Shopping spree at TeenStreet

Ever wondered how teens spend pocket money at TeenStreet (TS)? Follow communications team member Lisa on a shopping spree tour of TS 2016.
One of the first things you smell when you walk into the Interaction Zone hall are the French Fries. The food is good and filling at TS, but when the teenagers come out of the main meetings in the evenings they are often up for something hearty to eat. Fries, chicken nuggets and pizza may not be the healthiest options, but for €1.50, they are definitely sought-after. I love to buy the pizza, every day I come here with my friends.” says Simon, 17 from Sweden.
Right next to “Fun Food,” you’ll find the RAG (raise and give) stand. When first approaching it, I was confused by the sign advertising bricks for sale. Why would I buy a brick? When I looked closer, I found out that I wasn’t actually buying a real brick. For €1, 2 or 5, you can buy a fabric brick and write a word of encouragement on it, addressed to the teenagers receiving help from the “House of Joy” team in Kosovo. The notes were written in English, German, Spanish, Korean, Finish and many other languages.
The next stop on our shopping spree is the fruit stand. Not only do they sell all kinds of fruit but they also have sundaes, called “Banana Joe”– named after the cuddly gorilla hanging out in his hammock – and “White Mouse.”  
Turning right after the fruit stand, you’ll find the TS Shop. This is the place to go for anybody who forgot things like sunscreen, tooth brushes or their water bottle. All these items and more sport fashionable TS designs. You can also design your own T-shirt or hoodie for a wearable TS souvenir.
In various spots all over the TS venue, kiosk stands tempt you to buy snacks. Especially the smell of popcorn filling the dining room proves irresistible for many. While debating whether sweet or salty popcorn is the best, you are also encouraged to give your change for the RAG project instead of cluttering your wallet with it. While sitting next to the kiosk, I overheard conversations between service team members and customers. Some were just, “Here you are!” and “What would you like to have?” but others went much deeper.
Just before you exit the Interaction Zone towards the Sports Area, another small stand tempts you to buy mini-crepes. You choose the toppings (salami, cheese, cinnamon & sugar, icing sugar or Nutella). One crepes cost €1 EUR, and the profits fund OM projects.
The Coffee and Cocktail Bar is located on the first level of the Interaction Hall. Every coffee buyer is greeted with a warm smile, and if the service team members have enough time they also write a word of encouragement on your cup. Heike, from Germany, the leader of the Coffee and Cocktail Bar, shared, “We encourage teenagers to give the 50 cents refund, which they get when they return the cocktail glass, to the RAG project and many do it.”
Not only are your physical needs met at TS, but also your spiritual ones. A huge book shop sits next to the dining room. Micha, from Germany, the book shop supervisor estimated the goods for sale:” We offer about 350 German and 250 English books, more than 100 CDs and also some DVDs.”
Sarah, a service team member from Germany, added, “We also sell odds and ends. That’s what the teenagers love—buying bracelets, post cards and other small gifts for their friends back home.”
In the same area as the Bookshop, you can find two smaller stands – easy to overlook. One of them is called Worte gestalten (create words). It sells books, postcards and posters created by Shamshad Ali (born 1956 in Dehli/India), a former Muslim, who – after he had given his life to Jesus – served onboard one of the OM Ships for two years, where he started to create pictures through writing. The other stand is a project called “Restore” that sells accessories made by women who escaped from human trafficking.
Wrapping up our shopping spree, I can definitely say, the money spent at TS is money well spent.