Running the East Trail Youth Centre will be a smooth transition for Career Development Services (CDS), because the nonprofit already houses youth services, says CDS’ Sheila Adcock.
“We have the YAN (Youth Action Network) contract,” Adcock explained. “We have the youth coordinator plus programs including employment programs for youth, so we thought it would be a good fit.”
A call for help went out to the community earlier this month when the Columbia YCDC (Youth Community Development Centre) board announced it was dissolving and the centre would close March 1.
“The board had been at it a long time and were looking for a change,” said Adcock. “They had four members who were just over stretched. We have a full board, as well as all the infrastructure in place to be able to move it forward, so we have a plan in place to save it.”
For a number of years, the City of Trail granted $20,000 annually for YCDC to operate the Second Avenue locale.
Other funding streams (grants) were not an option because Columbia YCDC was not a registered nonprofit.
“I think the youth centre’s hands were a little bit tied because they weren’t a charitable organization, so they weren’t able to apply to certain funding pots,” Adcock added. “They were limited whereas now, we can open it up.”
Community groups gathered in the centre Thursday night to officially hear the good news.
Trail YAN coordinator Geoff Harrison says it’s too early to comment on what will be first on the agenda, but no immediate changes are in the works.
“The final pieces of how the transition will be fully realized are still coming together with multiple parties working on that right now,” he explained.
“We will be first looking at ensuring that there are no jarring changes for the youth, and maintain the same hours of operation and open, inclusiveness of the center,” added Harrison.
“Next, the Trail YAN will be seeking input from as many local youth as possible on what programs and activities they want to see at the centre, and what hours of operation best meet their needs.”
In 2016, oversight committees throughout the Basin reviewed services for those aged 12 to 18, then launched more than two dozen unique community youth networks the following year.
Columbia Basin Trust allocated $4.65 million over three years to the Basin Youth Network, including $40,000 annually to the Trail YAN beginning in 2017.
Adcock says the local oversight committee didn’t focus on a youth centre at that time because the East Trail site was already up and running.
“We looked at each community and what they already had and what would be the role as coordinator,” she said. “We already had one open in Trail, so we said let’s build supports for the youth centre, Freedom Quest, and all the other agencies (that use it), so it was based on need.”
Networks, such as the Rossland, Warfield and Trail YANs, as well as the Beaver Valley Youth Club, support activities and diverse opportunities based on local priorities, engage youth to connect more with each other and their community, as well as encourage collaboration among those who work and interact with youth. They are supported by oversight committees and guided by youth priorities.
Coming up in March, Trail YAN is sponsoring two public skating events in the Trail Memorial Centre. A Glow Skate is slated for March 3 from 7:00-8:15 p.m., and a Family Skate on March 14 from 5:45-7 p.m.
Harrison reminds locals about the Trust’s Youth Leadership Summit application deadline coming up on Feb. 27. The event for Basin youth aged 14 to 18, will take in Kimberley and is free for successful applicants.