and restore his sense of belonging and provide some levels of friendship. 
BHS has a biking club also, not sure of the details but it’s another idea for a safe outdoor distanced form of socialization doing something he likes.

if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can post your own pod/group idea, like a distanced and masked gardening, biking or etc group at a set time and day each week. I see a lot of parents reaching out on behalf of their young teens in a similar situation as your son so you’d probably find some new friends! He’s not alone, and hopefully your efforts will be fruitful and not only will he find pleasant companionship and a restored sense of esteem, but also learn that life will bring down times, but you can get through them and overcome the sad period. Hugs! 


If he has any interest at all in any of the industrial arts, The Crucible in Oakland runs awesome classes for teens   One of my kids attended a camp over the summer and their covid protocols were excellent and consistent, and he met a few like-minded kids.  He's even met a friend from that camp a few times to hang out - the crucible seems to attract some pretty cool people.  It's not just for kids - in addition to the camps, they run weekend classes year-round for older teenagers and adults.