What started as a place to hang out with friends quickly grew into a full-time job for one Darien native.
Katelyn Sci started going to the Outback in New Canaan with her friends but after the then-director noticed how often she was there, she was offered a job.
"I hung out with a ton of New Canaan kids, so I was here more than anywhere else," Sci said. "I've been here for five years now and it's great because I sit at the front desk and the kids recognize me and as much as things have changed over the years, there is still the consistency of seeing me everyday."
Sci recently was named the teen coordinator at the Outback and with the new role come some new responsibilities.
"Basically I still play the same role I always have in the sense that I'm at the front desk but now I can help plan events and community service projects as well as helping do the things that need to be done," she said.
Community service is a passion of Sci's who said she talked with kids and the board of directors about doing even more projects around town.
"I would love to do more community service and it would be really cool if I could get other kids to share in that love."
One of the more important aspects of the new position for Sci was the additional weight her voice now carries.
"I really feel like my opinions are valued here. Even if we don't end up using one of my suggestions I really feel like everyone seriously considers what I have to say," she said. "I feel like I have a real say in what happens here."
Even though Sci has become a near-permanent fixture at the Outback, after she left for school she found the time she could spend at the Outback significantly reduced.
"When I was living at school I couldn't work as much and found I was pretty much here only on the weekends," she said. "Over the summer the director said I could work here full time and that's what I chose to do."
Being named the teen coordinator was a big deal for Sci because she said it felt like she earned the position.
"I really wanted the position and when it was given to me, I felt like I had worked for it and earned it."
As far as her plans for future programming and how the Outback will operate, the most important thing for Sci is to keep the environment feeling safe and welcoming.
"This place always feels so comfortable and I want to be able to continue that. I feel like I'm a consistent face the kids look for and I want to make sure I'm always available for them."
Being consistent is important to Sci who said one area the Outback tends to struggle with is with its reputation.
"A lot has changed over the years and one area that has changed is people thinking this isn't a cool place. We still have the regulars who come in and we see new faces but it struggles and changes over the years."
Even as the number of kids who hang out at the Outback changes, Sci said it is an important fixture in the community that people should take advantage of when they can.
"This is a safe place. It's somewhere you can go if you have nothing to do and you can bring all your friends here," she said. "So many of my friends have said how cool it is that this town has a teen center because their communities never had anything like it."
As fast as the past five years have gone for Sci, she said she couldn't imagine not being involved with the Outback and will continue to be involved as long as she can.
"I'll be involved for as long as possible and I will always want to support the Outback," Sci said. "This place is so important to me and it has been a part of my life for five years."