Point-Counterpoint: Is McHenry boring?

Every teenager thinks their hometown is boring, and it's nothing compared to Chicago, but McHenry has more to offer than most of its neighbors

December 9, 2022

Teenagers in every suburb say their town is boring. For many, surviving their small town — with their lack of adequate shopping or recreation or cute coffee shops — is a kind of rite of passage. Suffice to say, many students at McHenry High School feel the same way about the town they live in.

But is McHenry really boring? Compared to smaller surrounding towns, McHenry has a lot of shopping, including three distinct downtowns districts, and more restaurants than many other towns in the county. It also has two record stores, a drive-in theatre, a concert venue, several coffee shops and many parks. Clearly, McHenry is a very small town compared to cities like Chicago or even larger neighbors like Crystal Lake. But is McHenry boring, or is it just its citizens who don’t make the most of what the village has to offer?


Lilyonna Kribley

One would think that its proximity to Chicago would make McHenry a more interesting town to live in. But, compared to neighboring towns like Crystal Lake or Woodstock, McHenry doesn’t have a lot to offer young people.

Point: Compared to surrounding towns, McHenry is boring

A kid walks down the lonely streets of McHenry. He sees the cars pass by as he kicks the rocks, thinking of something to do. He tries to find out if any events are happening but every time he asks someone, he finds nothing. That’s because McHenry is a boring place to grow up.

It is a city in McHenry Country and is a suburb. It has a population of about 30,000. Not many people know of this place and that is because there is nothing that goes on in this small town.

Since McHenry is near Chicago, it is often clouded by Chicago having all of the huge holiday parades such as the thanksgiving parades or the several museums and zoos such as the Brookfield Zoo or the Museum of Science and Industry. By comparison, McHenry’s claim to fame is its outdoor theatre and country music festival. So when people go to northern Illinois, the chances of them going to McHenry over Chicago is very slim.

One reason why McHenry is boring is because when you look up McHenry you either see Stories on other towns that McHenry is publishing, or topics that aren’t very newsworthy or exciting. For example, “McHenry County Sheriff’s Office announces the addition of Canine Kylo, agency’s newest police dog.” For this to be one of the most exciting things to happen in McHenry is very disappointing considering they have other things to talk about like the downtown area.

When people talk about awesome towns to live in, not many people talk about McHenry. It is not very popular and we are often overshadowed by other Chicago suburbs. Being so close to Chicago, there are a lot more events are happening in surrounding towns and cities, such as sports games or concerts. For example, people go to Woodstock because of its theater and the downtown area or the many restaurants in Crystal Lake.

McHenry is also boring because many activities that many people would want to do are outside of the town and you are constantly having to drive to a different town. Although the drive is not long, it would be nice to have these activities such as sports that are not a part of a school or certain restaurants in our own town.

One reason why McHenry could actually be a great place to live is that it is a very quiet place to live in peace and away from all of the loud and obnoxious events. It also has a downtown area which most of the life in the town pops out from all of the decorations during holidays to the lights and restaurants. That makes it a totally lovely, totally boring place to live.

McHenry doesn’t have to be boring. Everything can be fixed and even if nothing changes to McHenry, it is still a nice and clean place to live anyway, so whether or not more events happen in the town, there is still going to be plenty enough that will keep someone from moving away.

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Lilyonna Kribley

Obviously, McHenry doesn’t have the same resources and opportunities as other Chicago suburbs. But McHenry has a lot to offer young people, who too often choose not to make the most of them.

Counterpoint: Not enough people see how interesting McHenry is

The school day ends and freshmen students hurry out of the Freshman Campus, eager to go home. A group of friends crosses the side walk into town, the sweet smells of food, coffee and fresh air. They decide to do something before they head to someone’s house, walking down the street to see the RiverWalk, all of the restaurants, and the indoor theater. But they ignore all the things to do, deciding McHenry is boring, and head home. With all of the fun things to do in McHenry, people don’t seem to look hard enough.

There’s many different places in McHenry for teenagers to walk or hang around. For instance, downtown McHenry, the Riverwalk, the McHenry Outdoor Theater, Chain O’ Lakes, Moraine Hills State Park, Volo Auto Museum, Stratton Lock and Dam and McHenry Fiesta Days are all fun places to go or hangout, depending on the time of year.

For instance, in Wonder Lake over the summer they’d have ski shows every Friday. People get to gather around and watch people perform routines. They even have food trucks to buy food at. But, most people don’t come due to not wanting to leave their house, or they think it’s boring without even giving it a shot.

There’s also many beaches and parks hangout at with friends. Parents bring their kids to play at these parks, which are perfect to watch the sun set at. There’s a couple little shops people can go into and window shop, or buy things they don’t need but want anyways. There’s also huge neighborhoods so people could just go walk around and explore. Sometimes, the little things can be the most fun. People just have to make the best of it — and be open to experiencing it.

With there being so many things to do, the people in McHenry are boring instead of the town. The kids or the adults never leave their houses. Or they never think to give anything a chance. People do it for five minutes and leave because they think it’s boring, but it could possibly take longer to get to the fun part. Too many people just go on their phones or lay in their beds all day, binge watch their favorite shows for hours on end eating snacks, people watch Netflix for at least 3.2 hours a day, meaning at least 99 hours a month. They do absolutely nothing, not even bothering to explore the different things they can do.

In downtown McHenry, there’s plenty of things to do. There are plenty of little stores like Black Orchid Boutique, Water Street Shoppe, Aesthetics Boutique, and more that people can go in, restaurants they can go to eat, the Riverwalk that is a two point three mile loop, even the Outdoor Theater, where they can camp out in their car and eat snacks while watching movies. Or an indoor one in case people don’t feel like sitting outside.

About a month ago the town also had a mural event where people could go and paint a part of it, they had free coffee and donuts. But not as many people showed up, especially younger people.

Most people think McHenry is boring. In some ways it can be. But the people are supposed to make it fun, which makes people boring since they aren’t trying to. Sure McHenry doesn’t have millions of stores or places you can go, it does have places to get food and walk around, even some little shops. It doesn’t have hundreds like the mall. But it has plenty for the daily things people need such as groceries, where they can go to Meijer or Walmart, or even clothes, where people can go to JC Penney.

A couple of friends decide to leave the house they were at and walk around town. They decide to get coffee and walk along the RiverWalk. Laughing, smiling, they take fun pictures together as they walked, watching the day go by, having a blast, wnjoying each other’s company more than they thought they would. And at the end of the day, they ended up having more fun than they thought they would.

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